The Sunshine Boys (1975)




Critic Consensus: 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.

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Movie Info

In this 1975 adaptation of Neil Simon's stage play, director Herbert Ross presents the story of two old-time Vaudvillians played by Walter Matthau and George Burns in his first starring role since 1939's Honolulu. After decades apart, the cantankerous duo is persuaded to reunite for a television special despite the fact that they hate each other. Richard Benjamin co-stars as Matthau's nephew, who has the responsibility of making sure the comedians go through with the show and don't kill each other in the process. Nominated for four Academy Awards, Burns took home the statue for Best Supporting Actor.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Walter Matthau
as Willy Clark
George Burns
as Al Lewis
Richard Benjamin
as Ben Clark
Carol DeLuise
as Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Lee Meredith
as Nurse in Sketch
Jennifer Lee
as Ben's Wife Helen
Howard Hesseman
as Commercial Director
James Cranna
as TV Director
Ron Rifkin
as TV Floor Manager
Fritz Feld
as Man at Audition
Jack Bernardi
as Man at Audition
Garn Stephens
as Stage Manager
Santos Morales
as Desk Clerk
Sid Gould
as Patient
Tom Spratley
as Card Player
Archie Hahn III
as Assistant at Audition
Rashel Novikoff
as Woman in Hotel
Sammy Smith
as Man on Street
Dan Resin
as Mr. Ferranti
Phyllis Diller
as Herself
Steve Allen
as Himself
Walter Stocker
as TV Executive
Duchess Dale
as Ben's Secretary
Bob Goldstein
as Waiter
Bill Reddick
as Delivery Boy
Eddie Villery
as Delivery Boy
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Critic Reviews for The Sunshine Boys

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (3)

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.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Mr. Matthau is so good playing old men, we may never know when he finally becomes one.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Neil Simon's most irritating play is no less agonizing on the screen under Herbert Ross's sycophantic direction.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Aging comics sparkle, swear, and spar in Neil Simon farce.

Full Review… | July 15, 2014
Common Sense Media

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.

Full Review… | October 22, 2013
Empire Magazine

One of the best films ever made from a Neil Simon play.

Full Review… | October 22, 2013
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for The Sunshine Boys


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 Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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 Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


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 Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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