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The Sunshine Boys (1975)

PG | | Comedy | 8 January 1976 (UK)
A vaudeville duo agree to reunite for a television special, but it turns out that they can't stand each other.

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Neil Simon (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Willy Clark
George Burns ... Al Lewis
Richard Benjamin ... Ben Clark
Lee Meredith ... Nurse in Sketch (Miss McIntosh)
Carol Arthur ... Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Rosetta LeNoire ... Odessa, Willy's nurse (as Rosetta Le Noire)
F. Murray Abraham ... Mechanic
Howard Hesseman ... Mr. Walsh, Commerical Director
James Cranna James Cranna ... Mr. Schaeffer, TV Director
Ron Rifkin ... T.V. Floor Manager
Jennifer Lee Pryor ... Helen Clark (as Jennifer Lee)
Fritz Feld ... Mr. Gilbert, Man at Audition
Jack Bernardi Jack Bernardi ... Man at Audition
Garn Stephens Garn Stephens ... Eddie, the Stage Manager
Santos Morales Santos Morales ... Desk Clerk
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Storyline

Lewis and Clark were famous comedians during the vaudeville era. Off-stage, though, they couldn't stand each other, and haven't spoken in over twenty years. Ben, Willy Clark's nephew, is the producer of a variety show that wants to feature a reunion of the classic duo. How will Ben convince the crotchety old comedians to put aside their differences before the big show? Written by Mike Konczewski

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For the price of a movie, you'll feel like a million!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 January 1976 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

F. Murray Abraham played an auto mechanic. Of the two films, in which Abraham appeared, in 1975, both were works by Neil Simon, the other being The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975). See more »

Goofs

George Burns says he drove in from Jersey in a 1973 Chrysler Imperial when in fact it is a 1972 model. See more »

Quotes

Ben Clark: How do you do, Mr. Lewis. I'm Ben Clark, Willy's nephew.
Al Lewis: [shaking hands] Oh?... oh! Willy's nephew Ben. Sure, hello. How are you?
Ben Clark: Fine, sir.
Al Lewis: Good, good. You're Willy's nephew Ben. How are you?
Ben Clark: Fine, sir, very good. It was nice of you to see me.
Al Lewis: Really? When was that?
Ben Clark: [after a pause] Today...
[laughing nervously]
Ben Clark: Heh, heh, it was nice of you to see me today.
Al Lewis: Certainly. Today is fine. As a matter of fact, I was expecting you today.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Muertos de risa (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Make 'Em Laugh
(uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Arranged by Conrad Salinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
With All the Sunshine Willie and Al Spread..................................
28 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Taking over roles that Jack Albertson and Sam Levene played on Broadway, Walter Matthau and George Burns play a couple of old time vaudeville comics, a team in the tradition of Joe Smith and Charles Dale who seem to have a differing outlook on life.

Walter Matthau can't stop working, the man has never learned to relax, take some time and smell the roses. He's a crotchety old cuss whose best days are behind him and his nephew and agent Richard Benjamin is finding less and less work for him.

What hurt him badly was that some 15 years earlier his partner George Burns decided to retire and spend some time with his family. A workaholic like Matthau can't comprehend it and take Burns's decision personally.

Benjamin hits on a brain storm, reunite the guys and do it on a national television special. What happens here is pretty hilarious.

The Sunshine Boys is also a sad, bittersweet story as well about old age. Matthau is on screen for most of the film, but it's Burns who got the kudos in the form of an Oscar at the ripe old age of 79.

Burns brought a bit of the personal into this film as well. As we all know he was the straight man of the wonderful comedy team of Burns&Allen who the Monty Python troop borrowed a lot from. In 1958 due to health reasons, Gracie Allen retired and George kept going right up to the age of 100. Or at least pretty close to as an active performer.

The Sunshine Boys is based on the team of Smith&Dale however and if you like The Sunshine Boys I strongly recommend you see Two Tickets to Broadway for a look at a pair of guys who were entertaining the American public at the turn of the last century. The doctor sketch that Matthau and Burns do is directly from their material.

And I do think you will like The Sunshine Boys.


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