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.

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.

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


as Judy Maxwell

as Howard Bannister

as Eunice Burns

as Hugh Simon

as Frederick Larrabe

as Mrs. Van Hoskins

as Mr. Smith

as Judge

as Mr. Jones

as Mr. Kaltenborn

as Rudy, the Headwaite...

as Prof. Hosquith

as Arresting Officer

as Banquet Receptionist

as Delivery Boy

as Room-Service Waiter

as Jewel Thieve

as Jewel Thieve

as Jewel Thieve

as Jones' Driver

as Mrs. Hosquith

as Musicologist

as Musicologist

as Head

as Larrabee's Butler

as Party Guest

as Eunice's Cabdriver

as Smith's Cabdriver

as Airport Cabdriver

as Airport Driver

as Skycap

as Painter on Roof

as Ticket Seller

as Banquet Official

as Elderly Lady on Plan...

as Waiter in Hall

as Pizza Cook

as Airport Taxi Driver

as Waiter in Hall
Show More Cast

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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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