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A Thousand Clowns

A Thousand Clowns (1965)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1



liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 1,002

My Rating

Movie Info

Jason Robards Jr. superbly re-creates his Broadway role in this 1965 film version of Herb Gardner's play. Robards plays Murray Burns, head writer of TV's popular Chuckles the Chipmunk show. Fed up with the rat race, Murray quits his job and retreats to his cluttered Manhattan apartment, where he carries on a nonconformist, laissez-faire existence with his 12-year-old nephew Nick (Barry Gordon). Though they're as close as father and son, Robards has never gotten around to legally adopting Nick,


Drama, Classics, Comedy



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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (5) | DVD (2)

Terrif dialog to match Robards' scenery-chewing create a sock impact.

July 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The humor is still surprising, and Mr. Robards is still full of spice with his clownish wise-cracks and the map of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey stamped all over his face.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The mechanics of the Herb Gardner script show through much too clearly for this to qualify as anything other than shrewdly programmed entertainment.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This warm and wonderful comedy-drama is a paean to non-conformity.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

... there's something disingenuous about presenting defiant purposelessness and unemployment as an act of courage.

July 1, 2011 Full Review Source:

Robard's performance is loud, playing-to-the-audience brash, and his version of nonconformist behavior is obnoxiously unfunny.

June 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Snobbery
Film Snobbery

This serio comedy about nonconformity is well acted by Jason Robards and the others, but it's still a play

March 30, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Oscar caliber performances; based on hit Broadway play

March 14, 2009

Patchy nonconformist comedy.

March 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

I liked the way it started, but by the end I was quite annoyed by it.

March 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Timeless is an adjective that's tossed around too frequently, but A Thousand Clowns more than qualifies.

March 22, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for A Thousand Clowns

Jason Robards is a middle-aged, unemployed bachelor who is raising his 12-year-old nephew (Barry Gordon) in the heart of New York City. When confronted by representatives from NY social services, Robards is faced with the choice of either conforming to "acceptable" standards (getting a job) or risk losing his nephew to the bureaucracy of the child welfare system.

I have an affinity for cerebral comedies and this is definitely a good example. It stimulates the mind, tickles the funny bone and touches the heart.
February 11, 2010
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

thanks to exnavykds for reminding me...
July 24, 2008

Super Reviewer

Jason Robards and Barry Gordon are astounding in this film. Funny, but at the same time, an air of sadness throughout the entire film.
February 12, 2008

Super Reviewer

Here's another obscure favorite movie. It has a precocious young man being raised by an uncle who lives by his own rules. Through much of the movie, the boy seems like the parent and the uncle seems like the child. Before long a couple of social workers bring a dose of reality (and a surprise romance). It's about the tragedy of being a care-free individual and having to take on the dull, mechanical responsibilities of adulthood. Very funny- also based on a stage play. A hidden gem.
November 19, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Murray Burns: You are a marvelous human being.
    – Submitted by Rufus B (2 years ago)
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