Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story (2005)



Critic Consensus: Though Laurence Sterne's novel was considered more or less impossible to successfully adapt to film, director Michael Winterbottom has done it in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, by making movie about the making of the movie. Stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon add madcap, knowing performances to the mix, and the result is a fun, postmodern romp, before there was any modern romp to post.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story Videos

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story Photos

Movie Info

Flipping back and forth between the 18th century and the hapless efforts of the 21st century filmakers, 'Tristram Shandy' is the making of a movie adapted from the notoriously unfilmable English literature masterpiece, 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Sahndy, Gentlemen,' written by Laurence Sterne. The story begins with Tristram Shandy (Steve Coogan) narrating his life story as he sees it. Crammed with literary jokes and dark humor, Shandy's warped childhood tales are constantly interrupted by his family and household, inadvertently revealing far more about himself than any conventional autobiography. At the dramatic moment of Tristram's birth, the first assistant director calls cut, marking the end of a filming day on the. We then see Steve Coogan, the other actors and crew through the course of a chaotic evening on set. Steve Coogan's wife arrives with their six-month-old baby, a journalist is chasing him about a scandalous story, his agent has arrived with a load of Hollywood scripts and the film financiers are threatening to pull the plug.
R (for language and sexual content)
Comedy , Sports & Fitness
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Steve Coogan
as Tristram Shandy/Walter Shandy/Steve Coogan
Rob Brydon
as Toby Shandy/Rob Brydon
Keeley Hawes
as Elizabeth Shandy/Keeley Hawes
Shirley Henderson
as Susannah/Shirley Henderson
Dylan Moran
as Dr. Slop/Dylan Moran
Ian Hart
as Joe
Stephen Fry
as St. Patrick Curator/Parson Yorick
Gillian Anderson
as Widow Wadman/Gillian Anderson
Conal Murphy
as Tristam Shandy (age 6)
Joe Williams
as Tristam Shandy (age 9)
Paul Kynman
as Obadiah
Mark Tandy
as London Doctor
Mary Healey
as Midwife
Jack Shepherd
as Surgeon
Naomie Harris
as Jennie
Claire Keelan
as Make-up Assistant
Mark Williams
as Ingoldsby
Anthony H. Wilson
as TV Interviewer
Justine Mitchell
as Tony's Director
Roger Allam
as Adrian
Ashley Jensen
as Lindsey
James Fleet
as Simon
Greg Wise
as Greg
Paul Rider
as Prop Guy
Sara Stewart
as Joanna
Stephen Rodrick
as New York Times Reporter
Stuart Wilson
as Sound Mixer
James Randle
as Hotel Reception Manager
Joe Williams
as Tristam Shandy (age 9)
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story

All Critics (124) | Top Critics (39)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 10, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
Top Critic

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story is a hall of mirrors that doesn't tease the brain (it's easier to watch than to read about) so much as goose it into submission.

Full Review… | May 11, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 17, 2006
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

[Michael Winterbottom's] goofy, messy version of Tristram Shandy puts the Fellini back in 'Fellini-esque.'

March 10, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A wildly imaginative foray into spirited comic anarchy.

Full Review… | March 10, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story


Having seen and fell in love with The Trip first, it was fun to spend more time with characters that I had come to know and love. On top of being a smart and layered film, Coogan and Brydon continue to give the audience their patented witty passive-aggressive banter. While I did not find myself sick with laughter in the same ways as i was with The Trip, it is still very funny. If you love the characters in all of their humor and misery, then this film is for you.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


When did British comedy become boring? My guess. Sometime around this film's release. There's an average human drama subplot, but the rest is pretty stuck up [their own a***] comedy.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer


your mileage may vary according to your taste in 18th century literature, british comedy and/or the post-modern film stylings of michael winterbottom/steve coogan. i enjoyed it very much, tho it's messy and not everything works. one clever bit, amongst many clever bits, was the score's subtly referencing everything from barry lyndon to 8 1/2, perhaps an allusion to the many charges of plagiarism against the novel

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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