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King of Comedy [VHS]

Robert De Niro , Jerry Lewis , Martin Scorsese    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Sandra Bernhard, Ed Herlihy
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Paul D. Zimmerman
  • Producers: Arnon Milchan, Robert F. Colesberry, Robert Greenhut
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 3 April 2000
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004S317
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,850 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description


The King of Comedy, which flopped at the box office, is actually a gem waiting to be rediscovered. Like A Face in the Crowd (a not-so-distant cousin to this film), Network, and The Truman Show, its target is show business--specifically the burning desire to become famous or be near the famous, no matter what. Robert De Niro plays the emotionally unstable, horrendously untalented Rupert Pupkin, a wannabe Vegas-style comedian. His fantasies are egged-on by Marsha, a talk-show groupie (brilliantly played by Sandra Bernhard) who hatches a devious, sure-to-backfire plan. Jerry Lewis is terrific in the straight role as the Johnny Carson-like talk-show host Jerry Langford. De Niro's performance as the obsessive Pupkin is among his finest (which is saying a lot) and he never tries to make the character likable in any way. Because there's no hero and no-one to root for, and because at times the film insists we get a little too close and personal with Pupkin, some will be put off. Yet it's one of Scorsese's most original and fascinating films, giving viewers much to consider on the subject of celebrity. Its inevitable climax is clever and quietly horrific. --Christopher J Jarmick

