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The King of Comedy (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  18 December 1982 (Iceland)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 48,178 users  
Reviews: 218 user | 82 critic

Aspiring comic Rupert Pupkin wants to achieve success in show biz by stalking his idol, a late night talk-show host who craves his own privacy.


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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Herlihy ...
Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown ...
Band Leader
Loretta Tupper ...
Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski ...
Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales ...
Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan ...
Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless ...
Marta Heflin ...
Young Girl
Katherine Wallach ...
Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina ...
Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz ...


Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. However, when he confronts his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford, with a plea to perform on the Jerry's show, he is only given the run-around. He does not give up, however, but persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants. Eventually he must team up with his psychotic Langford-obsessed friend Masha to kidnap the talk show host in hopes of finally getting to perform his stand-up routine. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but by 11:30 tonight, the whole world will know he's . . . THE KING OF COMEDY See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)


$2,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Orson Welles were considered before Jerry Lewis. Carson was the only one that was actually offered the role before Lewis but he turned it down. See more »


When Rupert is waiting by the payphone, the other phones are hanging down. But in the next shot one of them is in its right place again. See more »


[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!
See more »


Featured in Marty on Film (2011) See more »


The Finer Things
Performed by David Sanborn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A homage to the greatest actor of all: De Niro
28 October 2004 | by (Winnipeg) – See all my reviews

This is a film that would not be half as effective as it is, if it were not for the unbelievable performance by Robert De Niro. He is, without question the best actor to have graced our screens, and though I love the so many other varied genius performances he has become more famous for, I think this to be his finest work.

The character he plays draws inevitable comparisons with Travis in 'Taxi Driver', as in both roles he plays individuals so detached from reality, they feel the need to commit criminal acts in order to expel the frustrations they have at their lowly position in society, and how little they can do about it. Travis's frustrations are centered more on the decaying state of society and the streets he drives around, whereas Rupert is simply trying to achieve his life-long ambition of fame and fortune that celebrities on television enjoy. But Rupert is such a clever creation by de Niro. He is detached in a very different way to Travis. Whilst Travis is only too aware of what is going on in society, Rupert has his own little view of how the world works. He fantasises being a celebrated comic to such a degree he convinces himself of events that haven't actually happened (most notably when he starts believing his own lie, that he's been invited to Jerry Lewis' summerhouse, is actually true!) It is a magnificently subtle take on the insane and is the De Niro performance I enjoyed the most.

I felt compelled to offer my opinion on De Niro's 10 best roles, so here they are: 10-The Untouchables, 9-Heat, 8-The Godfather Part 2, 7-Midnight Run, 6-Awakenings, 5-Taxi Driver, 4-The Deer Hunter, 3-Raging Bull, 2-Mean Streets, 1-The King Of Comedy

27 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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ENDING- Real or Fantasy? fibrecementVHS
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The greatest of ironies... rpizzeghello
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