7.4/10
2,996
70 user 26 critic

A Thousand Clowns (1965)

A middle-aged iconoclast, doggedly avoiding the tedium of employment and conventional life, faces the prospect of losing custody of his young ward.

Director:

Fred Coe

Writers:

Herb Gardner (screenplay), Herb Gardner (based on his original play)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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A fifteen year marriage dissolves, leaving both the husband and wife, and their four children, devastated. He's preoccupied with a career and a mistress, she with a career and caring for ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Parker
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jason Robards ... Murray
Barbara Harris ... Sandra
Martin Balsam ... Arnold
Gene Saks ... Leo
William Daniels ... Albert
Philip Bruns ... The Man in the Restaurant (as Phil Bruns)
John McMartin ... The Man in the Office (as John MacMartin)
Barry Gordon ... Nick Burns / Wilbur Malcome Burns / Theodore Burns / Raphael Sabatini / Dr. Morris Fishbein / Woodrow Burns / Chevrolet Burns / Big Sam Burns / Lefty Burns
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Storyline

12-year-old Nick lives with his Uncle Murray, a Mr. Micawber-like Dickensian character who keeps hoping something won't turn up. What turns up is a social worker who falls in love with Murray and a bit in love with Nick. As the child-welfare people try to force Murray to become a conventional man (the price they demand for allowing him to keep Nick), the nephew, who until now has gloried in his uncle's iconoclastic approach to life, tries to play mediator. But when he succeeds, he is alarmed by the uncle's willingness to cave in to society in order to save the relationship. Written by Warlen Bassham <wcb@zso.dec.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...IT'S A LIFT FOR THE SPIRITS See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1966 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Mil payasos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Harrell See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Balsam and Jason Robards would later appear together again in "All the President's Men" (1976). See more »

Goofs

After Leo leaves the apartment, two different cardboard cutouts of him are used, with different facial appearances. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Murray: [shouts at rows of houses] Neighbors, I have an announcement for you. I have never seen such a collection of dirty windows. Now I want to see all of you out there on the fire escape with your Mr. Clean bottles, and let's snap it up!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In opening credits: and introducing Barry Gordon as Nick. In the end credits, Gordon is credited to all the different names his character has tried: Nick Burns, Wilbur Malcome Burns, Theodore Burns, Raphael Sabatini, Dr. Morris Fishbein, Woodrow Burns, Chevrolet Burns, Big Sam Burns and Lefty Burns. In the film, however, he is called Nick, Nicky, and Nicholas. See more »

Connections

References M (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Just Before the Battle, Mother
(1864) (uncredited)
Music and lyrics George Frederick Root
In the score during the opening credits, just before associate editor and associate photograper credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I bet you didn't know comedy could be so smart & thoughtful.
18 February 2005 | by bjeffrey66See all my reviews

It's truly a shame that this film has escaped the attention of the last few generations of movie watchers -- not only have most people not seen this film, it's likely that only a small percentage of folks have ever even heard of it. I dare say that both the character Jason Robards portrays and this film as a whole are more relevant today than half of the comedies produced 5 or 10 years ago. The bottom line is this, if you're looking for great acting and smart dialogue, and are getting tired of the 'I've-just-wasted-the-last-couple-of-hours-of-my-life' feeling that comes over today's average TV viewer or cineplex visitor, then you simply must do yourself a favor and seek out this hidden gem.


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