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the king of black comedy 25 July 2004
This has to be one of the sharpest, darkest and most subtle comedies ever made. It is hilarious, it has brilliant performances all round and has a great satirical statement to make.
Robert De Niro brilliantly portrays the delusional slightly creepy (but curiously loveable) loser Rupert Pupkin with dreams of becoming the 'king of comedy'. He badgers his hero, chatshow host Jerry Langford incessantly after a chance meeting believing that he and the celebrity have a friendship. His delusions are eventually shattered when he realises that Langford isn't the funnyman and the hero he thought he was, but a miserable and aggravated man who hates his fans. What results is a kidnapping where he holds Langford and demands a small slot on langford's chatshow as ransom.
The film cleverly shows us societies pathetic obsession with the media and the celebrity and strips it down and condemns it to fallacy. Rupert Pupkin is hilarious at times- as a comedian and in real life- in his appearence, his bumbling harmlessness and not so convincing act as a threatening kidnapper, whilst at other times he seems quite unnerving- his obsessions and his fantasy world we are left to construe are slightly discomforting. Jerry Lewis is dynamite as the old crettenous chatshow host who hates the world around him.
Scorsese has created a first rate, highly intelligent comedy which depicts obsession, delusion, and the whole fallacy of the media in a little, unpretentious gem of a movie. It is also a great 'New York' film, some of the shots of the streets of NYC really give the film its gloomy, brooding and serious tone. This is easily one of De Niro's greatest films, it shows he can be very funny and gives him another chance to play the 'antihero' again (like in Taxi Driver). One of my all time favourite films- check out the comedy routine at the end, it's hilarious!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen!!! 27 April 2004
I do agree with the Amazon review in that the character of Rupert isportrayed in such a way that you're forced to root for him despite thefact that he's clearly an anti-hero. However, it is an excellent blackcomedy. Sandra Berhard is excellently manic. Jerry Lewis gives theperformance of his life (in my opinion) as the comedian / chatshow hostwho is ultimately an empty shell of a man. Some of The Clash are in it too(try and spot them in a street scene). Finally, DeNiro manages to play thelead role fairly straight (but brilliantly), allowing the actualsituations and the dialogue to be funny. His final stand-up routine isn'tvery funny, but you can't help but warm to Rupert as he did (kind of)acheive his aim.
One question remains: What about Scorcese's otheroverlooked comedy gem "After Hours"?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT MOVIE - TOTALLY UNFORGETTABLE ! 12 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
With this film, Scorsese and De Niro have struck a perfect balance : on the one hand, De Niro builds up Rupert Pupkin as a totally convincing three dimensional character; on the other, Scorsese never romanticises or gloryfies him, always keeping him in check. Scorsese is just as scathing about his main character as he is with just about everyone else in the film. The effect of this is that we understand Rupert's plight, we sympathise, and in a bizarre way, we want him to succeed. Yet at the same time, we realise that he's actually quite pathetic (in the true sense of the word). He's a man who wants to go straight to the top without working for it. This film is as much a comment on the system that allows (talentless) people to do this in the entertainment business as it is about this individual. Jerry Lewis is superb as Jerry Langford, the King of Comedy ousted by De Niro's Pretender to the Throne. One of the best stylistic devices in this film are the trips we take into Rupert's mind : a place where he regularly meets Jerry Langford, gets told how brilliant his material is, and is told to spend the weekend at Langford's country house. It is this huge difference between the fantasy world in Rupert's head and the reality of his life (he's lonely, an egotist, he still lives with his mother, his friends are mainly autograph hunters and to top it off, he's actually not that funny), it is these things that make you realise about half way through the film that the man is insane.
And yet he succeeds. At the end of the film he gets his fifteen minutes of fame. And that's all that counts. As Rupert himself says "Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!" Somehow we all know that, ironically, the reverse is true. A wondeful movie, a great performance by De Niro - playing against type - who makes Rupert Pupkin one of the quirkiest and most interesting movie characters of the last twenty years.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese's overlooked masterpiece 18 Feb 2004
While this film hasn't got as much attention in the past as Taxi Driver or Goodfellas, it is just as good; only Kundun has been more unjustly overlooked.
Autograph hunter and wannabe celebrity Rupert Pupkin (De Niro)idolises the network television chat show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis, in fine sober form). When an incident leads to a chance encounter with Langford, Rupert tells him he is an aspiring comedian, as much to get rid of him as anything else, Langford tells him to call his secretary. The reality of the situation is lost on Rupert who sees himself as a close friend of Langford and, when his attempts to get his material onto the Langford show fails, leads him to go to desperate measures.
King of Comedy is a scathing attack on the celebrity system that probably plays better in today's reality show climate than it did 20 years ago; it is one of those very rare movies that deserve the term "visionary".
This is one of those rare movies which make you laugh as well as make you uncomfortable; in its own way it is probably a more unsettling film than Taxi Driver because you never know how you are meant to react as a viewer; various parts of the film blur the line between reality and fantasy, and the ending is extremely ambiguous.
If you like black comedies, masterful direction, and want to know why De Niro is considered one of the greatest actors then this is definitely a film for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say????
Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, There isn't much more that needs to be said here, a great and occasionally funny movie
Published 2 days ago by G. Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars still a real gem
excellent and funny, saw it years ago, now seen it again and can't fault it at all. Just a superb movie
Published 4 days ago by M G Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie
Great movie, wanted it for my collection as had not seen it for over 20 years. Robert De Niro is the greatest
Published 1 month ago by Les
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
sad to write, one of Martin Scorsese's /Bob De Niros movies i did not really enjoy, good to c Jerry Lewis stealing film from heavy Bob
hit and miss, like Spielberg's 1941,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by chrisb
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese's Brilliant Satire On The Nature Of Fame
This 1982 black comic masterpiece directed by Martin Scorsese (based on Paul D Zimmerman's sharp screenplay) continued in the New York film-maker's vein of studies of self-obsessed... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps We Have All Been Rupert Pupkin At One Time?
It is ironic that perhaps Scorsese/De Niro's best work is not an all out violent picture but this one, The King of Comedy. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Colonel Decker
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent watch but overrated
The film is good, it is not a comedy though. All in all I find the film a bit disappointing in this respect. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Pawel Szymanski
4.0 out of 5 stars Crying On The Inside
Scorsese's most entertaining film, one of the best scripts ever written and De Niro's finest screen role (along with Raging Bull). Read more
Published 21 months ago by BoatDrinks
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful
This film is a raw dissection of human illusions. Not one if you're looking for a feel-good experience! Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2011 by William Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Did not expect that!!!
I bought this film on a whim. I had seen all of Scorsese's major works, such as Raging Bull, Goodfellas, etc, so I decided to branch out into the directors lesser known work. Read more
Published on 17 Dec 2010 by West - Side Glory
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