The Sunshine Boys


The Sunshine Boys

Critics 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.



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,453
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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.


Walter Matthau
as Willy Clark
George Burns
as Al Lewis
Carol DeLuise
as Mrs. Doris Green, Al's Daughter
Lee Meredith
as Nurse in Sketch
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
Rashel Novikoff
as Woman in Hotel
Archie Hahn III
as Assistant at Audition
Sammy Smith
as Man on Street
Dan Resin
as Mr. Ferranti
Steve Allen
as Himself
Walter Stocker
as TV Executive
Duchess Dale
as Ben's Secretary
Bill Reddick
as Delivery Boy
Eddie Villery
as Delivery Boy
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Critic Reviews for The Sunshine Boys

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (5)

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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