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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 48,152 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 after 11:30 tonight no one will ever forget him. 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?


Lou Brown:  As the band leader of the Jerry Langford Show. See more »


When Rupert shows Jerry a picture of his pride and joy he holds it with his index finger over the top, but in the next shot it is his thumb over the top. This is repeated when Rupert then tells Jerry to take the card. 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 »


References The Cocoanuts (1929) See more »


Jerry Langford Theme
Written by Bob James
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Darkly, Starkly Funny
22 March 2004 | by (Georgia USA) – See all my reviews

Saw it first time late at night and never thought about sleeping again for a couple of days.

DeNiro nails perfectly the unflappable and determined comic wannabe. We watch him throughout the whole film, wondering, Is he really just that sure of himself, or is he dangerously deranged? That question will take you through right to the end. Between Rupert, whose basement (in his mother's house) is decorated like a comedy club, and his oddball chum (S.Bernhard), there's considerable pathos. Jerry Lewis gives a lot of insight into the real person behind his easygoing public persona.

Part of what makes this movie so compelling is Scorsese's decision to keep the musical score to a minimum. Music could force the viewer to a conclusion that isn't entirely accurate. Listening to Rupert's endless exchanges Jerry, and everyone who stands in his way -- as is, without musical coloring -- enhances the "squirm factor."

Anyone who has been in the uncomfortable position of coming to regret being nice to someone will relate to this movie. It's a must-see, and despite being more than 20 years old now, it is not a bit dated.


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