A former radio DJ, suicidally despondent because of a terrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man who was an unwitting victim of that mistake.


Terry Gilliam
4,358 ( 520)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Jack
Adam Bryant Adam Bryant ... Radio Engineer
Paul Lombardi Paul Lombardi ... Radio Engineer
David Hyde Pierce ... Lou Rosen (as David Pierce)
Ted Ross ... Limo Bum
Lara Harris ... Sondra
Warren Olney Warren Olney ... TV Anchorman
Frazer Smith Frazer Smith ... News Reporter
Mercedes Ruehl ... Anne
Kathy Najimy ... Crazed Video Customer
Harry Shearer ... Sitcom Actor Ben Starr
Melinda Culea ... Sitcom Wife
James Remini James Remini ... Bum at Hotel
Mark Bowden Mark Bowden ... Doorman
John Ottavino John Ottavino ... Father at Hotel


Jack Lucas was once a famous, arrogant and egotistical New York City call-in radio talk show host. Largely self-inflicted due to remorse and grief, Jack goes on a quick downward spiral, both personally and professionally, after a glib comment he makes to one of his regular callers results in that caller going on a murder spree. Three years later, the only emotional and financial support a despondent Jack receives is from his current video store owning girlfriend, Anne. When Jack hits rock bottom, he meets a seemingly crazy and homeless man calling himself Parry. Parry does have mental health issues, namely hallucinations centered around the story of the Fisher King, which is why he has an obsession with obtaining the Holy Grail. When Jack learns of Parry's own background and the reason he got to where he is, Jack feels he needs to be part of Parry's salvation. He figures the way to do so is to connect Parry with Lydia Sinclair, a shy and uncoordinated woman who Parry loves from afar. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Modern Day Tale About The Search For Love, Sanity, Ethel Merman And The Holy Grail. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Howard Stern was asked for tapes of his radio show. Howard refused and instead asked to be a consultant since they were modeling the character after him. The studio did not want to pay Stern, so they declined and in return Stern told them he wasn't interested in giving them his tapes. See more »


Parry blinks when Jack is yelling at him in the hospital. If Parry is catatonic he shouldn't be able to blink. See more »


Lou Rosen: Bums! I don't have any change.
Jack Lucas: I'm not opening this window. A couple of quarters isn't gonna make any difference anyway.
See more »


References Hanky Panky (1982) See more »


(You're) Having My Baby
Written by Paul Anka
See more »

User Reviews

One of Gilliam's best.
9 January 2008 | by dead47548See all my reviews

Arguably Gilliam's best film, and certainly his best acted. As usual, Bridges is completely natural and absorbed in his role. This is the only time I've seen Robin Williams combine his best humor with his severe talent for dramatic work. He seamlessly switches from being wildly charismatic to being an empathetic, heart broken man just trying to escape his past. The basic structure is one which has been done many times, but never has it been mastered as Gilliam has done. The parallels in the story are remarkable. Parry's name being short for Parsifal, a knight of the Holy Grail. Parry saves Jack just as Parsifal saved the Fisher King. Also, Parry's flight from the Red Knight is reflected from Parsifal's battle with the Red Knight. Another parallel is seen when Parry's haunted past is brought back to him after kissing Lydia, just as Parsifal is reawakened after kissing Kundry. Gilliam creates all of this beautifully, yet keeps it very subtle and light. The film itself combines outrageous humor, heartwrenching drama and even some thrilling chase scenes. The hallucinations and flashbacks also have a very haunting ambiance to them. The film really is a tour de force on all fronts. As always, Gilliam creates a very haunting yet comfortable ambiance through some of the best cinematography I've ever seen.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

27 September 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fisher King See more »


Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$311,662, 22 September 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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