Funny Girl (1968)

funny girl poster 1968 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast, good music

So-so story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Funny Girl

Studio:  Columbia Pictures/Rastar Productions

Genre(s):  Musical/Comedy/Romance

Release Date(s):  September 18, 1968 (Premiere)/September 19, 1968 (US)

MPAA Rating:  G

funny girl ziegfelds follies fanny brice barbra streisand

I do it my way!

Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) has dreamed of the stage her whole life…but feels her looks and personality aren’t what most directors are looking for.  When her wry humor and presentation are recognized by playboy gambler Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif), Fanny finds herself on a whirlwind to the top as one of the “it” girls of Florenz Ziegfeld (Walter Pidgeon) and his Folly’s.  Fanny is on top of the world…but finding love and a balance could be the hardest thing she has to do.

Directed by William Wyler, Funny Girl is a musical romance.  The film is an adaptation of the musical which premiered 1964 and tells the story of the early life of performer Fanny Brice (October 29, 1891-May 29, 1951).  The film received Academy Awards for Best Actress (Streisand in a rare tie with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter) with nominations for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Kay Medford), Best Sound, and Best Cinematography.

funny girl fanny brice nicky omar sharif barbra streisand

I’m sure the suave international gambler won’t be any problem

My parents were big Barbra Streisand fans growing up and though I never saw Funny Girl…but watching the film, I realize I know a lot of the music.  Funny Girl is a pretty strong musical that mixes a lot of romance with the film.

The movie is the rise and fall of a romance as Fanny is rising in the world.  It is one of those movies that starts out fun and light and ends out as kind of a bummer.  The movie does bypass this in a way in that Brice is a positive light on stage regardless of what is happening behind the scenes.  The romance between Fanny and Nicky is doomed as a modern viewer in that you can see his vices corrupting despite the true love for each other…they both gamble on each other and it doesn’t end up well.

Barbra Streisand fits the role perfectly and is willing to take on the self-depreciation of Fanny’s persona.  Streisand is good in that she isn’t a traditional leading lady in her looks and she can bring her singing to the performance.  I am not as sold on Omar Sharif in his role as her romancer, but there is a strong supporting cast including Walter Pidgeon as the frustrated Ziegfeld, and Kay Medford as Fanny’s mother who wants the best for Fanny but is a realist.

funny girl dont rain on my parade tugboat barbra streisand

I have been singing this song the entire time the tugboat has been going…

The movie looks good, but it also in some ways is a traditional musical.  A lot of the music is embedded in the story in performances, but there are the occasional songs which feel a bit odd since it isn’t heavily a musical.

Funny Girl is a worthwhile visit.  With a big character like Fanny Brice is interesting to see how she leads to someone like Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and other women comedian and performers like Carol Burnett and Joan Rivers that followed Fanny in the path of humor by breaking barriers.  Funny Girl continues to make its way to stage, but this take on the musical is film worth seeking out.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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