Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Arthur is a terrifically engaging, high-spirited screwball comedy about Arthur's more or less accidental salvation, largely through the love of a good, very poor but equally daffy young woman named Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli).
You might be tempted to think that Arthur would be a bore, because it is about a drunk who is always trying to tell you stories. You would be right if Arthur were a party and you were attending it. But Arthur is a movie. And so its drunk, unlike real drunks, is more entertaining, more witty, more human, and more poignant than you are. He embodies, in fact, all the wonderful human qualities that drunks fondly, mistakenly believe the booze brings out in them.
A rich man, perpetually tiddly from drink, gets incompetent self into various muddles; unflappable gentleman's gentleman gets him out. It has always been an excellent joke, and Writer-Director Gordon has added a dash of sentiment to their relationship, trusting Sir John's expertise to keep things taut and tart, which he does admirably.
Washington Post
Arthur is one of those rare contemporary entertainments that can be used to contradict people who habitually complain, "They don't make 'em like they used to!" This time they have. [17 July 1981, p.B1]
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Arthur constantly flirts with the trite and dallies with the excessive. But it goes steady with neither, and so makes for a very pleasant companion on a warm summer eve. [17 July 1981]
The highly polished production is well paced and imaginatively directed, although the happy union of prince and pauper is harder to swallow in 1981 than it would have been in 1931, when cinematic escapism brought relief to depression-era audiences.
While Dudley's booze-sodden antics tire after a while, there's relief in the form of John Gielgud as the old-fashioned English butler with a nice line in four-letter words, and a return to the screen from Liza Minelli, who plays the waitress Arthur falls in love with.
Arthur is not the best comedy of the season, which is a pity because it has the best comic team--Dudley Moore as a childish, perpetually soused millionaire named Arthur Bach and John Gielgud as his snobbish, reprimanding and adoring valet, Hobson. [27 July 1981, p.75]
So little care has gone into the characterizations, the structure, and the situations that the film merely feints at significant comedy.
Time Out London
One-joke comedy which indulges Moore's perpetual drunk act as his wastrel playboy attempts to mend his ways in order to get his hands on an inheritance and a blushing bride.

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