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Withnail and I

53 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Studio: Alliance Films
  • Release Date: Jan. 11 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,404 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

A corrosively funny, semiautobiographical account by writer-director Bruce Robinson (How to Get Ahead in Advertising) about a couple of destitute roommates, young actors living in drunken squalor in 1969, the twilight days of swingin' London. Withnail (the astounding Richard E. Grant in a definitive performance) is a kind of depraved, modern-day Oscar Wilde, but without the money or the manners. The "I" of the title is the younger and more impressionable Marwood (Paul McGann), who stands somewhat in awe of his scandalous, demented, hysterical pal. While on a miserable holiday in the bitterly cold and damp countryside, they stay with wealthy, corpulent "Uncle Monty" (Richard Griffiths), who takes quite a liking to young Marwood, much to his consternation. Though not well known in the United States, Withnail & I has a major cult following in England. It's uproariously funny in a peculiarly British way, and the acting is absolutely scintillating. (Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert said Griffiths's was the best performance by an actor in a British film since Denholm Elliott in A Room with a View.) This one's a real treat for the caustic at heart. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By the wizard of uz on March 3 2004
Format: DVD
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. You either get it or you don't.
I love it.
(Though obviously not as much as Withnail cultists who have seen the film 20 plus times)
Ok. Here's the story:
Two chronically and hopelessly unemployed actors, Withnail (Richard Grant) and "I" (Paul Mc Gann) are living in absolute squalor in the London of the late 60's.
Between booze, cursing their agents, and wonderfully witty banter they fight to keep their spirits up, but it's a losing battle.
They come to the conclusion that they must escape The City to the countryside, even if only for a short while.
Withnail arranges matters by sponging from his uncle, Monty, (Richard Griffiths) a raving homosexual queen who is also obviously insane.
Needess to say the vacation turns out to be somewhat less than idyllic.
But the real joy of watching this film does not come from the plot. The comedic situations arise out of the wonderfully nutty yet completely believable characters--perfectly acted by the cast. You really feel you've met these people, a sense of deja vu, especially if you were around in the late 60's.
As to the dialogue, to call it brilliant is not high enough praise, This is one of the most quotable films, ever.
At the end, Withnail, who clearly wants to die, delivers Hamlet's 'What a piece of work is man' speech. It's a touching moment in a comedy. Chaplin himself couldn't have made it more poignant.
A cult classic in Europe, virtually unknown in the U.S.
Don't miss out on this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Perpetual Pistachios on 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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Format: DVD
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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