Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
With: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, David Hyde Pierce, Lara Harris, Kathy Najimy, Tom Waits
Written by: Richard LaGravenese
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
MPAA Rating: R for language and violence
Running Time: 137
Date: 09/12/1991

The Fisher King (1991)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Bungled and the Botched

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After losing money on two monstrously expensive spectacles (Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), former Monty Python member and visionary filmmaker Terry Gilliam was forced to reel things in a bit for his next film, The Fisher King (1991). It includes only a few fantasy sequences, but the characters are so wonderfully silly and touching that it became Gilliam's most joyous work, in spite of its dark material. Robin Williams plays Parry, a deluded, fast-talking homeless man who rescues a suicidal shock-jock, Jack (Jeff Bridges), and convinces him of his destiny: to find the Holy Grail in New York City. In return, Jack must help Parry win the girl of his dreams (Amanda Plummer). Williams received a Best Actor Oscar nomination, but Mercedes Ruehl won a Best Supporting Actress award for her sharp, snappy performance as Jack's long-suffering girlfriend.

The Criterion Collection gave this movie a wonderful 2015 Blu-ray release, giving Gilliam's extraordinary imagery a worthy polish. It includes Gilliam's old commentary track from the Criterion laserdisc release. There are two new 30-minute featurettes, six deleted scenes, trailers, and a video about the creation of the Red Knight. Jeff Bridges provides a look at his amazing on-set photographs, and there's a feature about Bridges getting into character. There's also a touching 2006 interview with Williams. The liner notes booklet is a fold-out leaftlet with an essay by Bilge Ebiri.

Movies Unlimtied