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23 of 23 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

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No star review
I object to having to give this one star. Absolutely dreadful. I managed half way through. One hour of my life that I won't get back. Aimless, not at all funny. A waste of the talents invoved.
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the king of black comedy, 25 July 2004
This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (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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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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rupert Pupkin, ladies and gentlemen!!!, 27 April 2004
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This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prince of Scorcese's Movies, 29 July 2007
This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully complex, 22 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese's overlooked masterpiece, 18 Feb. 2004
This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (DVD)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars the most underated film of the 80's, 15 May 2000
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 review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (DVD)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (DVD)
I Write this not as a stand alone review more as a response to an article I stumbled across online. The article was about Martin Scorsese's career. As a huge fan of Scorsese I was intrigued, I read through it and it was a very typical article with no real variation. However the writer states that he feels Scorsese's 1983 film the King of Comedy is a weak link within his portfolio of work.

I feel that it is a criminally underrated film, I am aware that it was not successful upon release and has since been highly regarded by many critics it still remains anonymous to the general movie going public. The film may not have been a hit when released because the message it gives across was perhaps ahead of its time, that our modern culture is unnaturally obsessed with the idea of 'Celebrity' so much so that it has become a sickness.

The film centres around Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) an aspiring comedian who has become fixated with the idea of becoming the next Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). A chance meeting between the pair when Pupkin manages to invade Jerry's limousine helping him escape autograph hunters enhances Pupkin's obsession. This is the audience's first look into how impaired Rupert actually is, not only is Langford incredible irritated and uncomfortable at being harassed he clearly is fed up with all the fans who want his help to succeed. After this meeting Rupert steps up his pursuit of fame by hounding Langford's office trying to get a booking for Jerry's television show.

The film has many trademarks of a Scorsese film for instance the main character is a troubled loner which offers similarities to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. It was an interesting career choice for De Niro to step away from the roles of tough angry men to take on such a different approach. He executes the character in superb fashion, making the audience kind of root for him despite him definitely not being the hero of the piece.

As the story moves onwards Rupert becomes tired of being constantly rejected and hatches a plan with another mentally unbalanced person who shares his obsession of Langford. The character of Martha is an interesting one, she does not desire fame to speak but longs closeness to Langford. She believes that he will like her as a person and craves intimacy with him. The plan succeeds and they kidnap Langford with Pupkin extorting his 15 minutes of fame, he wants a slot on the television show. He manages to achieve this however is arrested afterwards.

Many of the films subtle and dark undertones where perhaps missed by original audiences who in 1983 had not yet been subjected to endless amounts of reality television, where we have endless number of people desperate to become 'famous' by any means necessary. This strikes a particular chord of mine which is why this film is cemented as one of my favourite ever, I hope that people who skated over it first time will give it another chance which I believe it thoroughly deserves
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De Niro the King of Comedy? You'll be pleasantly surprised..., 4 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] (DVD)
I bought this film for an university assignment and although admittedly I picked it for unsophisticated reasons (it contained the word 'Comedy' in the title which made it sound a helluva lot more cheery than one of the other options: 'Misery') I must say I'm glad that I did.

De Niro turns in a fantastic performance. His Rupert Pupkin is both endearing yet simultaneously a bit too clingy. He has a worthy adversary in Jerry Langford, a character to who I am sure Lewis can relate - in fact, he even directed one of the extras in a sequence that mirrored an incident from his own life (for all you trivia fans, its the bit where the old lady approaches him on the street). However Lewis' suggestion that Pupkin should end up killed failed to materialise thus providing viewers with one of the most ambiguous endings since... well... Scorsese's last picture Taxi Driver.

This film that satires our obsession with celebrities, perfectly captures people's desire to get their fifteen minutes of fame and culminates in De Niro performing a five minute stand-up routine. What more could you want from a film?
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The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982]
The King of Comedy [DVD] [1982] by Martin Scorsese (DVD - 2004)
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