What's Up, Doc? (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

What's Up, Doc? (1972)



Critic Consensus: Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich.

What's Up, Doc? Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The prop crucial to this film is a suitcase full of ancient rocks. In her zeal to land a $20,000 grant for professor Howard Bannister, Judy Maxwell wreaks slapstick chaos all over San Francisco. Meanwhile, Howard's suitcase gets mixed up with a suitcase full of stolen jewels.more
Rating: G
Genre: Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Peter Bogdanovich, Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 1, 2003
Warner Bros. Pictures


Barbra Streisand
as Judy Maxwell
Ryan O'Neal
as Howard Bannister
Madeline Kahn
as Eunice Burns
Kenneth Mars
as Hugh Simon
Austin Pendleton
as Frederick Larrabe
Mabel Albertson
as Mrs. Van Hoskins
Michael Murphy
as Mr. Smith
Liam Dunn
as Judge
Phil Roth
as Mr. Jones
John Hillerman
as Mr. Kaltenborn
George Morfogen
as Rudy, the Headwaiter
Randy Quaid
as Prof. Hosquith
M. Emmet Walsh
as Arresting Officer
Eleanor Zee
as Banquet Receptionist
Kevin O'Neal
as Delivery Boy
Paul Condylis
as Room-Service Waiter
Fred Scheiwiller
as Jewel Thieve
Carl Saxe
as Jewel Thieve
Jack Perkins
as Jewel Thieve
Gil Perkins
as Jones' Driver
Christa Lang
as Mrs. Hosquith
Stan Ross
as Musicologist
Peter Paul Eastman
as Musicologist
Eric Brotherson
as Larrabee's Butler
Elaine Partnow
as Party Guest
George R. Burrafato
as Eunice's Cabdriver
Jerry Summers
as Smith's Cabdriver
Morton C. Thompson
as Airport Cabdriver
John Allen Vick
as Airport Driver
Don Bexley
as Skycap
Leonard Lookabaugh
as Painter on Roof
Candace Brownell
as Ticket Seller
Sean Morgan
as Banquet Official
Patricia O'Neal
as Elderly Lady on Plan...
Joseph Alfasa
as Waiter in Hall
Chuck Hollom
as Pizza Cook
Mark Thompson
as Airport Taxi Driver
Joe Alfasa
as Waiter in Hall
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for What's Up, Doc?

Critic Reviews for What's Up, Doc?

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (6)

The result is a comedy made by a man who has seen a lot of movies, knows all the mechanics, and has absolutely no sense of humor.

Full Review… | February 10, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This picture is a total smash.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

A homage to Hollywood screwball comedy that by and large gets its pace and cartoon/slapstick timings right.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The strength of a movie like this, of course, is that you don't have to believe too much for too long, because there's something else happening.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Not the least of Bogdanovich's triumphs is his success in scaling down Miss Streisand's superstar personality to fit the dimensions of farce.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Stands out as one of the great, if semi-forgotten comedy masterpieces of the 1970s.

Full Review… | September 11, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for What's Up, Doc?

"There's not much to see actually. We're inside a Chinese dragon."

Kinda like Bringing Up Baby meets one of those 70s's Alka Seltzer commercials - with Babs. A funny, silly movie.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


Four suitcases, one with jewels, one with secret documents, one with rocks, and one with clothes, cause goofy characters to scramble for possession.
What's Up, Doc? is a fun light-hearted farce that succeeds because Barbara Streisand can be quite charming and Ryan O'Neal has a good, dry, stone-faced delivery. The final moment of the film -- "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard" -- is hilarious only for those who know O'Neal's career.
The film fails in other areas. Judy's motivations are mysterious; "You're cute" isn't enough justification for me. Likewise, all the other interesting parties flit and run around like idiots, but their motivations are never very clear.
Overall, as farces go, this one isn't bad, but ultimately, What's Up, Doc? is easily dismissed.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


A kooky stranger in the shape of Barbra Streisand attaches herself to a stuffy music professor and through a series of coincidences become involved in a plot to steal a case of priceless jewels and some secret government files. What's Up Doc? is one of those kinds of comedies that busts a gut to be quirky and likeable, but in its attempt to emulate the effortlessly amusing "screwball" comedies of the 1940s it falls rather short. It actually seems rather more dated than the films it is clearly trying to copy (Bringing Up Baby being the most obvious influence) and the chemistry between a very lost looking Ryan O'Neill and Streisand is glaring in its absence; he just comes across as a joyless prig and her fascination with him is almost as bemusing as his seemingly instant change of heart where it comes to his romantic interest in her. The humour is in the usual formulaic farce of mistaken identities, pie-throwing and characters constantly running in and out of identical doors and it all seems rather tired and try-hard. Occasionally mildly amusing, but Neil Simon did this kind of thing with a lot more wit.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

What's Up, Doc? Quotes

– Submitted by Kevin C (2 years ago)
– Submitted by David E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by David E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by David E (3 years ago)

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