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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2007
For once the cult hype is totally appropriate although I imagine some gonzos out there brought up on Hollywood 'comedies' a la Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler et al just won't get it !
This is as English as tea & cake or fish & chips.A gentle, warm tale of two down at heel actors crashing into depression and poverty through their thespian inactivity. The cure....a trip to the country -in this case rural Cumbria -to stay in Withnail's camp uncle Monty's dilapidated farmhouse.
Bruce Robinson's script is stunning in it's darkly humorous tone and has spawned more quotes than any other film ever made..period !
Withnail is a cultured cerebral film for mature intelligent people. It's not a kids or chav movie although my youngest son was 12 when he first saw it and he loves it !
How can you explain the magic of Withnail & I...you can't. It just gets you deep down inside or you walk away...baffled. If you are one of the fortunate ones who 'get it' then I'm sure you'll be destined for a lifetime of repeat viewings.

One word of warning concerning the 20th anniversary edition. My copy did not come in the advertised metal box, just the standard DVD case and the sountrack is not THE soundtrack. Just a short 14 minute blast of Withnail incidental music...no King Curtis 'Whiter Shade of Pale' etc I'm afraid.
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on 19 April 2006
Hilarious from start to finish. A story about two out of work actors who main objective is to get plastered. Withnail can see how ridiculous other people are to him and himself to others. He finds the perfect solution, have another drink. There are countless quotable lines, which I won't reveal as this would spoil the film. While the characters motives seem perfectly reasonable, they relentlessly seem to find themselves in absurd situations. However like most great comedies there is a melancholic element, the ending of 'Black Adder' and 'only fools and horses' spring to mind. I can't think of a film that made me laugh so much or one that made me feel like taking a trip to the pub.
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The first time I saw this film I was expecting the finest of British comedy. I was left pretty disappointed by it. I was about 12 at the time.

A few years later (I was about 15) I watched this film again and absolutely loved it. Since then, I have considered this film to be my favourite film of all time (I'm 26 now).

This is said to be one of the most quotable films of all time - and it really is! I couldn't even start to say which my favourite one is! Whenever I recommend this film to people, I always say that it might not blow you away first time round. But once you've watched it and given it a second chance - you realise the sheer genius in this film.

Paul McGann is one of my favourite actors, and he is the perfect on screen contrast to Withnail's neurotic ramblings.

This isn't just a film, it's a series of contagious quotes held together by the best dialogue available on screen. The actors don't just act - they ARE the characters. Richard E Grant is allergic to alcohol yet his character is the most believable I have ever seen.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This disk is worth the money alone for the score (as other reviewers have said) - there aren't many tracks, and the tracks are short. But instead of listening to a low quality version of Withnail's theme, I now have the beautiful crisp version!

This contains the same documentary and interview as the previous DVD release, and also a new interview with Bruce Robinson, a fan made featurette, and the Withnail drinking game. It also has black and white stills which are frankly beautiful. I would love to have some framed and hung on the wall.

There is a booklet in the DVD case too which gives various facts on the film.

The box is a lovely metal one, it feels great in the hand, looks great on the shelf!

All in all there are 3 disks: 1 DVD of the main film, 1 DVD of features, 1 Audio CD of the score.

****************************************

If you only have a couple of hours left to live - make sure you make time to watch this film.
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on 8 February 2006
As mentioned in the commentary, the film starts with a panic attack, and gets worse. More quotable than Casablanca (at least if you're a student), it's a film about friendship, drugs, the failure of the 60s to really change anything, and nothing in particular.
Hilarious, frightening and just a little melancholy, it's an English classic with bravura performances that you really, really need to see. Altogether now: "We want the finest wines known to humanity, and we want them here, and we want them now."
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on 10 September 2010
The first time I saw this film (a mere 22 years after it was released...) I didn't see what all the fuss was about. I thought the characterisation and acting were good, there were a few funny lines, but... It seemed dark - not thematically dark, but literally dark - all gloomy interiors and sodden fields; it seemed exceptionally slow-paced without all that much happening; there weren't any female characters of any note; there was a cringingly old-fashioned - even mildly homophobic - aspect to the Uncle Monty subplot. And for a comedy it didn't seem all that hilarious.

All the same, a week or so after I'd seen it, I found myself thinking about it every now and then and noticed that I'd remembered a few scraps of dialogue ('do you grow?' / 'We want the finest wines in Christendom and we want them now' / 'I will never play the Dane' / 'I seen you - prancing like a tit'). So I watched it again and it really started to make sense. The characterisation stood out more: especially the minor characters Monty and Danny. And while the humour revealed itself to be extremely quirky and unusual, I realised it's not (as someone comments in another review) just a comedy. Tragicomedy is maybe pushing it too far - there isn't much genuine tragedy - but despite the farcical aspects the film is really a kind of study of male friendship. And the ending is genuinely moving and true to life - we suddenly understand that Withnail is utterly alone in the world and his life is going nowhere, while Marwood is moving in.
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on 7 March 2010
The picture quality is much better than the earlier dvd release and it is anamorphic. You get two commentaries: One from actors Paul McGann and Ralph Brown.. the other from the director.

