6.5/10
1,693
34 user 33 critic

Bartleby (2001)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 10 March 2001 (USA)
Trailer
2:00 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $4.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A clueless boss has no idea what to do with his mundane office worker whose refusal of duties only gets worse each passing minute.

Director:

Jonathan Parker

Writers:

Herman Melville (story "Bartleby the Scrivener"), Jonathan Parker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Rubin and Ed (1991)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unsuccessful, nervous businessman gradually comes to befriend an eccentric, asocial nerd on a trip to Utah to bury a deceased cat.

Director: Trent Harris
Stars: Crispin Glover, Howard Hesseman, Karen Black
Bartleby II (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An asocial and enigmatic office clerk refuses to do his work, leaving it up to his boss to decide what should be done with him.

Director: Anthony Friedman
Stars: Paul Scofield, John McEnery, Thorley Walters
Willard (2003)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young man with an unusual connection to rats uses them at his own sociopathic will.

Director: Glen Morgan
Stars: Crispin Glover, R. Lee Ermey, Laura Harring
Bartleby I (1976)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director: Maurice Ronet
Stars: Michael Lonsdale, Maxence Mailfort, Maurice Biraud
What Is It? (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

What Is It? is a bewildering, unnerving, surreal, blackly comic film from the visionary mind of Crispin Glover that tells the inner and outer struggles of a young man facing villains and demons on multiple planes.

Director: Crispin Glover
Stars: Michael Blevis, Carlos Richardson, Lisa Fusco
Bartleby (2017)
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Wall Street man employs a very melancholy, peculiar copyist to work in his office, a man called Bartleby who soon refuses to do any work because, in his calm yet defiant words, he'd prefer not to.

Directors: Kristen Kee, Laura Naylor
River's Edge (1986)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A high school slacker commits a shocking act and proceeds to let his friends in on the secret. However, the friends' reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.

Director: Tim Hunter
Stars: Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye
Liquid Sky (1982)
Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Invisible aliens in a tiny flying saucer come to Earth looking for heroin. They land on top of a New York apartment inhabited by a drug dealer and her female, androgynous, bisexual ... See full summary »

Director: Slava Tsukerman
Stars: Anne Carlisle, Paula E. Sheppard, Susan Doukas
30 Door Key (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A young writer in 1939 Warsaw faces the conflict of acting his age or relapsing into childhood during the brink of World War II.

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Stars: Iain Glen, Robert Stephens, Crispin Glover
Willard (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Dylan Chandler
Stars: Phillip Aguilera, Frances Chang, John Chatham
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Paymer ... The Boss
Crispin Glover ... Bartleby
Glenne Headly ... Vivian
Maury Chaykin ... Ernest
Joe Piscopo ... Rocky
Seymour Cassel ... Frank Waxman
Carrie Snodgress ... Book Publisher
Dick Martin ... The Mayor
Greta Danielle Newgren Greta Danielle Newgren ... Boss's Date
Ken Murakami ... Landlord
Josh Kornbluth ... Property Manager
Nick Scoggin Nick Scoggin ... Street Philosopher
Stoney Burke Stoney Burke ... Soup Kitchen Server
Terry Allen Jones ... New Tenant
Stu Klitsner Stu Klitsner ... Professor Bum (as Stuart Klitsner)
Edit

Storyline

At a public records office, a seemingly normal boss has hired a new employee named Bartleby. Bartleby however, is eccentric and with each passing day, he begins to refuse his boss' orders which only gets worse. Eventually, the boss finds himself clueless as to what to do about Bartleby as he discovers even stranger things about him. Written by Mystic80

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I would prefer not to.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Parker Film Company

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bartleby at the Office See more »

Filming Locations:

Novato, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,599, 27 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$148,479
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Parker Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Dick Martin's final acting performance. See more »

Goofs

When the boss's date is straddling him in his office, sometimes her hair is wrapped in a scarf and sometimes it's not. See more »

Quotes

Bartleby: I don't drive.
The Boss: You don't drive? Well, then how did you get here? Did you walk? There are no sidewalks!
[speaks into the intercom]
The Boss: Vivian, can you take a bus here?
Vivian: [speaking through the intercom] Ah... yes. From my house I would take the 36 to the terminal in town. Then transfer there to the 80 and get off at the shopping center then catch the 48. There's only one - at 7:10 AM. The ride is roughly an hour and a half from the mall, so to get here by nine, I have to leave the house by 4:45. My car ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the opening credits begin, viewers are given a portrait and short biography of Herman Melville, upon whose story the film is loosely based. See more »

Connections

Version of Bartleby (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Phantasie #3 In D Minor
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
Background music on piano by Nancy Spottiswoode
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Brilliant comic revenge on the classics!
1 June 2001 | by awalter1See all my reviews

The head of a public records office advertises for a new employee. Only one person responds--Bartleby, a former postal worker who at first files like a demon then lapses into apathy. Bartleby stands all day looking at an air vent in the ceiling, responding to every request from his boss and coworkers with, "I would prefer not to." Eventually the boss retaliates with passive-aggressive acts aimed at getting rid of the man. Till the very end, however, Bartleby remains an enigma, a human cipher who refuses to give up his secrets.

Hardly an engaging story premise? That's what I thought when I trudged through Herman Melville's mid-nineteenth century story "Bartleby the Scrivener" in college lit class. Sure, the story has an important theme and some interesting symbolism, but it's also dull, dull, dull. However, director Jonathan Parker has taken the best sort of revenge on this canonical work of American literature; he's turned it into a zany, low-budget, laugh fest--getting across many of the essential ideas while also entertaining his audience. Parker has approached the sort of exaggerated, stale, depressing office atmosphere seen at the beginning of "Joe Versus the Volcano" and turned it inside out, covering it with a colorful, kitschy facade to inflate the absurdity of modern information mills.

Essential to the success of the film is the fine ensemble cast. Crispin Glover deserves more lead roles, and though with Bartleby he does spend most of his time immobile and silent, perhaps no other actor can accomplish more with simple posture, well-manipulated expressions, and quirky movement. Glenne Headly is a scream in her exaggerated seduction attempts aimed at Seymour Cassel. Joe Piscopo is also in fine form as the office macho man, though he has aged dramatically since we saw him last in, what--"Wise Guys"? Maury Chaykin gives the overweight and nerve-racked Ernie a comic flair, playing with his desktop windup toys only to flinch every time they jump, and pulling off an impressive physical comedy scene involving a sandwich, a photocopier, and a watercooler. Finally, David Paymer as "The Boss" provides a solid focus for the film with his adaptive performance of a complex character.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 34 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed