7.8/10
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198 user 98 critic

Withnail & I (1987)

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

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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
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Popularity
4,990 ( 204)
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 don't remember the sixties, don't worry - neither did 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

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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

Bill Nighy was a friend of Bruce Robinson and was also considered for the part of Withnail. See more »

Goofs

As the boys are driving OUT of London there is a light blue Ford Transit van. It is also there when they are driving BACK to London at the end of the film. Same number plate as well. See more »

Quotes

Monty: Come on lads, let's get home, the sky's beginning to bruise, night must fall and we shall be forced to camp.
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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.
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Connections

References Safety Last! (1923) See more »

Soundtracks

My Friend
Performed by Charlie Kunz
Composed by Ervin Drake and Jimmy Shirl
Published Chappell Music Ltd
Original Sound Recording made by the Decca Record Co. Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
British film-making at its best.
19 November 2001 | by pjcarlineSee all my reviews

Camden, 1969. Two unemployed actors, Withnail (Richard E Grant), and I (Paul McGann), are facing up to the reality of an empty wine cellar and a harsh comedown following a speed binge. Squalid living conditions and the prospect of life on the poverty line leads 'I' (otherwise known as Marwood), to suggest a rejuvenating break in the Lake District. After Withnail manages to persuade his bizarre uncle, Monty (Richard Griffiths) to part with the keys of his dilapidated cottage, the take the Jag north for a taste of country life.

Adapting to such an alien environment is an initial challenge to the highly strung Withnail; his predicament is significantly worsened following an altercation with poacher Jake (Michael Elphick). Meanwhile, Marwood is forced to concentrate his attentions to fending off the advances of the lecherous Monty, who has inconveniently come to stay.

Following an awkward evening, the pair hurriedly return to London and, after a run-in with the Metropolitan Police, return to find Danny (Ralph Brown) has made himself at home. Drugged rodents fill the oven while Presuming Ed fills the bath and Marwood is rescued from the mire - it seems he will crack the boards after all. "Congratulations", Withnail says emptily, as he begins to contemplate life without his straight man.

Bruce Robinson deserves high praise for creating a rich, debauched world of weird thumbs, phenodihydrochloride benelex, old suits, uncontaminated urine and the Camberwell carrot. WIth a the tightest of budgets, he brings the late 1960's to life. The script is incredibly witty and eminently quotable. Both Mary Selway (casting director) and Bruce Robinson succeeded in bringing dialogue to life with an impeccable choice of actors. Richard E Grant has never come close to his performance as Withnail - his drunken performances are remarkable. Richard Griffiths is as camp as a hat as the overbearing, exuberant Monty, and Ralph Brown is frequently hilarious as the dangerous but lovable Danny.

This is a film that will never be tarnished by age, and neither is it limited by repeat viewings. It is a very accessible film, despite its largely English humour, and 'Withnail' remains one of the best films about friendship. Certainly a one off, 'Withnail' is a must see film that will not disappoint.


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