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The Sunshine Boys (1975)

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
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?


Actor George Burns turned up at rehearsals having rote-learned the entire film script by heart. Burns had figured that this would make it harder for the producers to fire him if they had wanted to. 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 »


Al Lewis: You know what you are? You're a 73-year-old putz.
Willy Clark: At least the putz didn't drive all the way here from New Jersey!
See more »


Referenced in Welcome Back, Kotter: One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1976) 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

One of my favorite Stage to film transfers.
30 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Sunshine Boys is one of my favorite feel good movies. I first saw it when it as the Christmas attraction at Radio City Music Hall when it first came out and loved it ever since. I ended up seeing it 6 times in the theaters, and if it was playing today I'd go out to see it again.

Now a lot of the reviews here mentioned the wonderful performances of the leads. Matthau was brilliant, but had the misfortune of being nominated against Jack Nicholson's Oscar winning performance of Randall P. MacMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest. Burns did win, though Richard Benjiman deserved at least to be nominated as well. Even the smallest roles were played to perfection, like Fritz Feld auditioning for the potato chips commercial.

Which brings me to my reason for reviewing this film, the direction of the greatly underrated Herbert Ross. Ross who previously brought a two person play, "The Owl And The Pussycat" to the screen and made a full movie out of it, does it again. He opens the plays out without making them look like a photographic stage play. He fleashens out the story and the characters.

Here we're 20 minutes into the film before we get to the scene that opens the play, where Ben Clark comes to see his uncle and tell him about the comedy special. Though there are dialogue from the play during the first twenty minutes, the sequence itself is totally new. A few years ago I did see at the broadway revival of the play with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, which was wonderful. But I think that Ross and screenwriter, playwright Simon improved on it. It's just a wonderful film.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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