The Comedians (1967)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The humorous title of this story taken from the novel by Graham Greene gives the viewer the wrong impression. The story concerns the residents of a once-posh hotel in Haiti and the fate of the country's people under the despotic dictator Papa Doc Duvalier. Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) is the philandering wife of a South American ambassador Peter Ustinov. She seeks solace in the arms of hotel-owner Brown (Richard Burton), whose main focus is to keep making improvements on his crumbling building. Alec Guinness plays Jones, the suave charlatan who claims to be a retired military officer to hide his vocation as a shadowy weapons dealer. Brown later gets a sudden twinge of morality and decides to go off to the mountains to help the rebels in their heroic cause. Watch for silent film great Lillian Gish as Mrs. Smith in this plodding drama. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
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Elizabeth Taylor
as Martha Pineda
Alec Guinness
as Maj. Jones
Peter Ustinov
as Ambassador Pineda
Paul Ford
as Mr. Smith
Lillian Gish
as Mrs. Smith
Georg Stanford Brown
as Henri Philipot
James Earl Jones
as Dr. Magiot
Robin Langford
as Angelito
Zakes Mokae
as Michel
Raymond St. Jacques
as Capt. Concasseur
Douta Seck
as Joseph
Roscoe Lee Browne
as Petit Pierre
Cicely Tyson
as Marie Therese
Gloria Foster
as Mme. Philipot
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Comedians

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

At such moments of transcendent drama -- and there are enough to make it worthwhile -- The Comedians is easily forgiven its other sins.

Full Review… | March 23, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A plodding, low-key, and eventually tedious melodrama.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

A sadly inept adaptation of Graham Greene's novel.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It is conventional and obvious, indeed, and is rendered no better or more beguiling by some rather superfluous additions of amorous scenes.

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

The movie tries to be serious and politically significant, and succeeds only in being tedious and pompous.

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

Uninspired political drama.

Full Review… | March 24, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Comedians


Strangely inert adaptation of Graham Greene's novel about white Westerners being menaced by Papa Doc Duvalier's Ton Tons Macoute. Burton, Guinness, Ustinov and a young James Earl Jones are all in top form, but Taylor is awful and Peter Glenville's direction is flabby and dull. A missed opportunity.

John Venable
John Venable

A bit confused and could have been cut into a tighter whole but an interesting document of a time and place that hasn't gotten a lot of treatment certainly not with a cast of this caliber. Leads are fine but the supporting cast of Guinness, Gish, Ford and Ustinov wrap it up.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Producer-director Peter Glenville's pic, scripted by Graham Greene [from his own novel], is a plodding, low-key, and eventually tedious melodrama, with an absolutely fantastic cast.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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