A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

By Richard Lester

  • Genre: Musicals
  • Release Date: 1966-10-15
  • Advisory Rating: NR
  • Runtime: 1h 37min
  • Director: Richard Lester
  • Production Company: United Artists
  • Production Country: United Kingdom, United States of America
  • iTunes Price: USD 4.99
  • iTunes Rent Price: USD 3.99
From 96 Ratings


Zero Mostel, Buster Keaton, Phil Silvers and an all-star cast scam their way through this boisterous romp amidst gorgeous girls, mistaken identities, stunning surprises, cunning disguises and great Sondheim songs.




  • My favorite movie

    By EA0220
    Even after all these years, this remains my favorite film. If you like clever musicals and zero mostel, you can’t go wrong.
  • A classic not to be missed

    By redstorm2000
    I had the pleasure of seeing a revival of Forum with Phil Silvers playing Pseudolus. As great as that was this movie is far superior. Zany witty. A total delight. PS Michael Crawford went on to be the first Phantom of the Opera.
  • Worst Musical Adaptation.... ever!

    By Gregork
    I love this musical... and I HATED this movie adaptation of it. Eighty percent of the wonderfully written Sondheim musical numbers were either neutered or completely tossed out altogether. Yes, it stars several 20th century comedic greats, like Zero Mostel (who originated the stage role of Pseudolus), Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford and Buster Keaton.... But this is no "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" parade of talent: there's nothing they could do to save this disaster. I'm not exaggerating. Director Richard Lester took what was an hilarious, high-paced, well-written musical comedy burlesque (and unashamedly so).... and turned it into the WORST example of the 1960s zany sex comedy (a genre which has its place, when well-executed). I have seen porn with higher production value than this. Seriously, if you loved (or even liked) this stage musical (or are a Sondheim fan)... avoid this movie!

    By La Musiqe
    Although the movie is funny, the play is perhaps the funniest thing put on ever. This movie is nowhere near as good.
  • Great movie

    By D3SPAIR
    Its a VERY funny movie, i haven't laughed like this in a while, and it was refreshing to see such a classic movie on itunes. if you like comedies and musicals, then you must see this. Give it a chance!
  • Hilarious farce

    By AJPJ
    This is plain old hilarious farce (in the model of Plautus). I am concerned (however) that some reviewers here with a "background" in the theatre have got their panties in a bunch over this film. Apparently the film doesn't conform to the way they believe the Sondheim play should be performed (the phrase "musical theatre snob" is almost an oxymoron ... but not quite). In any case, don't let the presence of strangling bloomers dissuade you. Who cares if Sondheim would approve? Who cares if this is a faithful reproduction of the stage original? (psst: the answer here is "no one should care"). The numerous shots (done in some bizarre realist style) of the denizens of a poorly constructed ancient Rome add -- and do not detract -- from the general absurdity. The romantic male lead is "barely male" -- and that's great! I'd take a funny gelding over a blowhard romancer any day of the gosh darn week. Gosh darn it! Zero Mostel does chew up and defecate over the scenery but that's what a film like this demands. I highly recommend this film ... and not to boast but I've got some pretty formidable taste.
  • A great musical... ruined.

    By Uncle Doc
    Having performed in quite a few Sondheim-penned musicals, and having seen this particular show more than once, I was quite looking forward to an enjoyable couple of hours spent with this one. Boy, are those two hours of my life that I wish I had back. The original show is delightful commedia dell'arte-influenced nonsense, never taking itself too seriously and allowing, in the confines of a dark theatre, fantasy and farce to be painted with a broad brush. It's gaudy and campy, and intentionally so; Sondheim was satirically jabbing both the classical theatre and the more "conventional" musicals of the era. Realistic? Nope. You want realism, see some O'Neill. This is Fun, with a capital "F." So what makes a movie adaptation of this rich source so drab, dreary, and unenjoyable? Well, Lester's direction is probably the worst culprit. Trying to make "Forum" look realistic (shooting at what appear to be real locations) ruins the musical's primary joke. The rest of the jokes are ruined by leering, misogynistic (sp?) views of "pleasure women," a male romantic lead that is decidedly unromantic and barely male, and a Zero Mostel that must have been licking his chops at being allowed to chew this much scenery. Honestly, the worst movie adaptation of a musical besides "Hello, Dolly!," directed by Gene Kelly. Avoid at all costs.
  • A true classic!

    By BANG! you're dead.
    I love this movie! It made me laugh harder than any movie I've seen in a while. I'm generally not a fan of musicals, but that doesn't stop me from loving this movie! The songs are just as funny as the spoken parts, and because of this one often forgets that it's actually a musical. This is a true classic comedy. And, as always, Zero Mostel is an absolute riot! If you haven't seen it, you MUST. Whether through iTunes or not.
  • A classic

    By mwalker
    A classic musical! Sadly, it's best seen in the theater (and I'm not, in any way, a theater snob). This is funny, but not nearly the best rendition of the musical. Still, it's got a top-notch comedy cast, and Zero Mostel is wonderful. Warning: it's a tremendously un-PC movie, whether you are liberal or conservative. Just laugh. It's good for you.
  • A Comedy Tonight!!

    By redporsche0912
    Kudos to iTunes for finally bringing us "something appealing, something appalling, something for everyone, a comedy tonight!", as the song goes. All the songs in this musical, including the one mentioned, are memorable and hilarious, and so is the plot! Overall, a must see!