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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

Zero Mostel , Phil Silvers , Richard Lester  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

Price: $18.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, Michael Crawford, Jack Gilford
  • Directors: Richard Lester
  • Writers: Melvin Frank, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart, Michael Pertwee, Titus Maccius Plautus
  • Producers: Melvin Frank
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792844815
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,153 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

Editorial Reviews

Something appealing. Something appalling. Something for everyone a comedy tonight! "One ofthe hottest burlesque shows that ever hit Broadway" (Time) comes to the screen showcasing the enormous talents of Tony AwardÂ(r) winner Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford (Cocoon), Buster Keaton and Michael Crawford (Broadway's "The Phantom of the Opera"). Featuring keenly clever tunes like "Comedy Tonight" and "Lovely," this wild Stephen Sondheim musical about a raucous gaggle of ancient Romans is a "flip, glib and sophisticated, yet rump-slapping bawdy and fast-paced look at the seamy underside of classical Rome through hipster's shades" (Variety).When a wily, witty, lying, lazy, cheating slave discovers that his master's son is in love with thegirl next doora virgin courtesanhe promises to help win her heart in exchange for his freedom. But the road to romance is blocked with stunning surprises, cunning disguisesand the wildest chariot race ever!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than I Remembered It To Be April 8, 2003
Great fun musical comedy loosely based on T. Maccius Plautus' 2nd century B.C. comedy "Miles Gloriosus" ("Braggart Warrior").
The widescreen format lets you see pratfalls and edge-of-scene antics that are missing in the pan and scan version. Zero Mostel was a comic genius; it's a pity that he didn't leave us more movies to enjoy. Michael Hordern is superb as Senex, as are Jack Gilford and Phil Silvers as Hysterium and Lycus. When I was a child I didn't enjoy the musical numbers, I remember fast- forwarding through to get back to the comedy. I now appreciate the songs as well; they are genuinely funny and full of double-entendres that you have to hear repeatedly to fully enjoy. The entire movie, despite its classical setting, has a swinging-sixties feel that you'll have to watch a Rat Pack film to match. You almost expect Frank Sinatra to walk into a scene, singing a song in between drags on his cigarette.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD - Hilarious Movie August 16, 2004
Not having seen the play, I am able to enjoy the film without comparison to other formats. It is hilarious, frantic and a perfect example of Richard Lester's early work.

The DVD transfer is crisp and colorful with very clear audio - way better than the version shown on TCM. Artifacting is barely existent. The transfer is anamorphic widescreen though the description provided by Amazon does not note this.

For a good, though bawdy, burlesque played broadly and strictly for laughs, you can't go wrong.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something appealing,something appalling!! January 6, 2003
By ellafan
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you cherish the memories of Zero,Phil,Jack,and must get this very funny and very well-presented DVD.It's a great mixture of slapstick;burlesque;hamming it up for the camera;and silliness that makes you long for the days when these wonderful ,almost obscenely talented, and always hilarious men were making movies.It's a delight.Hopefully,if this is your first exposure to the likes of these fellas,you will be compelled to investigate more of their screen work.One of my friends who watched the movie with me when I received it commented that "they surely had a ball making this movie,didn't they?" That's what you'll have when you watch it! I really miss these guys.If you don't laugh out loud as Zero plays the "soothsayer," check your pulse!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone! A comedy, tonight! June 28, 2014
The opening musical number of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum" boasts that it has something for everyone: a comedy with "lovers, liars and clowns," and "nothing with gods, nothing but fate/weighty affairs will just have to wait."

That song pretty effectively sums up what to expect in this not-terribly-faithful adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's stage musical -- a complicated tangle of wacky antics, silly acting and mass confusion. It has some rough patches such as the sometimes nausea-inducing cinematography, but Zero Mostel steals the entire movie with sweaty, crazy-eyed abandon that it's impossible not to laugh your head off.

Cunning slave Pseudolus (Mostel) is always trying to get enough money to buy his freedom. When his dim master Hero (Michael Crawford) falls in love with a virginal courtesan named Philia (Annette Andre) in the house next door, Pseudolus sees the perfect opportunity. And by glorious chance, Hero's parents -- the appropriately-named Domina (Patricia Jessel) and henpecked Senex (Michael Hordern) -- are off on a visit to her mother.

But oh woe! It turns out that Philia is already sold to the bombastically boastful Roman captain Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene). So Pseudolus tricks the slave merchant Marcus Lycus (Phil Silvers) into thinking Philia has the smiling plague, and he and Hero start gathering the ingredients for a potion so the lovers can elope.

But things inevitably get wacky when various people converge on the area -- deaths are faked, identities are mistaken, suicides are threatened, drag is worn and Pseudolus and his weary fellow slave Hysterium (Jack Gilford) soon end up this whole loony scenario up to their hears.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "TOGAS, TUTUS tu?" January 29, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
"But I don't even look like a girl..."
"LIE DOWN, and think GIRLISH thoughts.........."
Even the names - "Vibrato", "Hysterium", Erronius", "Fertila", "etc" ....... still raise chuckles!
What a treat! [Probably inspired the names in Monty Python's "Life of Brian"!]
AND then there's the dreamcast - headed by Zero Mostel as "Pseudolus", with Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford - even silent star Buster Keaton strutting his stuff on a treadmill circa somewhere BC - searching for his long-lost offspring.
There's also Michael Crawford as "Hero" a few years before "Hello Dolly" and the triumphs that followed. If you've never seen this classic - shame on you!
It's bawdy, ribald, irreverent and very funny, complete with chariot chases, matrons, virgins [male and female], raging hormones, protruding pulchritude, and bonus of all - It's a Musical! The kids will love it!
Just sit back, relax and enjoy this one!
For kicks - add "The Producers" also with Zero, and Mel Brooks "History of the World - Part 1". For the Purist - perhaps Eddit Cantor's "Roman Scandals" with Lucy [and if you don't know from Eddie Cantor - leave the page!].
Toga! Toga! Toga!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Family fun movie, we get a kick out of it every time we watch it.
Published 9 days ago by Doris
5.0 out of 5 stars In the most troubled and painful times of your life
If you want to laugh so loud and so hard that your sides hurt, no matter how many times you watch a film, then buy this one now! Read more
Published 12 days ago by Robert M. Khoury
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Comedy, Great Acting, and Zero Mostel
A timeless comedy for the ages. Re-created on countless civic stages, this film version is thrice worth the watch.
Published 1 month ago by Lrobby99
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD in good shape.
Enjoyable as always. DVD in good shape.
Published 1 month ago by Monica Spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Ray A
5.0 out of 5 stars delighted to get it in DVD format
Had this on tape, delighted to get it in DVD format.
Published 1 month ago by Mary L Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a riot with all the mid century comedians and great music
Published 1 month ago by william mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it since i was a kid
i'm rating the movie itself. loved it since i was a kid. i write here to pose a question that no one seems to answer... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bill Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars An all star cast with some of yesterdays top comedians ...
An all star cast with some of yesterdays top comedians. They were at their peak when this was made and its an outstanding movie.
Published 1 month ago by kjsmith
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites!
I love this movie, it is a childhood favorite of mine. The acting is fabulous and Zero Mostel is hilarious! I highly recommend this movie and also watch the play if you can too :)
Published 2 months ago by Nadine
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