The World's Greatest Lover (1977)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  13 February 1978 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,426 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 10 critic

A neurotic baker travels to Hollywood to attend a talent search for an actor to rival the great Valentino. Although not an actor, through blind luck he succeeds - to a certain degree!



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rudy Hickman
Annie Hickman
Adolph Zitz
Fritz Feld ...
Tomaso Abalone
Mark Silberman ...
Cousin Buddy
Robert Ball ...
Bald Man (as Robert E. Ball)
Randolph Dobbs ...
Yes Man #1
Sandy Rovetta ...
Woman Dancer
Hannah Dean ...
Rita Conde ...
Whore #1
Whore #2
Teda Bracci ...
Whore #3
Elaine Everett ...
Whore #4
Gustaf Unger ...
Harry Gold ...
Freddie the Runner


In the early 1920s Hollywood, Adolph Zitz, who surrounds himself with yes men, wants his movie studio, Rainbow, to be the greatest in town by making a movie called the "World's Greatest Lover" and finding that next star to outshine Rudolph Valentino as the renowned screen lover of his time. Mild mannered and somewhat hapless Rudy Hickman dreams of being such a movie star, he daydreaming about it so much that he is unable to hold onto his bakery jobs. With his supportive but highly hysterical wife Annie Hickman by his side, Rudy, using the stage name Rudy Valentine, pulls up stakes from Milwaukee and heads to Hollywood to try out for that part. He ends up getting a screen test like the thousands of other hopefuls flooding Hollywood for the chance. Annie, who loves the movies herself but who is naive from not having had much exposure to the world, has ulterior motives for going to Hollywood. Both Annie's Hollywood mission and Valentino himself will affect what happens to Rudy in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Go ahead - laugh!




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Release Date:

13 February 1978 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

O Maior Amante do Mundo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gene Wilder started writing the script whilst filming Silver Streak (1976) which he was not a writer on. Wilder wrote his customary four drafts and then had created the story of Rudy Hickman who becomes Rudy Valentine. See more »


The "audition" record that Rudy listens to is obviously an LP running at 33 1/3 rpm. LPs would not be invented until the late 1940s. See more »


Adolph Zitz: Now listen to me very carefully: The women in this country are so sex-starved, they'll accept the first pretty face that comes along and make him a star. Well, what the hell will they do when they hear that Rainbow Studios is going to find the greatest lover in America? I'm talking about someone who will make Rudolph Valentino look like a part-time nurse!
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a credit to Frederico Fellini, who was not on the picture, 'for encouragement at the right time'. See more »


Referenced in Something to Scream About (2003) See more »


Written by F.D. Marchetti
Instrumental version played on the violin in Valentino's tent and at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful Love Story, Gene Wilder Stylized Perfection
5 March 2006 | by (.: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.) – See all my reviews

This production was built around the search for the next Rudolph Valentino. While this work has become dated, it was filmed as a pseudo-retrospective at the time, so it was already "dated" the day it was filmed.

This is a total Gene Wilder vehicle. He wrote the screenplay, directed the movie, and was the movie's sole credited producer. He is also THE star of the movie. He does share the limelight with Carol Kane (a pure delight, as usual), but this was one of Wilder's brightest moments. By this time, the world realized they had a comedic genius on their hands and after this work Wilder pretty much had the Midas Touch for a while.

Kane plays Annie Hickman, the world's greatest Valentino fan. Wilder portrays a Milwaukean baker who is at the end of his rope. His idiosyncrasies are so severe, he finds it impossible to maintain employment. Upon learning of a contest held by Rainbow Studios (NOT the #1 studio) to find the next Rudolph Valentino, Rudy Hickman just "knows" this is his ticket to a better life. His wife leaves him to go find Mr. Valentino. But once Hickman is in the middle of it all, he realizes his wife is what is most important to him and he sets the works in motion to woo her away from Rudolph Valentino. The formula makes for some of the best heart-warming entertainment that's hit the big screen. It's endearing and funny in its bittersweet malaise.

It also goes a long way towards showing what CAN be done with no effects and no locations beyond the Studio Backlot and a few, cheap but decent sets.

While it is frayed about the edges, this classic favorite is one ripe for a DVD restoration...perhaps even a 2-disk director's cut for those of us fans who have BEEN fans since the beginning.

It rates an 8.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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