6.8/10
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The Birthday Party (1968)

The down-at-heel lodger in a seaside boarding house is menaced by two mysterious strangers, who eventually take him away.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Shamus McCann
Dandy Nichols ...
Meg Bowles
Sydney Tafler ...
...
Pete Bowles
Helen Fraser ...
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Storyline

Based on Harold Pinter's enigmatic play about a border in a British seaside dwelling who is visited by two strangers. They torment him verbally, ask him idiotic unanswerable questions, force him to sit down and stand up, and give him a "party." Then, eventually, they take him away, a tongue-tied idiot. The trivial becomes the terrible, and with it a certain wonder, a certain pity. Written by alfiehitchie

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Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was a passion project of director William Friedkin who called it "the first film I really wanted to make, understood and felt passionate about". He had first seen the play in San Francisco in 1962, and managed to get the film version funded by Edgar J. Scherick at Palomar Pictures, in part because it could be made relatively cheaply. Pinter wrote the screenplay himself and was heavily involved in casting. "To this day I don't think our cast could have been improved," wrote Friedkin later. See more »

Quotes

Nat Goldberg: But a birthday, I always feel, is a great occasion, taken too much for granted these days. What a thing to celebrate, birth! Like getting up in the morning. Marvelous! Some people don't like the idea of getting up in the morning. I've heard them. Getting up in the morning, they say, what is it? Your skin's crabby, you need a shave, your eyes are full of muck, your mouth is like a boghouse, the palms of your hands are full of sweat, your nose is clogged up, your feet stink, what are you but a ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Making the Boys (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ignore the story; adore the actors!
26 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

As one of this world's more zealous Robert Shaw fans, I feel obliged to put this gem in every once in a while and follow Shaw's every move. I must say, this film amazes me; it confounds me every time. There's only one emotion that overwhelms my passion for Mr. Shaw's gift in front of the camera--irritation--and it's aimed right straight at the storyline. You will find yourself wondering what's going on and why, as the actors' performances blind you with their shabby, touching directness. Don't let the story creep and seep too far into your brain. The story will cloud your ability to appreciate what this film is full of--brilliant, golden performances. They all shine, especially Shaw as poor Stanley. I enjoy watching films that take me to England in the 60s. The surroundings are dreary and depressing and totally marvelous. This film is well worth seeing; but, once again, I warn you--ignore the story; adore the actors! Oh, and an extra bonus (for what it is worth)-- After watching this film, you'll never look at a newspaper the same way again, I guarantee you. Enjoy!


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