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The Survivors (1983)

Walter Matthau , Robin Williams , Michael Ritchie  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Matthau, Robin Williams, Jerry Reed, James Wainwright, Kristen Vigard
  • Directors: Michael Ritchie
  • Writers: Michael Leeson
  • Producers: Howard Pine, William Sackheim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000633R5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,320 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Survivors" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When Academy Award(r) winners Walter Matthau and Robin Williams team up as a pair of lovable losers pursued by a psychopathic killer, you can bet that madness and mayhem are not far behind. Donald Quinelle (Williams), a rising sales executive, is sacked by his boss's pet parrot the same day that Sonny Paluso (Matthau) watches his gas station go up in flames. Drowning their sorrows at a coffee shop,the two New Yorkers disarm a would-be bandit Jack Locke (Jerry Reed), and briefly become media heroes - then quickly learn about the price and perils of survival in an insane world. Jack is freed by a bureaucratic slipup and goes gunning for Sonny and Donald, who discover that their survival depends on their friendship at all costs. The unique blend of Williams' frenzied humor and Matthau's subtle wit makes the Survivors an outrageously hilarious comedy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It shouldn't work, but it does . . . May 21, 2005
The comic premise of this movie is a good one. Two passing acquaintances are thrown together trying to escape a hit-man with bad nerves and colitis---well-played by Jerry Reed. I think Williams does carry the movie, but his repartee with Reed is some of the funniest writing (more likely improvisation) I've ever heard. Whatever this movie lacks is made up for in the scenes pitting Williams' "Donald" against Reed's bad guy. Those scenes are worth the cost of the whole movie. I'm amazed and also happy this one was released on DVD.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorite Comedies April 11, 2003
Robin Williams is masterful as a zany survival nut who is being taken advantage of by a scheming businessman preying on fear that society will break down...Walter Matthau is the perfect straight man/foil for Williams...
Even though this is an older movie it is a theme which is still timeless...Is society getting ready for the "Big Flush" and how do responsible people respond to it?...
Williams and Matthau provide one very funny solution.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Robin Williams at his best. August 1, 2010
By Beth H.
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first watched this movie twenty five years ago. It is just as funny now as it was then. It tells the tale of two very different men who meet and bond only because they are victims of crime of the same suspect (Jerry Reed), from a coffee shop robbery. Needless to say, both are outraged over the incident and are left feeling helpless. Walter Matthau usually the cagey type in prior films is the opposite here. He is a single father of a young daughter who's protective of her and scared of everything else. Williams and Matthau decide to sign up for a soldier of fortune type camp where they want to learn survival skills for self protection. However they have two big problems, Jerry Reed, the bad guy, is onto them and follows them to the camp. The camp's instructor turns out to be a ninja type maniac with the mentality of get them before they get us at any cost. I'd classify this movie as a comedy-thriller with an edge. It will keep you laughing and you can't go wrong with Williams and Matthau.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars robin williams is hilarious in this film April 26, 2004
By A Customer
this movie is a genuine treasure to watch. sit back and enjoy one of robin william's best roles. walter matthau and jerry reed round out the cast in a twisting comedy about life, getting fired, and giving society the finger. enjoy
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Killing us with laughter September 27, 2005
By Bomojaz
Both Robin Williams and Walter Matthau lose their jobs and then meet by chance in a restaurant; while there they become victims of a robbery attempt but scare the robber away. Williams goes crazy, arms himself to the teeth, and then joins a mercenary survival war school in the woods of Vermont. The robber wants to get rid of both Williams and Matthau for fear they can identify him, only Williams challenges him to a showdown in the snow in Vermont.

It's a wonderful romp, with the understated Matthau a perfect foil for Williams's off-the-wall zaniness. The movie falters somewhat in the woods of Vermont, with the anti-vigilante message becoming overly obtrusive, but there's enough hilarity to overlook it. A very funny movie. Definitely worth a watch.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in the SNL Cast Stars Movie Era May 30, 2010
By jd
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This could be the most underrated comedy of the 80's. I love playing this for people who missed it during the 80's. It's a classic in my mind.

The scenes are consistently entertaining, memorable, and very often hilarious.

A good story, and a real good idea for a story.

Jerry Reed stands out. Robin Williams doesn't disappoint and Walter Matthau provides credibility and balance.

Excellent watch over and over comedy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Survivors October 2, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
funny, funny, sooo funny, can't watch it enough,misplaced
our last copy, gonna get another one...don't forget Jerry
Reeds caustic southern humor also...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE August 22, 2014
I've been a big fan of this film ever since I came across it in my local video store - remember those ! - back in 1990.
3 strangers lives come together - Robin Williams, Walter Matthau and Jerry Reed - when it seems they all lose their income on the same day. All 3 can be seen together in the employment office - this is one of those movies where there's alot happening in the background so you need to pay attention - after which Reed decides to go and rob the nearest diner where Williams and Matthau just happen to be. All of this leads to a short-lived love affair between Williams and firearms, which then leads to him leaving behind civilisation's 'the big cespool' and heading off into the snowy mountains to live with a bunch of other survivalists.
This isn't a perfect film by any means but the ending contains what is probably the most moving piece of acting that Robin Williams ever gave and is now all-the-more poignant following Williams' sad death.
Having realised that his survival stint has been a complete waste of time and knowing he's lost the woman who truly loved him because of it, Williams in despair removes nearly all of his clothes out in the snowy wilderness - if this film was made today this scene would be filmed in front of a green screen in a central heated Hollywood studio ! - then turns to Matthau and in a truly universal moment of 1 human being looking to another for solace, asks him what he's going to do now and for Mathau to tell him that everything is going to be alright.
Robin Williams has never been so heartbreakingly genuine and honest in this moment; it moved me when I first saw it 24 years ago and it's all the more powerful now, knowing how the great man himself sadly took his own life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MISS YOU, MAN
One of those Robin Williams movies where he goes completely bonkers and anything can happen. I saw the movie when it came out originally, and it has not lost its charm.
Published 4 days ago by Arturo A. Revelo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie, one of his best
Published 11 days ago by John Oppici
Published 13 days ago by Connie M. Wright
3.0 out of 5 stars I've definitely saw better movies with either actor in it
I've definitely saw better movies with either actor in it. Robin Williams is way over the top, and Walter Matthau seemed uninterested in his role in the movie...
Published 15 days ago by SocomGuy
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Robin Williams
This is a vintage Robin Williams performance. Mathau is great too. This is from the 80's and the world doesn't seem to have changed much. Entertaining and relevant.
Published 16 days ago by Ron & Anna Winship
3.0 out of 5 stars It had it's moments, but I expected more.
It had it's moments , but I expected more .
Published 17 days ago by Craig B.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Dated and the humor is too crude for us. Maybe a 'guy' movie?
Published 19 days ago by Ani
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
so funny
Published 20 days ago by kathi harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my all-time favorite Robin Williams films...
Published 24 days ago by Georgia M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 26 days ago by Tammy Paseur
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