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Withnail and I

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 13.99
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Withnail and I + The History Boys
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Product Description


Set in 1969, the year in which the hippy dreams of so many young Englishmen went sour, 1986's Bruce Robinson's Withnail and I is an enduring British cult. Fellow enthusiasts cry immortal phrases from the endlessly brilliant script to one another like mating calls; "Scrubbers!", "We want the finest wines known to humanity and we want them now!" Withnail is played by the emaciated but defiantly effete Richard E Grant, "I" (i.e., Marwood) by Paul McGann. Out-of-work actors living in desperate penury in a rancid London flat, their lives are a continual struggle to keep warm, alive and in Marwood's case sane, until the pubs open. A sojourn in the country cottage of Withnail's gay Uncle Monty only redoubles their privations--they have to kill a live chicken to eat. The arrival of Monty spells further misery for Marwood as he must fend off his attentions. This borderline homophobic interlude apart, Withnail and I is a delight, enhanced by an aimless but appallingly eventful plot. Popular among students, it strikes a chord with anyone who has undergone a period of debauchery and impoverished squalor prior to finding their way onto life's straight and narrow.--David Stubbs

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wine-chugging widescreen excellence! Feb. 28 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is in response to kpb's question of whether this dvd is widescreen or fullscreen. I took the chance and ordered this without knowing whether it would end up being fullscreen or widescreen, and I was extremely relieved to find that it's widescreen! I love this movie. Excellent cast who play unforgettable quirky characters who deliver the best of lines. Give it a chance and you'll see why it's considered a cult classic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyably eccentric black comedy July 19 2004
Written and Directed by Bruce Robinson (who would later go on to make the Uma Thurman movie JENNIFER 8) WITHNAIL & I is a semi-autobiographical black comedy about two struggling actors in Camdenton London during the last months of the 60s. The future is looking rather bleak for Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and I (Paul McGann). Both are out of work and in the midst of drug and alcohol problems. After hitting rock bottom the pair decide to take a peaceful vacation in the country and plan on how to re-establish some direction in their lives before the new decade begins.
However their stay in the country turns out to be anything but tranquil when the boorish, self absorbed Withnail manages to bring out the hostilities of the locals. Both reduced to the status of village pariahs, the unwelcome duo find themselves confined to the tiny cottage where they are forced to burn their own furniture to stay warm, and literally shooting fish in order to survive.
Though the movie is a bit plodding and self-important at times; WITHNAIL & I is nonetheless an absorbing and well-acted low key cult item that is worth a look for curiosity's sake. (Not something I'll have to point out to those people have seen the movie more than a dozen times! I've only seen it once.) The highlight of the movie for me is the scene in which Withnail concocts a novel way to get let off a drink driving charge.
The movie was Produced by the late George Harrison, and Ringo Starr also appears in the credits as "Richard Starkey M.B.E". Sadly, the DVD I watched didn't have any bonus features.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Masterpiece! March 4 2004
Withnail and I is one of those movies that you'd either love or hate. Fortunately, there's a better chance of you falling in love with the film---and no wonder why, thanks to the characters and the great dialogue.
While it will resemble Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (including Marwood's living quarters, messy enough to rival Hunter S. Thompson's hotel suites!), the film itself is more about two drug addicts (and not to mention jobless actors) who gets away from the pessismistic atmosphere of London---and drugs---by moving into a cottage in that wonderful English countryside, where it's as cold as Greenland and as sunny as England can get (read: RAINY) in order to "rejuvenate". And as one can guess, what they really do is far from rejuvenation.
The cast themselves are excellent, from our anxiety-ridden narrator, Marwood, who frequently gets paranoid about things, to the main star of the film, Withnail, an alcholic with a tendency to say insulting things... as well as to recite a few lines of Hamlet, along with a bottle of booze, of course. Also of notable mention is Richard Griffiths, who plays the delightful role of Withnail's old-fashioned, homosexual uncle who lends to our to characters; and Ralph Brown, who plays drug dealer Danny---picture your stereotypical American "Dude", and then add in a British accent, holding the infamous "Camberwell Carrot", a collection of cigarettes rolled into one giant one!
A fascinating, exceptionally funny (in a British sense, of course!), and ultimately engaging, if unconventional, film, filled with outstanding perfomances, and great (if at times insulting, which makes it even greater) dialogue. A definite cult masterpiece, and thoroughly British, too.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddball luvvie's classic
It's a weird little cult film, but fun for anybody who has spent time around actors and/or residents of the British countryside. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Winefred's well
1.0 out of 5 stars WITHNAIL AND I
Did not enjoy it at all. Even the great Richard Griffiths could not salvage what was a pretty sordid story
Published 16 months ago by Marjory d. Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen? or "fullscreen"? I won't buy it until I know.
I WANT to buy this product, but a vital piece of information is missing: is this widescreen format or the wretched "fullscreen" pan-and-scan version? Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2010 by kpb
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
I'll have to watch again, I missed some of the dialogue because of the English accents.
Published on June 20 2009 by Mrs. Mountainside
5.0 out of 5 stars GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN!!!
I dunno, folks - you just gotta love England, eh? LOL...
Published on June 8 2004 by Steve Sweeney-Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Drinking movie for Monty Python Fans
If you like dry English humor, as I do, you will LOVE this flick. Great movie to drink to you ponce. If you draw a Queen at Uncle Monty's you're doomed. See it, it's great. Read more
Published on May 1 2004 by Stephen Sincoskie
5.0 out of 5 stars I WILL NEVER PLAY THE DANE !
This is one of the best British comedies of all time, however many people are underwhelmed upon seeing it, and can't understand what the fuss is all about. Read more
Published on March 3 2004 by the wizard of uz
5.0 out of 5 stars You should NEVER mix your drinks...
This absolutely brilliant 1987 film was an instant cult hit in its native England and has slowly gained devotees on this side of the pond. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by D. Hartley
5.0 out of 5 stars Drinking, swearing and the most quotable lines ever...
...is what Withnail & I is all about. We follow the self-destructive Withnail on a never-ending bender of booze and drugs, as 'I' (Marwood) gets dragged along for the ride. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Richard Gay
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
This film is a masterpiece. The script and dialogue are extremely well written and both lead actors give outstanding performances. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2003 by OwenLondon
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