There are also some fine bonus extras here on disc 2.
1."Postcards From Penrith" is short film (approx 20 minutes) where 2 lads retrace the steps of Withnail and I. They travel to The Lakes District taking in various film locations as they appear now.. culminating at Uncle Monty's country house.

2. A recent interview with director Bruce Robinson. He repeats a lot of stuff from the 1999 documentary, but there are some other things as well, and this runs for about 15 minutes.

3. 1999 documentary on the film approx 30 minutes in length.

4. Withnail and I Drinking Game: An amiable, heavy set fellow who speaks a little like Biggus Dickus in 'Monty Python's Life Of Brian' advises us on the best way to get drunk with Withnail...matching him drink for drink. A mildly amusing but pointless 10 or 15 minutes.

5. 'Swearathon' is a very short piece where various expletives from the movie are edited together. Another few minutes of wasted life...but watch it once. (It's all you'll ever need and at least you can say you've seen it.)

PLUS there are behind-the scenes still photos as well.

The 3rd disc is cd of the soundtrack. Don't expect to find Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile", "All Along The Watchtower", The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" or King Curtis' version of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" here because you wont. What we get is about 15 minutes of incidental music from the film.. all very pleasant.

The movie itself is a masterpiece. People have complained that it "rambles" and "goes nowhere" but it is a dialog-driven film.. and what wonderful dialog. I enjoyed it immensely and, for me, it didn't drag one bit. Laugh-out-loud funny in places and melancholy in others... what more can I ask for? Sublime!
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on 3 October 2006
A couple of things to add to the excellent review above:

1) This DVD edition has been given an 18 certificate due to the content of the extras on Disc 2 (The main feature on Disc 1 has a 15 certificate).

2) Disc 3 only contains the tracks from the Film Score. The Jimi Hendrix / Beatles / King Curtis tracks that were included on the Original Soundtrack CD are not included.
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on 25 November 2010
Like other reviewers, this is one of my all time favorite films and I've upgraded from my original VHS, to DVD, to the digitally enhanced 20th Anniversary version DVD, each version benefiting from improved quality, and now finally (?) to the Blu-ray transfer.

I debated about whether or not to bother to buy on Blu-ray because when produced in the 80's this was a low budget production and to have a Blu-ray transfer seemed like it might be a waste of time if the original recording was not of the highest quality.

I am pleasantly surprised. Obviously the quality is not anything like a new feature film but it is yet another step up from the enhanced DVD. It was interesting to watch again with so much more detail showing in the darker scenes especially. Every scene is sharper and brighter. I would say that if like me, you adore Withnail & I then the Blu-ray transfer is a worthy upgrade from DVD.
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on 26 November 2000
Ritchard E Grant as Withnail, Paul Mcgann as And I. With Richard Griffiths as eccentric uncle Monty. Two friends decide that they've had enough of drinking lighter fluid and living without heat. They decide that it's time for a holiday and turn to Withnail's gay uncle for a lend of a country house in Cumbria. Their trip soon turns to hell as they have no food or heating. With all forms against them they attemped to have a good time. Facing mad bulls and homicidal poachers they get through the first few days until Uncle Monty turns up. Then Uncle Monty has a holiday at "And I's" expence and Withnail has a holiday at Uncle Montys expence. The end product is simply priceless. This is possibly the best film that I've ever seen.
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on 16 July 2011
Firstly I, like many others here, love this film. It's the most watched movie in my collection & this review is in comparison to that earlier DVD release.
Although the bumph talks of digital remastering of the video, it hasn't improved the picture quality at all in some scenes, in fact I think it's ruined it in places. Particularly noticeably in the scene where our main protagonists meet Uncle Monty for the first time. It just looks like someone has turned the brightness up full & looks very grainy & washed out.
The remastering has worked for the better in other places but it's all a bit hit & miss. Having said that, it is nice to have the picture fill the whole screen rather than squashed up with dark borders.
My real disappointment was with the soundtrack, it hasn't been remastered at all. There's still a constant low rumble from the subwoofer when played in DD5.1 & the DTS track (as someone else here has noted) is simply a straight conversion utilising none of the sonic benefits to be had from DTS, a great shame. Perhaps they're saving that bit of tinkering for a 30th Anniversary Edition ;-)
Is it worth the 'upgrade' from the original DVD release? At a very reasonable £3-49, yes, but don't expect an amazingly improved picture or soundtrack.
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