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Withnail & I (1987)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 19 June 1987 (USA)
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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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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 ... Irishman
Michael Wardle ... Isaac Parkin
Una Brandon-Jones Una Brandon-Jones ... Mrs. Parkin
Noel Johnson Noel Johnson ... Raymond (General)
Irene Sutcliffe Irene Sutcliffe ... Mabs Blenehassit (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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,627,318
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 the scene where they set off for Penrith, in the shot where the Jaguar drives away towards a railway bridge after Marwood flips the shades down on his glasses, Bruce Robinson's rare Aston Martin DB4 convertible can be seen parked in the background on the right hand side immediately before the bridge. This car also appears in the Bagleys' garage in How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) 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

Monty: Do you like vegetables? I've always been fond of root crops but I only started to grow last summer. I happen to think the cauliflower more beautiful than the rose. Do you grow?
Withnail: Geraniums.
Monty: Oh, you little traitors. I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is, you'll agree, a certain 'je ne sais quoi' oh so very special about a firm, young carrot.
See more »

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

References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata in B Flat Major
Music by Franz Schubert
Performed by Leslie Pearson
See more »

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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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