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Withnail and I (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown, Michael Elphick
  • Directors: Bruce Robinson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JH9D
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Withnail and I (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Uncut widescreen version, supervised by director of photography Peter Hannan
  • Rare pre-production photos by Ralph Steadman
  • Limited-edition collectible poster of the original film art by Ralph Steadman

Editorial Reviews

London. The 60s. Two unemployed actors-acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden "I" (Paul McGann)-drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail's Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they've gone on holiday by mistake when their wits-and friendship-are sorely tested by violent downpours, less-than-hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film, The Criterion Collection is proud to present Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical cult favorite in its complete and uncut version.

Customer Reviews

I have seen it numerous times since and rank it as one of the best films I have ever seen.
R. Bruce
This film is simply superb and is one of the few films you can and will watch again and again with it getting funnier each time.
"gdniknak"
Beneath all the drugs, alcohol, and cursing; Withnail and I also manages to touch on universal themes, like friendship.
Joshua Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on August 2, 2001
Format: DVD
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 By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on July 19, 2001
Format: DVD
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 By M. F. Woodcock on April 15, 2007
Format: DVD
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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Withnail and I blu-ray: import ($$$) vs domestic (cheap!)
I haven't seen the Blu-ray yet, but if nothing else, we at least finally have an anamorphic transfer. Blu-ray.com didn't give it a glowing review, but they said it's still a big improvement over the Criterion DVD I have. Since it's so cheap, I'll probably spring for the upgrade one of these days.
Jun 23, 2011 by Dan Watkins |  See all 3 posts
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