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A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Jason Robards , Barbara Harris , Fred Coe  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Robards, Barbara Harris, Martin Balsam, Barry Gordon
  • Directors: Fred Coe
  • Writers: Herb Gardner
  • Producers: Fred Coe
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,301 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In this four-time Oscar nominated film (including Best Picture), Jason Robards stars as a nonconformist who is forced to find a conventional job. Barbara Harris and Martin Balsam co-star.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Drums of Conformity - Thoreau Lost in NYC March 12, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is a great film that explores the issue of conformity in grand detail. Through the character Murray (played by Robards), we see the life of someone who is bound and determined to remain untainted and apart from society. This is put to the ultimate test, when his civil disobedience endangers his ability to legally take care of his nephew. Will Murray conform with society and keep the child, or will he refuse to sell out and lose the only thing he truly values?
Murray feels what all humans feel - particularly at the age when they're ready to move out on their own into the world. He retains a childlike quality that at times delights us with witty, honest comedy. And at other times it frustrates our logic; for we care about the child and his future. This story closely mimics that of *Catcher in the Rye* and also follows many of the ideals laid down by Henry David Thoreau. Murray practices all forms of civil disobedience and definitely walks to the beat of a different drummer.
With witty dialogue, endearing characters, and an all-star performance by the film's lead men, *A Thousand Clowns* is a sure winner for all audiences. The film is made all the more classic due to its handling of a subject we all can relate too: To conform or not to conform.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You've gotta own your own days ..." August 24, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
A funny, humane, thoughtful film about society's pressure to conform, honest enough to admit that others may sometimes pay the price for your non-conformity. Made before the 60's actually became THE 60's, "A Thousand Clowns" anticipates the coming decade and the struggle to become and remain one's own person from several perspectives, doing justice to all of them. Even characters who would be written off as one-dimensional villains in lesser films are given their say and their dignity here; everyone clearly has a life, complete with its sorrows and joys, and its own viewpoint. The romance between Jason Robards and Barbara Harris is sweet, giddy and touching; the love between Robards and his worshipping but clear-sighted nephew (a superb Barry Gordon) is strong and moving. How many of us still face the choices presented in this film? All too many of us, of course, each and every day - we can only hope to face them with as much good humor and warmth as these characters do! A neglected classic, absolutely wonderful.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves TEN STARS! April 30, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
This is without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all time. It changed my life as much as a movie can change your life. I saw it the first time, many years ago, when I was ten years old on its network TV premiere and I have not been the same since (my spotty employment record proves it). I really only have one thing to say about it: WHY CAN'T I HAVE THIS MOVIE ON DVD!!!!???!!! And I don't mean some crappy full frame piece of garbage - DO NOT FOIST THAT OFF ON ME! I want a proper DVD release, with wide screen and commentary and all the bells and whistles and I WANT IT NOW! NOW I TELL YOU! DVD NOW!(...).
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Film That Made Me November 7, 2006
I just need to say that this is my favorite film of all time. One of those strange films that you wonder why is not on DVD, but almost everything bad (not saying much)with Charles Bronson is.

I need to tell everyone of the first time I saw the film. I was 12 years

old. It was a Saturday night. I used to take the TV into the bathroom and watch whatever was on NBC's "Saturday Night at the Movies", while I lay in the bathtub. This film came on that I had no idea whatever what it was. The more I watched, the more I realized I was watching a film that I knew nothing about, but knew everything about, and i was Mesmerized. I found out at that time that I was Murray Burns(ok without the kid mind you). I think that for someone my age, to see that in themselves, is pretty extraordinary. Much of my life has been lived by the classic line in the film, when Arnie(Murrays Brother) says's to him...

"You know Murray, there is only one thing separating you from complete happiness. And do you know what that is? Other People".

I try to live my life, by the way of Murray Burns. I often break out into a rather strange rendition of "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", at very

inopportune times, just to see who gets the joke.


One of the many films needed to be remastered and released to the general public that knows, what is worthy, and what is not.

Om my GOD, I love this film so much.

I thank you for letting me ramble.

Now when the F%%k Can we see this released on DVD?
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cult Comedy about Conformity and Love. January 28, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Every bit the equal of Harold and Maude, A Thousand Clowns is the sleeper cult movie of the 60's.
After seeing Jason Robards struggle with telephones, relatives, women and conformity, you too will be talking back to the weather lady with his quotes. Only Zorba The Greek has more memorable one-liners.
Invading social workers threaten to separate Robards from his nephew unless he learns to conform sufficiently to keep a job as a comedy writer for Chuckles the Chipmonk.
Strong acting by a wonderful cast, great dialog, and powerful editing in a black and white format will keep you glued the the screen and smiling from beginning to end.
And for the rest of your life, you will know the proper use of the line "you can never have too many eagles" :-)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything was fine
Item arrived timely and was as described. Thank you very much.
Published 29 days ago by Steven D. Hayward
4.0 out of 5 stars May Be Too Slick
The actors are wonderful, the script pretty brilliant, it was enjoyable to watch. But I didn't quite get it. Was the writing over my head? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ann Sherry
1.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, bad DVD
Though I love this movie & have seen it numerous times in the past, this DVD skips & pauses so much, I couldn't get past the first 5 minutes.
Published 2 months ago by Richard E. Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Classic keeper.
Published 2 months ago by Robert Nalley
5.0 out of 5 stars "You Can Never Have Too Many Eagles"
This is the perennial favorite. The source of many family catch-phrases. It is sweet & quirky. It is sweet & quirky, with some terrific acting. A generally underrated film.
Published 3 months ago by reviews by Joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a classic
I have enjoyed this movie since I first saw it in the 60's. It continues to be an important message, I enjoyed watching it again after many years, and will watch it again soon.
Published 5 months ago by Neil Berman
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem of a film
A classic,timeless film. Jason Robards at his best. The whole cast is fab. Many life lessons appropriate for this fast paced, cell phone age.
Published 5 months ago by dan molitor
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite movie
I've seen this movie many times since it was first released. And Each time I find lines, both touching and hilarious, I either missed or forgot. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dicie C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie and very good quality on DVD.
I have been looking for this movie on DVD for a long time. I've had had it on VHS for years but the don't last forever. One of my favorite movies. Glad to have it in my collection.
Published 6 months ago by Vincent DeSaro
5.0 out of 5 stars a movie about what people go thru in life to find themselves
one of the best movies i have ever seen about trying to find your place in living life.
what a thought provoking picture.
Published 7 months ago by john m. peterson
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