- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 44 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: June 19, 2001
- Originally Released: 1960
- Label: MGM (Video & DVD)
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.66
- Dolby Digital Mono - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Los Angeles Times - 03/02/1990
"...A cultural event of the first importance....There is much to recommend in this movie..."
USA Today - 09/27/1996
"...Laurence Olivier delivered an Oscar-nominated performance as the seedy show-biz small-timer in this adaptation of John Osborne's play..."
Total Film - 04/01/2004
"Laurence Olivier gives a coruscating study in decline and fall."
Wall Street Journal - 01/22/2010
"[In this film] Laurence Olivier gave one of the most astonishing, terrifying performances of his career..."
Laurence Olivier shocked audiences accustomed to seeing him in Shakespeare or period romances when he joined forces with the two defining figures of Great Britain's Angry Young Man cadre, director Tony Richardson and playwright John Osborne, by starring as third-rate vaudevillian Archie Rice in the latter's lacerating play. The arrogant, hypocritical, and lecherous performer is playing out the remainder of his days leading a revue at a moribund seaside resort. In the pathetic quality of his singing, acting, and humor, the declining Archie is clearly intended by its author as a symbol of post-WWII England. Yet he still has enough energy to make life as miserable for his family as it is for him. He cajoles his son, Frank (Alan Bates), into volunteering to fight in Suez, against his will; bilks his dying father for the budget for his next show; and cheats on his alcoholic wife, Phoebe (Brenda de Banzie), with beauty contest winner Tina Lapford (Shirley Anne Field). When his daughter arrives unexpectedly, Archie is forced to face the fabric of deceit he has created to survive. Olivier leads a stellar cast in this still-unsettling film, playing the repellent Archie with memorable intensity.
This brilliant depiction of the moral, spiritual, and professional decline of a bogus entertainer and his debilitated alcoholic wife is often considered the finest of Laurence Olivier's screen performances while also being one of director Tony Richardson's best films.
Character Study |
Essential Cinema |
Substance Abuse |
- Shot at Shepperton Studios in the U.K.
- THE ENTERTAINER marked the film debut for stage actress Joan Plowright, who later married costar Laurence Olivier. The couple remained together until Olivier's death in 1989.