7.7/10
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127 user 68 critic

The Odd Couple (1968)

G | | Comedy | 16 May 1968 (USA)
Two friends try sharing an apartment, but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day.

Director:

Gene Saks

Writers:

Neil Simon (from the play by), Neil Simon (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Lemmon ... Felix Ungar
Walter Matthau ... Oscar Madison
John Fiedler ... Vinnie
Herb Edelman ... Murray (as Herbert Edelman)
David Sheiner ... Roy
Larry Haines Larry Haines ... Speed
Monica Evans ... Cecily
Carole Shelley ... Gwendolyn
Iris Adrian ... Waitress
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Storyline

Felix's (Jack Lemmon) wife has left him and he is contemplating suicide. His friends sense his depression and one of them, Oscar (Walter Matthau), volunteers to take him in until he is fine again. The two of them are like chalk and cheese - Oscar is fun-loving, gregarious and slovenly, Felix is a shy, stay-at-home, obsessive-compulsive neat-freak. Being around Oscar brightens Felix up, but he quickly starts to irritate Oscar. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are The Odd Couple...say no more. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 May 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Extraña pareja See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$44,527,234

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,527,234
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When this film premiered in a Boston theater, it was for raising money for a senior center and "rocking chair" seats were advertised. See more »

Goofs

Felix plays a pinball machine in one scene. Pinball was illegal in New York City from 1942 until 1976, but pinball machines did exist. The illegal pinball machine is likely intended to demonstrate the seediness of the pool hall. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Felix Ungar: A room, please.
Hotel clerk: You alone?
[Felix nods]
Hotel clerk: Luggage?
[Felix shakes his head]
Hotel clerk: How long do you want it for?
Felix Ungar: Oh, not very long.
Hotel clerk: Five dollars.
[Felix isn't paying attention]
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the credits for Cecily and Gwendolyn Pigeon are displayed, they are first in the wrong order (since Oscar also keeps mixing them up) and after a couple of seconds they shift to their correct positions. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: Ben? Her?: Part 1 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Words by James Thomson
Briefly sung a cappella by Walter Matthau
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"I'm a neurotic nut, but you're crazy"
26 September 2008 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

I don't think I've really ever given Walter Matthau his due as a comedic performer. He's certainly been wonderful in plenty of lighthearted roles, but I guess I always put his success down to his characters' grumpiness and ruthlessness, a gruff contrast to the flamboyant personality of his frequent co-star Jack Lemmon, and, I suppose, a natural extension of his earlier work in dramatic pictures. Watching Gene Saks' 'The Odd Couple (1968),' adapted from a popular Neil Simon play, the realisation suddenly clicked: Matthau is, in his own right, absolutely hilarious! Initially striking the audience as filthy, crude and generally unappealing, his Oscar Madison eventually manages to worm his way into our hearts, culminating in a hilariously overplayed confession of emotions that Matthau rasps out in a voice not entirely his own. At the same time, while holding his own as a comedian, his interplay with Lemmon is, of course, pitch-perfect; indeed, the film rightly belongs to both actors, who have never failed to light up the cinema screen by themselves, let alone together.

Calling to mind Billy Wilder's screenplay for 'The Apartment (1960),' this Neil Simon comedy builds itself around around a rather morbid premise. Compulsive house-cleaner Felix Unger (Lemmon), having just been evicted by his wife of twelve years, attempts to commit suicide, but fruitlessly abandons the idea after he wrecks his back trying to open the hotel window. Dejected, he arrives at the house of good friend Oscar (Matthau), a divorced slob who lives alone on a diet of potato crisps and green sandwiches (that might contain either very new cheese or very old meat!). Oscar kindly offers Felix a place to stay, but is soon overwhelmed by his friend's finicky personality and constant insistence on absolute cleanliness. The pair form an unusual sort of marital arrangement, with Felix assuming the role of the effeminate and constantly-nagging wife, and Oscar as the sloppy, unappreciative husband who always comes home later than he's supposed to. This is a marriage that barely lasts three weeks, and, by the end of it, we can completely sympathise with Felix's ex-wife, who remains unseen.

'The Odd Couple' is a terrific comedy, most of all because it has a lot of heart. For all their arguing, it's obvious that the two roommates have plenty of affection for each other, most movingly seen when Felix tries to launch into a furious tirade, instead – perhaps inadvertently – ending up informing Oscar how "tops" he his. The pair's four poker buddies (John Fiedler, Herb Edelman, David Sheiner and Larry Haines) are also constantly badgering each other about some obscure annoyance, but you can't deny that they've got the best of intentions. Their decision to treat Felix as though nothing has happened to him may have sounded fine in theory, but maybe being ignored wasn't quite the correct solution to Felix's gloomy feelings of inadequacy and inconsequentiality. Unlike some comedies based on popular stage plays {I was recently disappointed by Wilder's 'The Seven Year Itch (1955)}, this film doesn't simply strike at the same chord throughout, and the relationship between the two leads is progressively developed, through tears, laughter and much disagreement.


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