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Withnail & I (1987)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  19 June 1987 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 25,628 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 81 critic

London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
& I / Marwood
...
...
...
Jake
Daragh O'Malley ...
Irishman
Michael Wardle ...
Isaac Parkin
Una Brandon-Jones ...
Mrs. Parkin
Noel Johnson ...
General
Irene Sutcliffe ...
Waitress
Llewellyn Rees ...
Tea Shop Proprietor
Robert Oates ...
Policeman One
Anthony Wise ...
Policeman Two
Eddie Tagoe ...
Presuming Ed
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Storyline

London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cottage | actor | rain | friendship | food | See more »

Taglines:

If you can't remember the 60's, ...don't worry. Neither can they. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 June 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi ketten  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,544,889 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant went on to play the Doctor in Doctor Who. McGann was the 8th Doctor and Grant was the 9th (in the 2003 animated webcast Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka (2003)), though his status was changed to "unofficial" when the new series of Doctor Who started in 2005. He also played an incarnation of the Doctor in the Comic Relief skit Comic Relief: Doctor Who - The Curse of Fatal Death (1999). Coincidentally, Richard Griffiths was once strongly considered to succeed 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy, but this was never realized after the series was canceled in 1989 and McCoy's Doctor later regenerated into Paul McGann's in the 1996 TV movie. Griffiths had also previously been considered to succeed 4th Doctor Tom Baker in 1981. See more »

Goofs

When Withnail and Marwood are driving along the motorway on the way to the cottage, at least one motorway construction vehicle can be seen driving in the same direction, but on the other carriageway. This gives away the fact that the motorway scenes were filmed on a completed but as yet unopened section of the M25 motorway. See more »

Quotes

Marwood: [voiceover] Speed is like a dozen transatlantic flights without ever getting off the plane. Time change. You lose, you gain. Makes no difference so long as you keep taking the pills. But sooner or later you've got to get out because it's crashing, and then all at once those frozen hours melt out through the nervous system and seep out the pores.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Paul McGann is credited only as "and I". See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Soundtrack Album Available From Filmtrax plc.
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User Reviews

 
British film-making at its best.
19 November 2001 | by (Amsterdam) – See all my reviews

Camden, 1969. Two unemployed actors, Withnail (Richard E Grant), and I (Paul McGann), are facing up to the reality of an empty wine cellar and a harsh comedown following a speed binge. Squalid living conditions and the prospect of life on the poverty line leads 'I' (otherwise known as Marwood), to suggest a rejuvenating break in the Lake District. After Withnail manages to persuade his bizarre uncle, Monty (Richard Griffiths) to part with the keys of his dilapidated cottage, the take the Jag north for a taste of country life.

Adapting to such an alien environment is an initial challenge to the highly strung Withnail; his predicament is significantly worsened following an altercation with poacher Jake (Michael Elphick). Meanwhile, Marwood is forced to concentrate his attentions to fending off the advances of the lecherous Monty, who has inconveniently come to stay.

Following an awkward evening, the pair hurriedly return to London and, after a run-in with the Metropolitan Police, return to find Danny (Ralph Brown) has made himself at home. Drugged rodents fill the oven while Presuming Ed fills the bath and Marwood is rescued from the mire

  • it seems he will crack the boards after all. "Congratulations",


Withnail says emptily, as he begins to contemplate life without his straight man.

Bruce Robinson deserves high praise for creating a rich, debauched world of weird thumbs, phenodihydrochloride benelex, old suits, uncontaminated urine and the Camberwell carrot. WIth a the tightest of budgets, he brings the late 1960's to life. The script is incredibly witty and eminently quotable. Both Mary Selway (casting director) and Bruce Robinson succeeded in bringing dialogue to life with an impeccable choice of actors. Richard E Grant has never come close to his performance as Withnail - his drunken performances are remarkable. Richard Griffiths is as camp as a hat as the overbearing, exuberant Monty, and Ralph Brown is frequently hilarious as the dangerous but lovable Danny.

This is a film that will never be tarnished by age, and neither is it limited by repeat viewings. It is a very accessible film, despite its largely English humour, and 'Withnail' remains one of the best films about friendship. Certainly a one off, 'Withnail' is a must see film that will not disappoint.


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