Arthur (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Arthur (1981)



Critic Consensus: Dudley Moore brings a boozy charm to Arthur, a coming of age tale for a wayward millionaire that deploys energetic cast chemistry and spiffy humor to jovial effect.

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The ads for Arthur suggested that this was an obnoxious film about an obnoxious man, an eternally drunken millionaire indulging his every whim. Instead, Arthur (Dudley Moore) is a sweet, somewhat pathetic character whose millions have left him lonely and with no motivation in life. When the film opens, Arthur is on the threshold of an arranged marriage with simpering socialite Susan (Jill Eikenberry), whom he does not love. Everyone expects Arthur to behave himself, but nobody truly cares for his well-being, with the exception of father-figure butler Mr. Hobson (John Gielgud, who won an Oscar for his performance) and blue-collar shoplifter Linda (Liza Minnelli). Arthur would prefer to marry the lowly Linda, but his iron-willed grandmother (Geraldine Fitzgerald) threatens to pull the plug on his huge inheritance if he doesn't honor his position in life and go through with his marriage to Susan. A sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, followed in 1988.

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Dudley Moore
as Arthur Bach
Liza Minnelli
as Linda Marolla
Jill Eikenberry
as Susan Johnson
Stephen Elliott
as Burt Johnson
Ted Ross
as Bitterman
Barney Martin
as Ralph Marolla
Thomas Barbour
as Stanford Bach
Dillon Evans
as Oak Room Maitre D'
Maurice Copeland
as Uncle Peter
Justine Johnston
as Aunt Pearl
Paul Vincent
as Oak Room Waiter
Paul Gleason
as Executive
Irving Metzman
as Security Guard
Florence Tarlow
as Mrs. Nesbitt
Lou Jacobi
as Plant Store Owner
Gordon Press
as Prize Man
Jerome Collamore
as Johnson Butler
Helen Hanft
as Perry's Wife
Bob Maroff
as Prize Man
Raymond Serra
as Racetrack Owner
Peter Evans
as Preston
George Riddle
as Bartender
Ray Serra
as Racetrack Owner
Lawrence Tierney
as Man in Coffee Shop
Bobo Lewis
as Lady in Coffee Shop
B. Constance Barry
as Wedding Guest
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Critic Reviews for Arthur

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (7)

One of those rare contemporary entertainments that can be used to contradict people who habitually complain, "They don't make 'em like they used to!" This time they have.

April 30, 2018 | Full Review…

Arthur is a sparkling entertainment which attempts, with a large measure of success, to resurrect the amusingly artificial conventions of 1930s screwball romantic comedies.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Moviegoers are hereby alerted to some good fun.

August 22, 2008 | Full Review…

So little care has gone into the characterizations, the structure, and the situations that the film merely feints at significant comedy.

April 1, 2008 | Full Review…

Overrated one-joke comedy.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Only someone with a heart of stone could fail to love a drunk like Arthur Bach.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Arthur

A billionaire playboy pursues a thief/waitress despite his family's insistence that he marry within his class. Good for a few yuks, Arthur is a charming film with a lot of good comedic performances, but the best lines come from John Gielgud. Despite being primarily a dramatic actor, Gielgud is fantastic as Hobson, delivering dry, scornfully witty one-liners with astonishing ease. He's an upper-class snob, frequently delving into lower class language, and it's often hilarious. Gielgud shows scene larceny at its finest; Dudley Moore is only noticeably funny when Gielgud isn't stealing the lens. The plot is predictable, and I didn't think the relationship between Arthur and Linda was well-developed. If I were to risk a substantial fortune for a woman, I would like a few more scenes with her, preferably when I was sober. Overall, this is a good way to enjoy 100 minutes of innocuous, enjoyable diversion, especially because of Gielgud.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I saw the 2011 Athur first, and it sucked. This older version is a comedy classic. The story is about Arthur (Dudley Moore), a drunken millionare who gets money from his father. When his father gives him an ultimatium, marry a woman he hates or not marry her and he is cut off from the money, he must choose if he wishes to be rich or stay with his new love (Liza Minneli). The story was great, it was funny, good hearted, and a classic tale of a drunken fool. Dudley Moore was great, his drunken slander will make you laugh your butt off. I was also a big fan of John Gielgud (Mr. Hobson) his smart assness is just so funny. The comedy is great, well written and original, and will make you laugh. Liza Minelli was never funny in this, but thats her characters fault, not hers. Arthur is anamerican classic.

Jim Careter
Jim Careter

Super Reviewer


I only heard about this film after hearing about the remake with Russell Brand in the role of Arthur Bach. Like with every other remake, I will always view the original film to see which one I preferred. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed both. The remake essentially kept everything intact, but made the comedy a little bit raunchier for today's audiences. But this original and whimsical comedy about a drunken playboy is a lot of fun. As I enjoyed very much the remake, I thought that the original was terrific as well. The comedy here is sharp, witty, original and amusing. Actor Dudley Moore is enjoyable on screen as Arthur Bach, and the rest of the cast here are terrific as well. This is a charming comedy that has good laughs, but above all, an interesting story. I however didn't think that Dudley Moore was the best on screen. I thought he was good, but I thought that John Gielgud in the role of Mr. Hobson was what made this film special. I just loved his sarcastic and snobbish quips and his chemistry with Moore was wonderful. If you've enjoyed the remake, and want to see this classic, then I suggest you do. You're in for a pleasant viewing experience. I thought that both films were fun and charming, but obviously nothing beats an original film.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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