7.2/10
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50 user 17 critic

The Sunshine Boys (1975)

PG | | Comedy | 8 January 1976 (UK)
A vaudeville duo agree to reunite for a television special, but it turns out that they can't stand each other.

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Neil Simon (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Willy Clark
George Burns ... Al Lewis
Richard Benjamin ... Ben Clark
Lee Meredith ... Nurse in Sketch (Miss McIntosh)
Carol Arthur ... Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Rosetta LeNoire ... Odessa, Willy's nurse (as Rosetta Le Noire)
F. Murray Abraham ... Mechanic
Howard Hesseman ... Mr. Walsh, Commerical Director
James Cranna James Cranna ... Mr. Schaeffer, TV Director
Ron Rifkin ... T.V. Floor Manager
Jennifer Lee Pryor ... Helen Clark (as Jennifer Lee)
Fritz Feld ... Mr. Gilbert, Man at Audition
Jack Bernardi Jack Bernardi ... Man at Audition
Garn Stephens Garn Stephens ... Eddie, the Stage Manager
Santos Morales Santos Morales ... Desk Clerk
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Storyline

Lewis and Clark were famous comedians during the vaudeville era. Off-stage, though, they couldn't stand each other, and haven't spoken in over twenty years. Ben, Willy Clark's nephew, is the producer of a variety show that wants to feature a reunion of the classic duo. How will Ben convince the crotchety old comedians to put aside their differences before the big show? Written by Mike Konczewski

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For the price of a movie, you'll feel like a million!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 1976 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Based on the lives and careers of vaudeville comics Joe Smith and Charles Dale (né Sultzer and Marks). Unlike the characters in the Broadway play and later film, Smith and Dale were almost inseparable friends. In fact, when Dale died in 1971, Smith commissioned a single tombstone to be prepared for them both, ordering that the inscription read "Smith and Dale". The pair's strained relationship is based on another old-time vaudeville duo, Gallagher and Shean, the latter of whom was Groucho Marx's uncle. See more »

Goofs

George Burns says he drove in from Jersey in a 1973 Chrysler Imperial when in fact it is a 1972 model. See more »

Quotes

Ben Clark: It's a very happy moment for me.
See more »


Soundtracks

Make 'Em Laugh
(uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Arranged by Conrad Salinger
See more »

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User Reviews

Richard Benjamin's Finest Hour
8 February 2001 | by fowler1See all my reviews

Just because most of Neil Simon's work doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean he never hits the bullseye. I've always loved his brassier, vaudeville-inspired early work; this movie, for one, is just out to make you laugh. There are 'serious' moments, but they're not destinations, just short bridges to more one-liners. For some, this represents artistic laziness, but Simon doesn't do serious or introspective well at all: he's a seltzer bottle in an age of plastic Evian containers. SUNSHINE BOYS is one of the funniest films to have emerged from the 70s. Simon is here working with archetypes as familiar to him as an old shoe; comfortably in his element, he whips up a consistently hilarious 100+ minutes. Matthau and Burns are great, but you already knew that; Richard Benjamin, however, is the film's secret weapon. Some of the biggest laughs in the film are his, such as the closeup of his face in the elevator following Matthau's blown audition for the potato-chip commercial that opens the film. His face has an utterly blank, almost zen look of serenity-in-utter-failure. His scene at the Friars Club, desperately pleading with Burns on the phone while Matthau harangues him outside the phone booth, is perfection. The chemistry between Benjamin and the two leads is actually better than that between Burns and Matthau. (Although their scenes are hilarious, the climactic "Doctor sketch" is subpar burlesque, nowhere near the quality of buffoonery we'd been led to expect.) It's a disappointment, but a small one. The rest of the film is highly satisfying; as a bonus, there's great NYC location shooting (always a plus in any movie).


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