Arthur (1981) – #tbt Theater


ARTHUR (1981)

Every Thursday we feature a classic movie [or amazing clips from them] from back in the day for you to watch at work, on the way to work, on the way home from work or on your day off to watch and share.

Today’s feature takes you back to 1981 with a cast of true artists including Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, John Gielgud, a very young and new to the scene actress we now all know (Jill Eikenberry), Anne DeSalvo and more.

Growing up in the 80’s, so many movies would embed themselves in our heads, we probably wouldn’t have much of a vocabulary without them. In this movie, there’s no shortage of under-the-breath, hilarious one-liners and zingers that’d fill a 1TB hard drive.

This movie was loaded with the stars of the era, from actors to the soundtrack, it was a who’s who of the entertainment biz.


This was the first and only film directed by Steve Gordon, a writer of many TV shows and one other movie, 1978’s “The One And Only” which starred The Fonz, Henry Winkler. Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for this movie and passed away in 1982 from a heart attack.

Dudley Moore who passed in 2002 stars as Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City billionaire who is about to enter into an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress (Jill Eikenberry plays “Susan”) that he has no desire to marry.

When Gordon wrote the title character, he had him penned in as an American.  Actors considered included Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Richard Dreyfuss James Caan, even John Belushi.  For the role of Hobson, he had Alec Guinness and David Niven in mind.  Debra Winger had turned the part of Linda down.  In the end, the casting of who they went with couldn’t have been more perfect.

As the movie goes along he winds up meeting a woman that “one would normally have to go to a bowling alley” to meet” (as John Gielgud would put it) and ends up falling for her. It was the sole film directed by Gordon, who died in 1982 of a heart attack at age 44.

The fourth highest grossing movie of 1981, it raked in over ninety-five million dollars on a budget of only seven million dollars.

Its title song, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”, co-written by Christopher Cross (who was riding high at the time), Burt Bacharach who scored the film, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen.

The film would go on to earn even more prestigious awards including Sir John Gielgud winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Hobson. Dudley Moore was nominated as best actor in a leading role.

The movie won best film, best actor (Dudley Moore), best supporting actor (John Gielgud) and best original song at the Golden Globe awards where Liza Minelli was nominated as best actress.

While there was a sequel, it was quite disappointing, lightning doesn’t always strike twice. Then a few years ago, there was a re-make of the movie that was so bad, so embarrassing with such a tired cast of people who are funny only to themselves, it’s not worth discussing.

Sal Amato


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