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

Zero Mostel , Phil Silvers , Richard Lester  |  NR |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

Price: $63.90 & FREE Shipping. 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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792844815
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,744 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 51 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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22 of 24 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
The Tony winning musical comedy, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM had 964 performances between 5/8/62 and 8/29/64. Its punnish script is in part by Larry Gelbart (creator of TV's M*A*S*H) and songs are from Stephen Sondheim. Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford reprise their Broadway roles in a film that nicely expands well beyond the limits of the stage.

As movie audiences no longer favored musicals in 1966, most of this show's songs, including Zero's big number, "Free" were cut. His opener, "Comedy tonight!" remains as does "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid," an amusing patter piece that also features Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and Michael Hordern.

Pseudolus (Mostel) is a conniving slave who often cheats at dice in trying to raise enough money to buy his freedom. When Pseudolus learns that his young master, Hero (Crawford) is in love with Philia (Andre), a beautiful courtesan who lives next door in the notorious house of pleasure run by Marcus Lycus (Silvers), he strikes an advantageous bargain. If Pseudolus can successfully deliver Philia to Hero he will be emancipated. But things go wrong immediately and the story quickly becomes, as its first song states, "something frenetic."

Buster Keaton, in his final motion picture, is clearly unwell (he was dying of lung cancer), but still spry and able to improvise a pratfall that frightened director Richard Lester when he did it.
Zero Mostel won a Best Actor Tony for his portayal of Pseudolus. Phil Silvers was offered this role on Broadway, but declined because without his trademark hornrim glasses he feared getting injured on stage.
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7 of 7 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 A Comedy Classic!
Funny is funny, and this one is hilarious. Hadn't seen it in years, and it was just as funny after a few years away.
Published 14 days ago by S Gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Old history teacher down memory lane...
When I was a teacher, I used this movie to show several authentic items of common life from the days of Rome---the busts in place of photos, the wax writing tablets for students,... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Karen Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time ago.
It has been a long time since we first saw this flic at the local movie theater. It was even funnier the second time !!
Published 15 days ago by Poipu
5.0 out of 5 stars Little-known Classic
While a few of my favorite songs are missing from the movie ("That'll Show Him"), this adaptation is wonderful! Read more
Published 15 days ago by Moira Katson
1.0 out of 5 stars Rental
I thought I was suppose to be able to have it for a couple of days, now it's saying that I have to pay again to watch it. Im confused.
Published 23 days ago by Iman
1.0 out of 5 stars Closed captioning doesn't work
Love the movie but hate that closed captioning does not work on movies streamed thru Amazons Instant Videos. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Zany, witty, shamelessly ridiculous, and unrepentantly farcical...this is a great old comedy. It has an innocence and charm (despite its dodgy themes) that is seldom seen... Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Molnar
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in the seventies and Great in 2014
Amazing Zero Mostel! Hilarious comedy that has stood the test of time. Lots of fun with language....e.g. "He raped Thrace thrice?"
Published 2 months ago by Harriet Goetz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Show
Very funny we laughed from start to finish. I like this type of entertainment. Very happy with the purchase. Thank You.
Published 2 months ago by Dan Goldrick
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
Simply one of the best comedies of all time. I never get tired of watching this. A hundred years from now it will be watched. A classic.
Published 2 months ago by Tree Man
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