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Man on the Moon (1999)

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The life and career of legendary comedian Andy Kaufman.

Director:

Milos Forman
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4,484 ( 51)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... Andy Kaufman (as Tony Clifton)
Gerry Becker ... Stanley Kaufman - Andy's Father
Greyson Erik Pendry ... Little Michael Kaufman (as Greyson Pendry)
Brittany Colonna ... Baby Carol Kaufman
Leslie Lyles Leslie Lyles ... Janice Kaufman - Andy's Mother
Bobby Boriello ... Little Andy Kaufman
George Shapiro ... Mr. Besserman
Danny DeVito ... George Shapiro
Budd Friedman ... Budd Friedman
Tom Dreesen ... Wiseass Comic
Thomas Armbruster Thomas Armbruster ... Improv Piano Player
Pamela Abdy Pamela Abdy ... Diane Barnett
Wendy Polland Wendy Polland ... Little Wendy
Cash Oshman Cash Oshman ... Yogi
Matt Price ... Meditation Student
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Storyline

A biographical film on the late comedian Andy Kaufman. Kaufman, along with his role on Taxi (1978), was famous for being the self-declared Intergender Wrestling Champion of the world. After beating women time and time again, Jerry Lawler (who plays himself in the movie), a professional wrestler, got tired of seeing all of this and decided to challenge Kaufman to a match. In most of the matches the two had, Lawler prevailed with the piledriver, which is a move by spiking an opponent head-first into the mat. One of the most famous moments in this feud was in the early 80s when Kaufman threw coffee on Lawler on Late Night with David Letterman (1982), got into fisticuffs with Lawler, and proceeded to sue NBC. Written by Eli Boorstein <uahp@rocketmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"Hello, my name is Andy and people are talking about me!" See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Andy Kaufman See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$82,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,515,585, 26 December 1999

Gross USA:

$34,607,430

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,434,430
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lynne Margulies: Swaying with the crowd at Andy's funeral. See more »

Goofs

In the "Mighty Mouse" scene, supposed to take place in 1975, the "Proud N" NBC logo, depicting a peacock inside the letter N, is seen on the studio camera. The Proud N logo wasn't introduced until 1979 (the logo used in 1975 was simply an N divided into red and blue trapezoids). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Andy Kaufman: Hello. I am Andy and I would like to thank you for coming to my movie. I wish it was *better*, you know, but... it is so stupid! It's terrible! I do not even like it. All of the most important things in my life are changed around and mixed up for dramatic purposes. So, I decided to cut out all of the baloney! Now the movie is much *shorter*.
[pause]
Andy Kaufman: In fact, this is the end of the movie. Thank you very much.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the beginning credits, Howdy Doody is also credited as "Himself." See more »

Alternate Versions

Several scenes were shot but cut. These include:
  • The cast of Taxi rehearsing with a stand-in substituting for Andy.
  • Andy responding to fan mail from some attractive girls.
  • Andy taking a girl out on a date and acting so weird she asks to go home.
  • After the Tony Clifton fiasco on the Taxi set, Andy calling Ed Weinberger and thanking him for playing along so convincingly.
  • A scene backstage after Andy "hurts" his neck at the wrestling match where his worried parents come to see if he is okay.
  • A scene towards the end of the movie at the Improv Club where Andy resurrects his Foreign Man routine and is "heckled" by Zmuda posing as an audience member.
See more »

Connections

References Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Here's Tony
(1999)
Written by Charlie Brissette and Ed Mitchell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
dank you veddy much
22 December 1999 | by J[oe]See all my reviews

I've been an Andy Kaufman fan for quite a while now. True, I was around six when Andy died. But somehow this strange man was able to affect both my work and outlook. So needless to say I was looking forward to this film. And I was not disappointed.

Critics complain that while engaging, this film does not let the viewer in on who exactly Kaufman was. It's simple: there was no real Andy Kaufman. He was socially inept, utterly brilliant, and a strange and distant individual. His sense of humor (if he even had one) was not for everyone to understand. THAT WAS THE POINT. So why should a film spoil the mystery? MAN ON THE MOON was as an homage to Andy, NOT an explanation, and far better than those dull, lifeless documentaries on E! or comedy central in which uninteresting comedians try to explain why Andy was brilliant. It's common knowledge that explaining a joke renders it humorous (a notion that Andy toyed with in his Foreign Man routine, remember?)

True, some facts were altered for dramatic purposes (though the truth is just as interesting), or maybe just necessity, but the base story is still pretty accurate. Some of the more humorous moments in Kaufman's career were not mentioned (i.e. his stints on Johnny Carson and David Letterman, his work with performance artist Laurie Anderson, his street corner preaching). But lets face it, everything couldn't and didn't need to be included. The film is capable of capturing the essence of Kaufman's world. If you want to see everything Kaufman did, find a recording of it and watch that.

Carrey is brilliant as Kaufman. Some call it an imitation, though that seems overly simplified and absurd. That was an imitation along the lines of Geoffrey Rush in SHINE, or Hilary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY, or Richard Farnsworth in THE STRAIGHT STORY. Sure, Carrey observes and uses the many Kaufman quirks without a fault, but his observation goes far beyond what any other actor seems capable of. Carrey is Andy Kaufman. So many seem unwilling to admit that Carrey can act.

Taken on it's own, MAN ON THE MOON is a magical, funny, and wonderful film. Taken with the rest of the sources currently available on Andy Kaufman, this is just another facet to a complex career and an homage to a brilliant man.


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