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The King of Comedy (1982)

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Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
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Popularity
4,194 ( 268)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis ... Jerry Langford
Diahnne Abbott ... Rita Keane
Sandra Bernhard ... Masha
Ed Herlihy Ed Herlihy ... Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown Lou Brown ... Band Leader
Loretta Tupper Loretta Tupper ... Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski Peter Potulski ... Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales Vinnie Gonzales ... Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan Whitey Ryan ... Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless Doc Lawless ... Chauffeur
Marta Heflin ... Young Girl
Katherine Wallach Katherine Wallach ... Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina Charles Kaleina ... Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz Richard Baratz ... Caricaturist
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Storyline

Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. However, when he confronts his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford, with a plea to perform on the Jerry's show, he is only given the run-around. He does not give up, however, but persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants. Eventually he must team up with his psychotic Langford-obsessed friend Masha to kidnap the talk show host in hopes of finally getting to perform his stand-up routine. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody knows Rupert Pupkin, but after 11:30 tonight no one will ever forget him. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

King of Comedy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In his monologue on the Jerry Langford show, Rupert Pupkin says that he is from Clifton, New Jersey. This is possibly an allusion to Andy Kaufman's abusive comedian persona, Tony Clifton, whom Pupkin resembles with similar hair, mustache and cheap blue suits. See more »

Goofs

In Rupert's fantasy of Jerry inviting him out to his house, Jerry replaces Rupert's audition tape into its envelope twice in successive shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #2.1 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Jerry Langford Theme
Written by Bob James
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Unforgettable
16 October 2000 | by noahkSee all my reviews

This is one of the most memorable films I have ever seen. The first time I saw it in 1983, my dad took me to see it with my older cousin, who laughed hysterically throughout the film, then said afterwards how much he hated it. That was a memorable moment, but the film itself also made a very large impression on me. Despite the title, it is anything but a comedy, save for some amusing moments that could pass for dark comedy.

The story involves a 34 year old nerd (Robert DeNiro) who wants badly to be a standup comedian, but his only method of trying to attain this goal is by essentially stalking a popular talk show host played by Jerry Lewis. The performances are amazing, of course DeNiro can never fail at playing someone offbeat and deranged. Jerry Lewis is very good as the talk show host, and Sandra Bernhard is also well cast as a fellow stalker. The film is a tough watch as its tense and uncomfortable throughout, yet entertaining and intruiging enough so it never crosses the line into unbearable, which I imagine must have been exactly what filmmaker Scorcese was going for. Overall, the film is a combination of disturbing, entertaining, and unforgettable. What's more, it holds up extremely well seventeen years later, although it initially did not do well at the box office. Score: 9/10


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