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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)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Wives! Ever wondered how he'd get along without you? Husbands! Ever long for those good old bachelor days? 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
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

While the names of the sisters - Cecily and Gwendolyn - are the same as the female leads in Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest," Neil Simon claimed in interviews that it was unconscious and the coincidence didn't occur to him until years later. See more »

Goofs

Audio/Visual mismatch between the shots where Felix says "How's she gonna meet somebody now at her age with two kids, and where?" 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

© Copyright MCMXLVII by Paramount Pictures Corporation

That would read in Arabic numerals 1947. See more »

Connections

Remade as Ein seltsames Paar (2004) 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

The one that started it all...
3 December 2003 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

Buddy comedies always come down to two things: actors and their scripts. "The Odd Couple" works because it has two endearing characters and an often hilarious and always down-to-earth script, making it one of the best odd couple films of all time -- inspiring but not surpassing movies that share its genre, such as John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987) and Martin Brest's "Midnight Run" (1988). And, in some ways, even Barry Levinson's "Rain Man" (1988), a more dramatic buddy comedy that nevertheless takes a lot of pointers from this one.

Plots always help buddy comedies, of course, but it really depends on whether the two actors -- when confined to a solitary confinement -- can interact and make the audience laugh. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, two legendary screen comedians, can do just that. Their comedic chemistry in this film has often been mimicked by other rip-offs, such as "Grumpy Old Men." But this remains their ultimate combined-effort comedy.

This is the type of movie that is often referenced as the pinnacle buddy movie. Sure, it may not be the best, but it did inspire the entire odd couple genre, and I would definitely place it in the top five buddy comedies list if I ever made such a thing.

Felix (Jack Lemmon) has just been left by his wife, and so he goes to live with long-time poker pal Oscar (Walter Matthau), a grumpy and filthy slob who is the exact opposite of Felix, an uptight orderly man with a fetish for cleaning. In fact, he does just that in Oscar's apartment, which drives Oscar to the point of ultimate frustration. If these guys can't get along much longer, they'll just have to move along and forget their friendship. But things don't always turn out the way they appear.

Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" is full of inspired lunacy. It has some truly hilarious moments with great gags and interaction between its two lead stars, whose screen chemistry is undeniable -- there's a reason Hollywood paired Lemmon and Matthau together an uncountable number of times.

The film is lacking the humanity and sorrow of its characters that shines through in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"; there are few -- if any -- moments where the characters become so frustrated with each other that they blow up and then realize that they're not exactly how they thought. Remember the scene in the motel when Neal Page (Steve Martin) lashed out against Del Griffith (John Candy)? But after the comedy tirade ended, and as we laughed, the film took an unexpected turn when it revealed the Del character's utter hurt inside. Then we stopped laughing and we started crying.

That's lacking in "The Odd Couple," making it inferior to Hughes' comedy masterpiece, but it's a clever little film that inspired it all. Perhaps the best gag in the entire movie is one that was quite controversial at the time: Oscar finds a note next to his bed from Felix that says they're out of cereal, and the last two letters of the note are, "F U." Of course, the two letters "F U" are Felix Ungar's initials, but as Oscar implies, just imagine what he thought it meant when he first read the note.

I love comedies where you lock down a small number of people -- preferably a pair of opposites -- in a room and let their characters take over. I like when the dialogue is rich and funny and so very real. I guess I just like subtle character comedies -- overblown special effects comedies aren't always favorites of mine. "Dumb and Dumber" is one of my favorite buddy comedies, and it's not because it's crude or silly but because I like the pairing of its two stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and I like the situations they get into.

"The Odd Couple" (based on the stage play by Simon) is the odd comedy that puts a smile on your face and delights the viewer. It's a fun movie, a great comedy, one of the finest and arguably the most acknowledged buddy film of all time. I saw it years ago and I've been laughing ever since. And despite its inferiority to some of the other buddy films that followed in its path, "The Odd Couple" is a delightful character comedy that will inspire similar comedies for years to come. Lord knows it already has.

5/5.


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