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King of Comedy [VHS]

50 customer reviews

Dispatched from and sold by funkybunnie.
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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004S317
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,350 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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P V Oldham on 25 July 2004
Format: DVD
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 May 2000
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Lowe on 27 April 2004
Format: DVD
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lou Knee on 29 July 2007
Format: DVD
Almost prophetic tale of society's dangerous obsession with celebrity and the media's manipulation of it. What an insightful film this was/is by that gifted film maker. Very dark satire on the media circus beautifully underdirected by Scorcese, equally underplayed by DeNiro. Subtlety is the key word here, as the director teases out the dark humour of a whacky attempt by a likable misfit to live out his dream of being 'the king of comedy'. DeNiro should at least have been nominated for this one, for me it's his most accomplished performance. Very differently played to his Taxi Driver role, he allows us to really sympathise with his character here, as loopy as he is. Great plot, great casting - Jerry Lewis was a revelation in a straight role as a hugely successful, but dissatisfied and privately miserable TV comedian - the film doesn't miss a trick in making a statement about celebrity in any way it can. In fact Langford is almost as strange a character as Pupkin, in his rather removed and cynical persona. This is just a great project from beginning to end, and possibly the last of this director/actor partnership's great collaborations, for me anyway, as I lost interest in their obsession with the mob type ultra violence which everyone else seemed to get off on. This is much better stuff.
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