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1981 comedy starring Dudley Moore, John Geilgud and Liza Minnelli

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One of the very best romantic comedies of the 1980's.

  • Dec 30, 2009

Recently, I watched the 1981 romantic comedy "Arthur" for the first time in a long time.  I discovered that nearly three decades after its initial release this film has not lost its any of its charm.  Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is a hapless millionaire playboy who is rarely sober and seems entirely incapable of doing anything for himself.  Lucky for him that his trusted valet Hobson (John Gielgud) is usually around and looking out for his interests.  Sadly, Arthur is a young man with no goals and no ambition.  And to make matters worse his family has arranged for Arthur marry to a wealthy socialite named Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry).  The only problem is that Arthur has no feelings at all for this girl and his family has threatened to cut off his inheritance if he refuses to go along.  It's no wonder that Arthur is resorting more and more to the bottle for comfort.

Then one day during one of his frequent and frivilous shopping excursions downtown Arthur witnesses an event that would change his life forever. An attractive young working girl named Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli) has been nabbed for shoplifting.  Seeing her predicament Arthur comes to her rescue by pretending that she was with him.  It is quite apparent that in just the course of a few short minutes our hero has fallen head over heels for this young lady.  And who could blame him?  As I recall I was so taken with Liza Minnelli in her role of Linda that I wanted to step right into the movie and marry her myself!   For the first time in his life Arthur is in love and Linda views Arthur as her knight in shining armor.  But hold on!   Will Arthur renounce the family fortune to marry Linda or will he cave in and submit to his father's wishes and marry Susan?  The fact is that there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here.  It is this dilemma that "Arthur" is all about and it makes for both a touching and hilarious motion picture. 

"Arthur" was a huge hit at the box office back in 1981 earning Warner Brothers in the neighborhood of $82 millionDudley Moore did a workmanlike job in the role of Arthur Bach and was nominated for an Academy Award.  But  I particularly enjoyed the work of Liza Minnelli and John Gielgud who both turned in unforgettable performances.  In fact, Gielgud won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  In addition, the Burt Bacharach/Peter Allen tune "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" sung by Christopher Cross won the Academy Award for best song and ranked among the top singles for 1981.  Recently, I discovered that plans are afoot to do a remake of "Arthur".  Bad idea.  It is doubtful that you could ever recreate the magic that you will find in the original. "Arthur" remains one of my 20 or so favorite movies of all-time. Don't mess with it!     Very highly recommended! 

One of the very best romantic comedies of the 1980's. One of the very best romantic comedies of the 1980's. One of the very best romantic comedies of the 1980's. One of the very best romantic comedies of the 1980's.

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December 30, 2009
I'm so glad you wrote this Paul, as it's one of my favorite movies of all time. I own it and watch it when I want a good laugh. What makes this movie so wonderful is that all of the characters are so memorable- from the stars themselves straight down to the cops and the lady who pokes fun at Dudley in the drugstore scene. It also has a good plot and many morals to the story. Unfortunately, the writer passed away at an early age, shortly after this film was made, so we'll never see the likes of this again. No remake could ever hold a candle to this film. The dialogue is well-thought out and there's not enough good writers in Hollyood these days. The gentlemen who wrote Arthur had a lot of soul, knows a lot about human characteristics and how to touch an audience to the very core of who they are.
December 30, 2009
Definitely a classic.
More Arthur (Original 1981 movie) reviews
review by . April 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     How can you like a bumbling, man-child drunk such as Arthur? I too asked myself the same question. But then again, I considered the opposing question: How can you not? I sat down to watch the original "Arthur" film with relatively high expectations. I knew this thing was going to be promising, entertaining, funny, and 80's-cool in style. And it was, but it's also more than I bargained for. "Arthur" is a fun romp. It's a comedy, it's a drama, and it's a …
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2009
One of my all time favs- ARTHUR- starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli- unforgettable characters, great writing, best love story.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this movie


The ads for Arthur suggested that this was an obnoxious film about an obnoxious man, an eternally drunken millionaire indulging his every whim. Instead, Arthur (Dudley Moore) is a sweet, somewhat pathetic character whose millions have left him lonely and with no motivation in life. When the film opens, Arthur is on the threshold of an arranged marriage with simpering socialite Jill Eikenberry, whom he does not love. Everyone expects Arthur to behave himself, but nobody truly cares for his well-being, with the exception of father-figure butler John Gielgud (who won an Oscar for his performance) and blue-collar shoplifter Liza Minnelli. Arthur would prefer to marry the lowly Minnelli, but his iron-willed grandmother (Geraldine Fitzgerald) threatens to pull the plug on his huge inheritance if he doesn't honor his position in life and go through with his marriage to Eikenberry. A sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, followed in 1988. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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