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The King of Comedy (1982)

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Rupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Director:

Martin Scorsese
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Popularity
172 ( 94)
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Rupert Pupkin
Jerry Lewis ... Jerry Langford
Diahnne Abbott ... Rita Keane
Sandra Bernhard ... Masha
Ed Herlihy Ed Herlihy ... Ed Herlihy
Lou Brown Lou Brown ... Band Leader
Loretta Tupper Loretta Tupper ... Stage Door Fan
Peter Potulski Peter Potulski ... Stage Door Fan
Vinnie Gonzales Vinnie Gonzales ... Stage Door Fan
Whitey Ryan Whitey Ryan ... Stage Door Guard
Doc Lawless Doc Lawless ... Chauffeur
Marta Heflin ... Young Girl
Katherine Wallach Katherine Wallach ... Autograph Seeker
Charles Kaleina Charles Kaleina ... Autograph Seeker
Richard Baratz Richard Baratz ... Caricaturist
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Storyline

Rupert Pupkin is obsessed with becoming a comedy great. However, when he confronts his idol, talk show host Jerry Langford, with a plea to perform on the Jerry's show, he is only given the run-around. He does not give up, however, but persists in stalking Jerry until he gets what he wants. Eventually he must team up with his psychotic Langford-obsessed friend Masha to kidnap the talk show host in hopes of finally getting to perform his stand-up routine. Written by Andrew Hyatt <dres@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

. . and when it's all over one of them won't be laughing See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1982 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

The King of Comedy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$137,624, 21 February 1983

Gross USA:

$2,536,242

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,536,242
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro wrote Martin Scorsese a letter before filming expressing his reluctance to the casting of Jerry Lewis as Langford, feeling Lewis might be tempted to ham it up, and not be able to deliver a believable dramatic performance. Martin Scorsese argued that Lewis' own experience as an old-school Borscht Belt and Catskills-based comedian, and the pathos that lied within his manic film comic persona would help him understand and portray the angst of Jerry Langford. Scorsese ultimately proved to be correct, as Lewis received plenty of accolades and critical acclaim for his remarkably understated, restrained performance. See more »

Goofs

When Jerry Langford is kidnapped, he enters the car left leg first. From the inside view he enters head first. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ed Herlihy: And now, from New York, The Jerry Langford Show! With Jerry's guests Tony Randall, Richard Dreyfuss, Rodney Dangerfield, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lou Brown and the orchestra, and little old me Ed Herlihy. And now say hello to Jerry!
See more »

Connections

References Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Wonderful Remark
Written by Van Morrison
Performed by Van Morrison
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Darkly, Starkly Funny
22 March 2004 | by rwd4evrSee all my reviews

Saw it first time late at night and never thought about sleeping again for a couple of days.

DeNiro nails perfectly the unflappable and determined comic wannabe. We watch him throughout the whole film, wondering, Is he really just that sure of himself, or is he dangerously deranged? That question will take you through right to the end. Between Rupert, whose basement (in his mother's house) is decorated like a comedy club, and his oddball chum (S.Bernhard), there's considerable pathos. Jerry Lewis gives a lot of insight into the real person behind his easygoing public persona.

Part of what makes this movie so compelling is Scorsese's decision to keep the musical score to a minimum. Music could force the viewer to a conclusion that isn't entirely accurate. Listening to Rupert's endless exchanges Jerry, and everyone who stands in his way -- as is, without musical coloring -- enhances the "squirm factor."

Anyone who has been in the uncomfortable position of coming to regret being nice to someone will relate to this movie. It's a must-see, and despite being more than 20 years old now, it is not a bit dated.

/r


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