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Thanks to the sparkling chemistry between its stars and Herbert Ross' gentle direction, this sweetly ambling comedy ranks among Neil Simon's finest screen adaptations. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Al Lewis (George Burns) and Willy Clark (Walter Matthau) are a pair of feuding vaudeville comedians (Lewis and Clark, naturally) who performed together for 47 years before finally calling it quits. A network genius then has the brilliant idea of reuniting the duo for a TV special about the history of comedy. Once the reunion is on, the sparks and one-liners start to fly with equal speed. But can Lewis and Clark put aside their differences long enough to collect one last paycheck?

Cast & Crew

Lee Meredith
Miss McIntosh (nurse in sketch)
Carol Arthur
Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Howard Hesseman
Mr. Walsh, commercial director
Ron Rifkin
TV floor manager
Fritz Feld
Mr. Gilbert, man at audition
Jack Bernardi
Man at Audition
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Critic Reviews for The Sunshine Boys

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (8)

  • Great chemistry between the two great comic leads and some pretty decent one-liners but this doesn't manage to hold together as a feature-length concept.

    October 22, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The Sunshine Boys is an extremely sensitive and lovable film version of Neil Simon's play, with Walter Matthau and George Burns outstanding in their starring roles as a pair of long-hostile vaudeville partners.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Mr. Matthau is so good playing old men, we may never know when he finally becomes one.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/5
  • Neil Simon's most irritating play is no less agonizing on the screen under Herbert Ross's sycophantic direction.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • It is a very empty comedy about the meaning of reconciliation and the decline of vaudeville actors. [Full review in Spanish]

    August 4, 2020 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…
  • If you're unfamiliar with Simon, Ross or Stark, The Sunshine Boys is a must; if otherwise, give a look at least for the acting.

    May 26, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sunshine Boys

  • Sep 11, 2019
    Two perpetual second bananas (insofar as casting choices made over the courses of their careers goes) get a shot at the big time in this curious shout-out to vaudeville that in actuality isn't. Matthau is singularly dynamic as an old Jewish curmudgeon angry at his ex-partner, while Burns is the partner himself, more stable, more balanced. But this Neil Simon comedy is rarely funny and only amusing at best, despite nearly every scene, particularly by the principals, being 'a bit' designed to get a laugh. You know the film about old vaudeville performers stinks when the walkthrough performance by Lee Meredith (as "The Nurse") steals the film, and she's only onscreen for about 5 minutes.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2014
    Two octogenarian former comedians reunite for one last show after a contentious separation. Neil Simon, famed for his dialogue and witticisms, may have written some funny scenes and plays, but as a whole, this isn't one of them. Yes, the monologue of Walter Matthau's character listing funny words is classic, but most of the film is filled with tired jokes that Matthau and George Burns, kyphotic to a fault, stumble through. The plot is basically predictable, and the filmmaking is not dynamic. Overall, some of the film is funny, but it doesn't hold together beyond being a collection of sketches.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2014
    Matthau and Burns give a decent amount of life to Neil Simon's play. I find it weird how it seems like Matthau has always perpetually played old men even in his youth. Burns got a lot of mediocre gigs in forgettable movies after this.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2011
    Matthau e Burns, juntos com o maravilhoso roteiro de Neil Simon, fazem com que seja uma viagem de gargalhadas e ótima diversão. Distaque para a atuação de Burns, que ganhou o Oscar por este papel.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer

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