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Decline and Fall... of a Birdwatcher (1968)

M | | Comedy | 26 January 1969 (USA)
A naive young man, sent down from university, blunders through a series of bizarre adventures in which his participation is always innocent, although others don't think so.


John Krish


Ivan Foxwell (adaptation), Alan Hackney (additional scenes) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Phillips ... Paul Pennyfeather
Felix Aylmer ... Judge
Colin Blakely ... Solomon Philbrick
Robert Harris ... Prendergast
Griffith Jones ... Sir Humphrey Maltravers
Patrick Magee ... Maniac
Leo McKern ... Captain Grimes
Geneviève Page ... Margot Beste-Chetwynde (as Genevieve Page)
Paul Rogers ... Chief Warder
Donald Sinden ... The Prison Governor
Donald Wolfit ... Dr. Augustus Fagan
Rodney Bewes ... Arthur Potts
Patience Collier ... Flossie Fagan
Roland Curram ... Otto Silenus
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ... Mr. Church


A naive young man, sent down from university, blunders through a series of bizarre adventures in which his participation is always innocent, although others don't think so.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"See that diamond-crusted, double-breasted bird over there?...that's mother. She wants to meet you."




M | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 January 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Decline and Fall See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


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Did You Know?


Last film of Sir Donald Wolfit. See more »


Dr. Augustus Fagan: [on discovering that Paul has been sent down from university for "indecent behaviour"] I have been in the scholastic profession long enough to know that no-one enters it unless he has some very good reason which he is anxious to conceal.
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Referenced in Zodiac (2007) See more »


Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past
Music by William Croft
Arranged by Alan Boustead
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User Reviews

"Decline and (definitely a) Fall..."
18 March 2006 | by gregcoutureSee all my reviews

I'd missed this when it was given a U.S. theatrical release and, considering its cast, thought I'd give it a whirl when it was shown today on the FOX Movie Channel. But, as it unreeled, the recollection of its lukewarm-to-poor reviews came vividly to mind. It's a thorough disappointment in lots of ways, beginning with a script that has barely a hint of what was, no doubt, a good example of novelist Evelyn Waugh's acerbic social satire. The production design, typical of most films then, British and American, is colorfully garish. And the waste of the acting talent of a phalanx of the best British character actors is awesomely prodigious, attributable, I'm sure, to the slack direction of one John Krish, whose meager filmography is testament to his utter mediocrity. I should have been forewarned by the psychedelic colors swirling under the main credits (Well, the year of production WAS 1968, after all.) and the soupy music of Ron Goodwin, whose syrupy strains inappropriately underline most of the film's unfolding. Worst of all was the misuse of the elegant Genevieve Page, an actress perfectly capable of playing a lady of privilege and breeding, who seems, in this one, to be an inexperienced amateur attempting a role for which she is almost entirely unsuited. What a pity!

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