7.8/10
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199 user 100 critic

Withnail & I (1987)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 19 June 1987 (USA)
Trailer
2:06 | Trailer

On Disc

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In 1969, two substance-abusing, unemployed actors retreat to the countryside for a holiday that proves disastrous.

Director:

Bruce Robinson

Writer:

Bruce Robinson
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard E. Grant ... Withnail
Paul McGann ... ... & I
Richard Griffiths ... Monty
Ralph Brown ... Danny
Michael Elphick ... Jake
Daragh O'Malley Daragh O'Malley ... Irishman
Michael Wardle ... Isaac Parkin
Una Brandon-Jones Una Brandon-Jones ... Mrs. Parkin
Noel Johnson Noel Johnson ... General
Irene Sutcliffe Irene Sutcliffe ... Waitress
Llewellyn Rees Llewellyn Rees ... Tea Shop Proprietor
Robert Oates Robert Oates ... Policeman 1
Anthony Wise ... Policeman 2
Eddie Tagoe ... Presuming Ed
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Storyline

London, 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If you can't remember the 60's, ...don't worry. Neither can they. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Handmade Films Website

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

19 June 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Withnail & I See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,544,889
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

The name "Withnail" came from man called Jonathan Withnall that Bruce Robinson knew as a little boy. He was a local character who reversed his Aston Martin into a police car in a pub car park. Robinson said he's never been able to spell very well, and spelled his last name "Withnail" by mistake. The character of Withnail was based on Robinson's close friend, actor Vivian MacKerrell who died of throat cancer in 1995. They met at The Central School of Speech and Drama in 1964. The pair lived with David Dundas, Michael Feast and others in a Victorian townhouse bought by Dundas's parents in Camden Town, London. See more »

Goofs

When Marwood is in the bath shaving (just before Withnail arrives with his saveloy and chips), you can clearly see that below the shaving foam he is in fact already clean shaven. See more »

Quotes

[Mr Parkin is sitting on his tractor with one leg wrapped from thigh to ankle in a plastic fertiliser bag. He winces as he stretches his leg]
Marwood: What happened to your leg?
Isaac Parkin: Got a randy bull up there. Gi' me one in t' knee.
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Crazy Credits

Paul McGann is credited only as "and I". See more »

Alternate Versions

The original cinema version of this film was shorter than the one that has since been released on video, laserdisc and DVD. Changes include:
  • Marwood's opening voice-over has been redubbed.
  • Marwood's speech about his thumbs having gone weird has been cut. The scene thus goes from the line "I don't feel good" to "Look at my tongue".
  • Withnail's "I'm gonna pull your head off" has been cut.
  • Danny's anecdote about The Coalman has been cut.
  • Some dialogue concerning Withnail's current work and Marwood also being a thespian has been cut out of the scene at Monty's home.
  • The scene of Marwood slipping in the mud and then angrily persuading Withnail to have another look at the shed has been cut.
  • The first part of Withnail and Marwood's conversation with the major, concerning Withnail having been in the Territorials, has been cut. The scene in this version simply dissolves from Withnail and Marwood walking to the pub with Marwood's voice-over to the major bringing up the subject of Jake. Marwood's line about why Withnail lied to the major has understandably also been cut.
  • The word Saveloy has been redubbed to Sausage.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 50 Greatest Comedy Films (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Voodoo Chile
Performed and Composed by Jimi Hendrix
1969 Published by Chappell Music Ltd.
Original Sound Recording made by Polydor Records Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant Brit Comedy
14 January 2006 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

Strange to believe that WITHNAIL AND I , a film that is regarded as today one of the best British comedies ever made flopped spectacularly on its initial release in 1987 and maybe it's not too easy to see why . In the late 1980s the British film industry was in an absolute mire and the very phrase itself " British film " made a homegrown audience roll its eyes and think of art-house crap directed by Derek Jarman or Peter Greenaway . Any British film no matter the genre or how good it was always got tarred with the same brush in those days .

Years later actor Ralph Brown ( Danny ) was asked " Why is it a good film ? " to which he replied " Because there's no crap bits in it " which simplifying the truth . WITHNAIL AND I is a very rare type of British comedy since it has been developed to its utmost potential . All too often British comedies of the last 20 years feel like they've been rush released before the script has been used to its full potential but not with this comedy classic because nearly every scene couldn't possibly be any funnier . Everyone has their favourite scene like the one in the Irish bar or the tea room or the one with bull but for me the stand out scene has got to be the urine sample down at the police station . It's also interesting to note that it's a movie without any female characters and feels both homo-erotic and laddish at the same time . It also carries an emotional and poignant impact at the end , something all of us can relate to when our best friend finds a new best friend and we become quickly forgotten

All the cast are excellent but Richard E Grant is nothing short of superb and it's probably his performance as much as Bruce Robinson's smart script . You could argue that because Withnail is a camp , self centered , mincing thespian Grant is playing an extension of himself and while this may be true he's certainly enjoyable to watch here . Ironically enough I'd have thought he'd be brilliant as the title character in DOCTOR WHO but it was co-star Paul McGann who got the role in the 1996 American TVM and what a major disappointment he was . As it stands both actors will probably be best remembered for their cracking roles in this movie


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