World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Arthur (1981 film)

Article Id: WHEBN0000164401
Reproduction Date:

Title: Arthur (1981 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 54th Academy Awards, 39th Golden Globe Awards, Liza Minnelli, 1981 in film, Arthur (2011 film)
Collection: 1980S Comedy-Drama Films, 1980S Romantic Comedy Films, 1981 Films, American Comedy-Drama Films, American Films, American Romantic Comedy Films, Best Musical or Comedy Picture Golden Globe Winners, Directorial Debut Films, English-Language Films, Films About Alcoholism, Films Featuring a Best Musical or Comedy Actor Golden Globe Winning Performance, Films Featuring a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award Winning Performance, Films Set in New York City, Films That Won the Best Original Song Academy Award, Orion Pictures Films, Warner Bros. Films
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Arthur (1981 film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steve Gordon
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Written by Steve Gordon
Starring Dudley Moore
Liza Minnelli
John Gielgud
Music by Burt Bacharach
Cinematography Fred Schuler
Edited by Susan E. Morse
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • July 17, 1981 (1981-07-17)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Box office $95,461,682[1]

Arthur is a 1981 comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. The film stars Dudley Moore as the eponymous Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling for a common working-class girl from Queens. It was the first and only film directed by Gordon, who died in 1982 of a heart attack at age 44.

Arthur earned nearly $96 million domestically, making it the fourth highest grossing film of 1981.[2] It was notable for its title song, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", co-written by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen, and performed by Christopher Cross. The film was nominated for a total of four Academy Awards. Sir John Gielgud won Best Supporting Actor and the theme song won Best Original Song.

Arthur was followed by a sequel in 1988, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, which was enough of a failure for star Dudley Moore to disown it. A poorly received remake starring Russell Brand was released in April 2011.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Reception 4
  • Remake 5
  • Awards and nominations 6
    • Academy Awards 6.1
    • Golden Globe 6.2
    • Honors 6.3
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is a spoiled alcoholic from New York City who likes to be driven in his chauffeured Rolls-Royce through Central Park. Arthur is heir to a portion of his family's vast fortune, which he is told will be his only if he marries the upper class Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry), the daughter of a business acquaintance of his father. He does not love Susan, but his family feels she will make him finally grow up. During a shopping trip in Manhattan, accompanied by his valet Hobson (John Gielgud), Arthur witnesses a young woman, Linda Morolla (Liza Minnelli), shoplifting a necktie. He intercedes with the store security guard (Irving Metzman) on her behalf, and later asks her for a date. Despite his attraction to her, Arthur remains pressured by his family to marry Susan.

While visiting his grandmother Martha (Geraldine Fitzgerald), Arthur shares his feelings for Linda, but is warned again that he will be disowned if he does not marry Susan. Hobson, who has been more like a father to him than Arthur's real father, realizes that Arthur is beginning to grow up and secretly encourages Linda to attend Arthur's engagement party (where Moore, an accomplished pianist, entertains guests). Hobson confides in Linda that he senses Arthur loves her. Linda crashes the party, held at the estate of Arthur's father, and she and Arthur eventually spend time alone together - which is noticed by both families. Hobson is later hospitalized and Arthur rushes to his side, vowing to care for the person who has long cared for him. After several weeks, Hobson dies and then Arthur, who has been sober the entire time, goes on a drinking binge. On his wedding day, he visits the diner where Linda works and proposes to her. At the church, he jilts Susan, resulting in her abusive father, Burt Johnson (Stephen Elliott), attempting to stab Arthur with a cheese knife, though he is prevented by Martha.

A wounded Arthur announces in the church that there will be no wedding and passes out. Linda attends to his wounds and they discuss living a life of poverty. A horrified Martha tells Arthur that he can have his fortune because no Bach has ever been working class. Arthur declines, but at the last minute, talks privately to Martha. When he returns to Linda's side, he tells her that he declined again – Martha's dinner invitation, he means - but he did accept $750 million. Arthur's pleased chauffeur Bitterman (Ted Ross) drives the couple through Central Park.



For the role of Arthur, 10, Segal was replaced with Dudley Moore, who had also stepped in when Segal withdrew from the lead role of 10.

Bud Cort reportedly accepted the role of Arthur at one point, but he dropped out before production began. Sylvester Stallone was briefly considered.


The film received critical acclaim upon its release. It currently holds a 90% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[3][4][5][6]


It was first reported in 2008 that Arthur was to be remade by Warner Bros. with the British actor/comedian Russell Brand in the lead role.[7] Brand confirmed this during his March 10, 2009 appearance on The Howard Stern Show. On April 22, 2010 it was announced that Helen Mirren would star opposite Brand, taking on John Gielgud's part. On June 11, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte had also joined the cast.[8] Garner plays the heiress while Nolte is her ruthless father. Greta Gerwig stars as a charismatic tour guide with whom Arthur falls in love. Jason Winer directed the remake and Peter Baynham penned the script. Filming began in July 2010. It was released in the U.S. on April 8, 2011. The remake was a critical and financial failure.

This film was also remade in India twice, as the Hindi language film Sharaabi starring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role and in Kannada as Nee Thanda Kanike.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards


Golden Globe



The film is #10 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and #53 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.

American Film Institute lists


  1. ^ "Arthur, Box Office Information".  
  2. ^ "1981 Domestic Grosses".  
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (1981-07-17). "ARTHUR – Review – –".  
  4. ^ "ARTHUR".  
  5. ^ "Cinema: Hobson's Choice".  
  6. ^ "Arthur".  
  7. ^ "Russell Brand as Arthur?". 2008-12-04. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Garner, Nolte eyeing roles in 'Arthur' remake".  

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.