7.8/10
6,958
78 user 36 critic

O Lucky Man! (1973)

An apprentice coffee salesman has a series of improbable and ironic adventures that seem designed to challenge his naive idealism.

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Sherwin (screenplay), Malcolm McDowell (based on an original idea by)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... Mick Travis / Plantation Thief
Ralph Richardson ... Sir James Burgess / Monty
Rachel Roberts ... Gloria Rowe / Madame Paillard / Mrs. Richards
Arthur Lowe ... Mr. Duff / Charlie Johnson / Dr. Munda
Helen Mirren ... Patricia Burgess / Casting Assistant
Graham Crowden ... Stewart / Prof. Millar / Meths Drinker
Peter Jeffrey ... Factory Chairman / Prison Governor
Dandy Nichols ... Tea Lady / Neighbour
Mona Washbourne ... Neighbour / Usher / Sister Hallett
Philip Stone ... Jenkins / Interrogator / Salvation Army Major
Mary MacLeod Mary MacLeod ... Mary Ball / Salvationist / Vicar's Wife (as Mary Macleod)
Michael Bangerter Michael Bangerter ... William / Interrogator / Assistant / Released Prisoner
Wallas Eaton Wallas Eaton ... John Stone (Coffee Factory) / Col. Steiger / Prison Warder / Meths Drinker / Film Executive
Warren Clarke ... Master of Ceremonies (Nightspot) / Warner / Male Nurse
Bill Owen ... Supt. Barlow / Insp. Carding
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Storyline

Follows the literal and associated life journey of middle class Brit, Mick Travis, representing the "everyman", as he tries to make his mark in his so far young life. He is able to make great strides in his traditional view of success by being what those in authority want him to be. As such, he achieves in a few weeks what it usually take years for others, namely having his own sales territory, the northeast and ultimately Scotland, for Imperial Coffee. He is also able to garner a plethora of fringe benefits from this job, including women throwing themselves at his feet. But he will ultimately face a struggle in class and authority warfare, which culminates with his encounter with the Burgess family, wealthy industrialist Sir James Burgess and his daughter Patricia, who Mick wants to marry, the former who is contemplating investing in the shady dealings in Zingara. Mick will also find that the class struggle not only applies in his case in an upward direction, but also in a downward ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Smile while you're makin' it. Laugh while you're takin' it. Even though you're fakin' it. Nobody's gonna know...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 June 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un hombre de suerte See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Memorial Enterprises, Sam See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (opening sequence)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name "Alexander de Large" (Malcolm McDowell's character in A Clockwork Orange (1971)) can be seen on Mick's order book when he is working as a salesman. See more »

Goofs

Blood on Travis' face appears and disappears after the interrogation scene. See more »

Quotes

Sir James Burgess: [to secretary] Miss Hunter, two Valium and a barley wine for Professor Stewart.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original US release was cut by twenty or more minutes, the entire sequence involving the suicidal woman, roughly from Mick's release from prison until he meets the charity tea-wagon lady was omitted. (This included one of Alan Price's songs) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seinfeld: The Bris (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Sell Sell
Written by Alan Price
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Classic cinema that makes you stop, listen and learn.
9 May 2005 | by Pedro_HSee all my reviews

A coffee salesman takes a rambling tour of 1970's Britain.

There comes a time when you think you know something about movies: What is good, what is bad, how things should go, how things should work, etc., etc. Thank goodness a movie comes along now and again that says "no you don't - you know nothing!" Oh Lucky Man! is like Pulp Fiction and High Hopes - it is a smarter film than you are a film watcher.

After a build up like that you might expect for me to say that this is a perfect film or that everything works. But it doesn't. The story rambles and pauses, moves left and right and tries to keep the audience on its toes. The humour is mostly black, but very true to life. People are often selfish and acting for themselves - while Travis (our hero - if we can call him that) is quite kind and thoughtful. Like an Adam that has been put in to the modern world rather than the garden of Eden.

I have seen this film twice. Like many films, once when I was too young to understand it. It is quite sexual graphic at times and that stuck in my memory for a long time. In one scene a black man plays out a scene at a sex club - and to this day I am puzzled as to what this represents. That the entirely white audience see the black as an entertainer to laughed at or cheered. That this is his only place?

Most anything-goes films are comedies, and while this has plenty of black comedy, I see it as social comment. Life has moved on from the 1970's, people have escaped their own class more, women have more of a role to play, people get away with things less. But no one can say - even viewing today - that it doesn't tell plenty of home truths about the UK.

(People that live outside the UK and never visit must be puzzled by what goes on here. I bet you would have to answer hundreds of questions if you watched it beside, say, an American.)

Lindsey Anderson sees all authority as being violent, ugly and corrupt. This is the kick in the balls society that existed before CCTV in police stations and human rights acts. Where people were fitted up for crimes that the police knew they couldn't have committed. I never wanted to walk down a time tunnel to 1970's Britain and this film is probably the last tie I have to that ugly and desperate decade.

Oh Lucky Man! is one of the best films ever made. It has something that few films ever have - instant cult appeal. You could watch this over and over again and not get bored with it, see something different and learn something new. They should bring it back as a musical or a stage play. While not every scene works and not every tune pleases, it is cinema from another world that we never quite had - but might have had if only the money men of Hollywood hadn't made their ugly mark on the world.

If you think film is about anything more than simple entertainment Oh Lucky Man! is a must-see...


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