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Withnail and I

Richard E. Grant , Paul McGann , Bruce Robinson  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown
  • Directors: Bruce Robinson
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Import
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VI9CI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,062 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My thumbs have gone weird." August 2, 2001
Somewhere in the tenebrous recesses of our souls is the saving ability to laugh in recognition at our most forlorn circumstances. The funniest films mine this trove of despairing exigencies in an urgent, played-for-real mode. And none do it better than WITHNAIL & I, now available in a superb uncut version on DVD.

Bruce Robinson, the sometime actor and screenwriter ("The Killing Fields"), made his 1986 directorial debut with his semi-autobiographical screenplay that is widely considered the greatest neglected comedy of all time. The slender plot is simple. Flatmates Richard E. Grant (Withnail) and Paul McGann (& I) are two stoned, hungry, broke, and out-of-work actors wallowing in self-made squalor. When they get an opportunity to spend a weekend in the country cottage of Withnail's three hundred pound Uncle Montague, they go, hoping to "rejuvenate." What ensues is an extraordinarily deranged weekend of drunken delusion and distraught discovery that you will never forget. To reveal any more story details would be a gross disservice to those who have not yet found this wonderfully twisted, honest and perfect film.

Richard Griffiths is unsettling as the campy, dissolute predator cousin Montague and Ralph Brown is spot-on as Danny, the slow-talking, menacing but philosophical dope dealer. Hard to believe this was Richard E. Grant's first film. Even harder to believe is that he is a non-drinker who doesn't smoke.

Perfectly cast, nearly every spoken line is unfiltered emotional truth and most are quotable -- especially the caustic diatribes of drunken, acerbic Grant. And the scenes themselves are brilliant set-pieces that unfold like diamonds in the rough being cut to gem-stone perfection.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite films of all time July 19, 2001
Criterion has done a wonderful job with this DVD release of WITHNAIL & I. The picture looks sharp, the sound is clear, and the extras are a lot of fun. The biggest difference for me was that the only video version of this film I owned was the full-screen version that contains numerous edits. Watching this film uncut for the first time in years really pointed out how much I had been missing with the video version. Getting this DVD is definitely worth the money.
The film itself is a joy to experience. While the plot cannot be accused of being overcomplicated, this simplicity is more than made up for in the wonderful characters and brilliant dialogue (virtually none of which can be quoted in an all-ages forum such as this). Loosely narrated by Paul McGann's "I" character, this film depicts a brief period in the life of two struggling actors as they attempt to find booze, drugs and jobs in the dying days of the 1960s. The movie covers a wide spectrum from some scenes featuring the funniest lines that you'll ever hear to small touching moments that are surprisingly moving. This is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys good moviemaking.
Every character in the picture is superbly acted and written for. It's a testament to Bruce Robinson's directing skills that the characters compliment each other so well instead of clashing and overbearing the others as could so easily have happened. The secondary characters work as well as the leads and each one adds their unique flavour to the mixture. Robinson doesn't make the mistake of giving the smaller parts too much on-screen time and having them overstay their welcome. Each character says and does no more than they need to and leaves everyone wanting more.
Richard E.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just a vapid actors view of the 1960s April 15, 2007
This is not, as others have mentioned merely a vapid view of the 1960s or a drunken homoerotic frolic in an English countryside. It represents all those men and women who have battled long and hard to achieve some sort of authenticity. Withnal wants to act in something worth while, 'I' wants to do the same but has much more class and is not locked into a decaying and fluid so called post modern world, represented by collapsing buildings they both visit and live in, decayed old pubs inhabited by violent drunken louts who want to hurt and maim in their pain of loss. Then there is their old Jaguar one eye one window wiper and two very drunk survivors. This is a meditation on the qualities of past values and modern chaos. The end leaves one sad and uncomfortable as Withnal speaks from Shakespeare 'what a piece of work is man', the irony is almost too hard to bear as Withnal speaks to a wolf behind the zoo bars and as rain upon rain washes away the old world. This a film everyone should watch and is for anyone who wonders about the old, the nostalgia for the past and the new modern and careless world of today. The wolf pacing in front of the zoo bars mirrors the human pacing outside the fence, both are locked into their worlds. Withnal is beautiful in his aloneness and 'I' works to represent those that can make transitions from old values to new worlds, but does he lose something in the process? The musis is also fantastic and I wish I could buy and album of the music, the initial saxaphone rendition of a whiter shade of pale is beyond beautiful. Watch it at least 10 times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best films I have ever seen!!
Published 10 days ago by Odette Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Desperately impoverished and utterly lovable thespians.
Mastery of tone and milieu is always impressive, especially in the cause of laughs. And there are plenty in this classic. Fear not the rotund uncle, he's gentle... Read more
Published 1 month ago by kormac66
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
gift for son
Published 1 month ago by jwright
3.0 out of 5 stars A Technical Bust Out.
It seems that the audio portion needs constant tweaking from one extreme to another while watching. An inferior product demanding far too much work just to look at. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars The bitter end of the Sixties
One of the great overlooked comedies of the Eighties, set during the bitter end of the Sixties. Two unemployed actors in a decaying flat in a decaying part of London talk a wealthy... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily Hilarious
This endlessly quotable, drunken odyssey of two out of work actors and their shenanigans is also endlessly watchable. I see my self popping this baby in about twice a month. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeremy Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars I DEMAND TO HAVE SOME BOOZE
There are few films that manage to deliver consistent, hearty laughs, be eternally quotable, but also be driven by an emotional core that is honest and sincere in a way that few... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stewart Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest films ever.
A delightfully modern metaphor of young adult life as reflected in English society's dull march out of post-war hedonism. Scrubbers! Scrubbers!
Published 4 months ago by HMIV
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite movie of all time
This is definitely my favorite movie of all time... i've seen it countless times and forced friends to watch it too, though not all found it to be great. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Wquilliam
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
A film I had seen on lists, but never got to see for myself. I wish I had seen it years ago - I would probably be even more impressed but there's been so many types like this... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nathan Gibson
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