Funny Girl

Critics Consensus

Barbara Streisand elevates this otherwise rote melodramatic musical with her ultra-memorable star turn as Fanny Brice.



Total Count: 44


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,846
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Movie Info

"Hello, gorgeous!" was Barbra Streisand's first comment to the Oscar statuette which she won for her performance in this biopic of entertainer Fanny Brice. This is also her first line in the film itself, the catalyst for a movie-long flashback. Repeating her Broadway role, Streisand stars as legendary comedienne Brice (1891-1951), whose life until the mid-1920s is romanticized herein. A gawky New Yawker, Brice fast-talks her way into show business, certain that she's destined to be "The Greatest Star." Hired as a "dramatic" singer by impresario Flo Ziegfeld (Walter Pidgeon), Brice defies orders to play it straight, turning a "Beautiful Bride" tableau into a laugh riot by dressing herself up as an extremely pregnant newlywed. The stratagem turns Brice into an overnight star and the toast of Broadway. But all is not roses for Brice, especially in her turbulent private life as the wife of big-time gambler Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif). Nicky at first finds it amusing to be referred to as "Mr. Brice," but he begins to resent his wife's fame and fortune and starts taking foolish risks with other people's money. The film was nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture and Kay Medford for her portrayal of Brice's mother, Rose. Funny Girl was produced by Ray Stark, Brice's real-life son-in-law, who had enough material left over for a sequel, 1975's Funny Lady. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Barbra Streisand
as Fanny Brice
Omar Sharif
as Nicky Arnstein
Kay Medford
as Rose Brice
Walter Pidgeon
as Florenz Ziegfeld
Anne Francis
as Georgia James
Lee Allen
as Eddie Ryan
Mae Questel
as Mrs. Strakosh
Gertrude Flynn
as Mrs. O'Malley
Penny Santon
as Mrs. Meeker
John Harmon
as Company Manager
Thordis Brandt
as Ziegfeld Girl
Bettina Brenna
as Ziegfeld Girl
Virginia Ann Ford
as Ziegfeld Girl
Alena Johnston
as Ziegfeld Girl
Raymond Guth
as Buffalo wrangler
Karen Lee
as Ziegfeld Girl
Mary Jane Mangler
as Ziegfeld Girl
Inga Neilsen
as Ziegfeld Girl
Sharon Vaughn
as Ziegfeld Girl
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Critic Reviews for Funny Girl

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (13)

  • When she is singing--in a marvelous scene on roller skates--when she throws a line away, or shrugs, or looks funny or sad, she has a power, gentleness and intensity that rather knocks all the props and sets and camera angles on their ear.

    Jan 9, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Streisand is stunning, but the film is a trial, particularly when the music disappears somewhere around the 90-minute mark and all that's left is leaden melodrama.

    Aug 12, 2008 | Full Review…
  • This extended Streisand Special has done absolutely nothing to correct the flaws in the Broadway original.

    Aug 12, 2008 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Barbra Streisand in her Hollywood debut makes a marked impact.

    Aug 12, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Well worth watching, even if most later Streisand movies aren't.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is impossible to praise Miss Streisand too highly; hard to find much to praise about the rest of the film.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Funny Girl

  • Jul 01, 2015
    Epic freaking musical about a singing comedienne wedging her way into her big break. The beginning is a bit slow, and I tired of Fanny's repetitive self-deprecation about her lack of traditional beauty, but Barbra Streisand is sassy and ballsy, and my word, is Omar Sharif not the most dashing and earnest paramour? He says "I love you" so shyly yet tenderly! Nicky's love and admiration are so soaring, and that's what makes the main relationship conflict of Fanny outgrowing Nicky and the show-stopping number "My Man" all the more tragic in a mere mortals sort of way.
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • May 28, 2015
    Despite a tight and coherent film score, good singing, and a pleasantly avuncular performance by Pidgeon, "Funny Girl" is a real snoozefest. The only thing you'll find funny about this film is that you can't get your ticket refunded after you fall asleep in the middle of it.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2014
    You know, the movie fails to tell any sort of coherent fictional or non-fictional story about Fanny Brice because why would anyone want to see a movie or a play about one of the great comedic talents of the 20th Century that wallows in mopy melodrama for most of its running time? However, the film is a undeniably fabulous showcase for Streisand's singular talent (she really is outstanding here) . . . which is why people are constantly returning to it. For that reason, I can't blame them.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2013
    Funny Girl was controversial in its time. A Muslim and a Jew..together...oh my. It's all a little plot I know but Sharif and Streisand work very well together and make this a delight.
    John B Super Reviewer

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