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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the king of black comedy
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...
Published on 25 July 2004 by P V Oldham

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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, do some of the top directors have probs with comedy ?, afraid slowly lose interest whether he becomes a success or not, sad could have been a lot better./funnier.
at clb
Published 1 month ago by chrisb


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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
By 
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
This review is from: King of Comedy [VHS] (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prince of Scorcese's Movies, 29 July 2007
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully complex, 22 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The King Of Comedy [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A great film can be noted by the way it does not necessarily have to fit into a certain genre. It is in turns disturbing, hilarious and poignant - the only thing you could call it, i suppose, is a black comedy. It takes two loathsome, arrogant individuals - a wannabe and a real T.V. show host - and rips them apart on screen. Lewis and De Niro make a fine combination, sparking off each other when, essentially, they are made of the same stuff. They both put in powerful, complex performances - far deeper than the characters merely being irritating or just so-stupid-they're-funny. There are parts when Pupkin is so creepy he actually makes your skin crawl, and Langford is so slick he makes you feel seedy just watching him. Not only is it a fully developed character study, it is also a surreal, symbolic story on fame and the greed that lusts after it. Superb acting, a tight script and imaginative visuals make this film uncomfortable viewing as it hits home so much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the most underated film of the 80's, 15 May 2000
This review is from: The King Of Comedy [VHS] (VHS Tape)
After first watching this, I couldn't make my mind up whether this was brilliant or appalling. It's such an intriguing movie, being De Niro's first attempt at comedy, if you can call it that. After the second viewing I was sure that this was one of De Niro's best performances, in which he must have researched his character more than ever before. This film was never going to be a success at the box office and almost frove scorcese's career as a result. American filmgoers were always going to find it difficult to understand the dry humour of the script, but today the film is enjoying a renaissance amongst the more cultured filmgoers of Europe
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful, 23 Jan 2011
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This film is a raw dissection of human illusions. Not one if you're looking for a feel-good experience! Beautifully juxtaposing the life of a star with a wannabe, showing the underside of both. It's pathetic and funny, and I love the NYC backdrop. It's another of those wonderful arthouse films that came out of America in the Seventies and early Eighties.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific film, 20 Jan 2007
This is one those masterpieces that don't get enough recognition. Maybe this one is too "weird" and dark to be considered funny enough or serious enough. Sure this movie is a bit oddball but I still love this one. De Niro's performance is quite funny and yes disturbing. Our hero of this movie might be little too unbalanced (in a nonlikeble way)to be likeble, but somehow this one wins me over. In my opinion, this one ranks with raging bull, taxi driver and goodfellas as the best of Scorsese movies. May need more than one viewing to win you over. And oh yes, Jerry Lewis is great in this film. It's not a comedic role, but shows his talent as a serious actor also.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of it's time, 5 July 2006
By 
jbezzo "jbezzo" (Cumbria) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
When the King of Comedy was released in the early 80's reality TV had yet to be concieved. Which is precisely why it bombed at the box office. Only now, in an era when you can't switch channels without seeing another group of talentless, dysfunctional losers selling their dignity in the pursuit of fame, does the character of Rupert Pupkin strike such a resonant chord. DeNiro, plays Pupkin - a delusional wannabe comic who believes that his is a talent that deserves primetime exposure, and to that end kidnaps talkshow host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) in order to gain his fifteen minutes of fame. The darkness and subtlety of the movie was lost on audiences at the time - unsure of how to take a film whose title suggests a comedy when in fact it was anything but. As the film closes, Rupert does become famous in the Z list sense of the word, a damning indictment that paved the way for the Big Brother losers who would follow nearly two decades later. A very under-rated film and one which would be critically acclaimed were it released to day.
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The King Of Comedy [VHS]
The King Of Comedy [VHS] by Martin Scorsese (VHS Tape - 2002)
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