The Sunshine Boys (I) (1975)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  30 January 1976 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,015 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 13 critic

A vaudeville duo agree to reunite for a TV special, but it turns out that they can't stand each other.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Clark
Nurse in Sketch (Miss McIntosh)
Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Odessa, Willy's nurse (as Rosetta Le Noire)
Mr. Walsh, Commerical Director
James Cranna ...
Mr. Schaeffer, TV Director
T.V. Floor Manager
Helen Clark
Fritz Feld ...
Mr. Gilbert, Man at Audition
Jack Bernardi ...
Man at Audition
Garn Stephens ...
Eddie, the Stage Manager
Santos Morales ...
Desk Clerk


Lewis and Clark were famous comedians during the vaudeville era; off-stage, though, they couldn't stand each other and haven't spoken in over 20 years. Ben, Willy Clark's nephew, is the producer of a variety show that wants to feature a reunion of the classic duo. How will Ben convince the crotchety old comedians to put aside their differences before the big show? Written by Mike Konczewski

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For the price of a movie, you'll feel like a million!




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 January 1976 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and released about three years after its source play of the same name by Neil Simon was first performed in 1972. The original Broadway production of "The Sunshine Boys" opened at the Broadhurst Theater in New York on 20th December 20 1972 and ran for 538 performances until 21st April 1974. During its run, the play transferred to two other theaters, the Shubert Theatre on 30th October 1973 and then the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 11th February 1974. The play was nominated for three Tony Awards in 1973 including Best Play, Best Actor in a Play (Jack Albertson) and Best Direction (Alan Arkin), but failed to win any. The play's setting is described in its introduction as: "An apartment in an old hotel on upper Broadway in New York City, a television studio and Willie's apartment." The play was Simon's ninth long-running hit. See more »


Walter Matthau takes a teabag from his cup and places it into the cup of George Burns. A moment later George Burns reaches for the teabag to remove it but the string has changed direction and is hanging down from the other side of the cup. See more »


Willy Clark: [talking about his ex-partner, Al Lewis] As an act, nobody could touch him. As a human being, nobody WANTED to touch him!
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Walter Matthau (2001) See more »


Make 'Em Laugh
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Arranged by Conrad Salinger
See more »

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User Reviews

With All the Sunshine Willie and Al Spread..................................
28 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Taking over roles that Jack Albertson and Sam Levene played on Broadway, Walter Matthau and George Burns play a couple of old time vaudeville comics, a team in the tradition of Joe Smith and Charles Dale who seem to have a differing outlook on life.

Walter Matthau can't stop working, the man has never learned to relax, take some time and smell the roses. He's a crotchety old cuss whose best days are behind him and his nephew and agent Richard Benjamin is finding less and less work for him.

What hurt him badly was that some 15 years earlier his partner George Burns decided to retire and spend some time with his family. A workaholic like Matthau can't comprehend it and take Burns's decision personally.

Benjamin hits on a brain storm, reunite the guys and do it on a national television special. What happens here is pretty hilarious.

The Sunshine Boys is also a sad, bittersweet story as well about old age. Matthau is on screen for most of the film, but it's Burns who got the kudos in the form of an Oscar at the ripe old age of 79.

Burns brought a bit of the personal into this film as well. As we all know he was the straight man of the wonderful comedy team of Burns&Allen who the Monty Python troop borrowed a lot from. In 1958 due to health reasons, Gracie Allen retired and George kept going right up to the age of 100. Or at least pretty close to as an active performer.

The Sunshine Boys is based on the team of Smith&Dale however and if you like The Sunshine Boys I strongly recommend you see Two Tickets to Broadway for a look at a pair of guys who were entertaining the American public at the turn of the last century. The doctor sketch that Matthau and Burns do is directly from their material.

And I do think you will like The Sunshine Boys.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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