The Fisher King

1991

The Fisher King

Critics Consensus

An odd but affecting mixture of drama, comedy and fantasy, The Fisher King manages to balance moving performances from Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges with director Terry Gilliam's typically askew universe.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 59

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,748
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Movie Info

Terry Gilliam directed this adaptation of Richard LaGravenese's mystical (and mythical) tale of redemption in the hard-time town of New York City. Jeff Bridges is shock radio DJ Jack Lucas, whose low opinion of humanity lends itself well to his radio talk show, where the enmity rubs off on his listeners. One fan in particular takes Jack's rants to heart and goes to a fancy restaurant with a gun, murdering innocent diners. Jack is so distraught at what his on-air suggestion wrought that he sinks into a three-year depression, drinking himself to sleep and mooching off of his girlfriend Anne Napolitano (Mercedes Ruehl, in an Oscar-winning performance), an attractive owner of a video store. Hitting bottom, Jack slumps to the river, prepared to commit suicide. To his rescue comes a crazed but witty homeless man named Parry (Robin Williams), who tells Jack he's destined for great things -- all his has to do is find the Holy Grail (conveniently located in mid-town Manhattan) and save Parry's soul. He also wants Jack to help him out with the woman of his dreams, Lydia Sinclair (Amanda Plummer), a shy type who works at a publishing company. Parry was once a university professor became unglued by a tragic event in his past; Jack soon realizes that to save himself, he first must save Parry.

Cast

Jeff Bridges
as Jack Lucas
Mercedes Ruehl
as Anne Napolitano
Michael Jeter
as Homeless Cabaret Singer
Chris Howell
as Red Knight
John Hefferman
as Stockbroker Bum
Al Fann
as Superindendent
Kathy Najimy
as Crazed Video Customer
Lisa Blades
as Parry's WIfe
Adam Bryant
as Radio Engineer
Paul Lombardi
as Radio Engineer
Ted Ross
as Limo Bum
Warren Olney
as TV Anchorman
Frazer Smith
as News Reporter
Harry Shearer
as Sitcom Actor Ben Starr
Melinda Culea
as Sitcom Wife
James Remini
as Bum at Hotel
Mark Bowden
as Doorman
John Ottavino
as Father at Hotel
Brian Michaels
as Little Boy
Jayce Bartok
as First Punk
Dan Futterman
as Second Punk
Bradley Gregg
as Hippie Bum
Stephen Bridgewater
as Porno Customer
Richard LaGravenese
as Strait Jacket Yuppie
Anita Dangler
as Bag Lady
Diane Robin
as Receptionist
John Benjamin Red
as Motorcyclist
John De Lancie
as TV Executive
Caroline Cromelin
as Radio Show Call-In
Kathleen Bridget Kelly
as Radio Show Call-In
Patrick Fraley
as Radio Show Call-In
Mel Bourne
as Carmichael
Tom Waits
as Homeless Vietnam Vet in Wheelchair
View All

News & Interviews for The Fisher King

Critic Reviews for The Fisher King

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (10)

  • The search for the Holy Grail reaches peak insanity in this wild, redemptive ride through two men's interconnected lives.

    Jun 15, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Visually impressive, frequently pretentious, and extremely fluid as narrative (the 137 minutes sail by effortlessly), this mythic comedy-drama presents Gilliam as half seer, half snake-oil salesman and defies you to sort out which is which.

    Jan 29, 2010 | Full Review…
  • The Fisher King has two actors at the top of their form, and a compelling, well-directed and well-produced story.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Working within the constraints of a big studio film has brought out Gilliam's best: he's become a true storyteller and a wonderful director of actors. This time he delights not only the eye but the soul.

    Apr 7, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Scary, touching, often hilarious, this modern fairytale is surprisingly enchanting.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • For every wild ride through Manhattan by an imaginary Red Knight trailing billows of flame, there is a small, comic encounter in a more down-to-earth mode.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5

Audience Reviews for The Fisher King

  • Feb 25, 2015
    A crazy lovestory in true Gilliam fashion. This ensemble cast works the script well and delivers a dark yet pleasant story you'll want to watch. Once.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2014
    A powerful and moving performance by Robin Williams is tempered by Jeff Bridges who just doesn't seem up to the task of portraying a character of any depth. Oh, and that hair! Dare I comment on the gawd-awful early 1990's fashion?
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2014
    Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges star in the dramatic comedy The Fisher King. After the rantings of shock jock Jack Lucas spur a lone gunman into shooting up a cafe full of people, Jack quits the business, unable to live with the guilt; but he finds a chance at redemption when he gets an opportunity to help a homeless man whose life was ruined by the shooting. The plot tackles some heavy issues, such as responsibility of speech, gun violence, and mental illness. But the writing isn't able to give these topics due attention, and instead tries to find some sort of happy ending. Still, the strong performances of Williams and Bridges are able to carry the film; especially Williams, who gives a compelling performance that pulls off a delicate balance of eccentric and mentally disturbed. Though The Fisher King falls short in a few areas, it still has some interesting things to say.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2014
    One of the worst attempts at comedy I've ever seen. Jeff Bridges, who's supposed to be the serious one in this film, ends up being funnier than Robin Williams most of the time, though that doesn't say much. Williams ends up being almost completely unfunny, basically playing this role like a perverted version of Genie from Aladdin (no charm whatsoever and godawful jokes). The story here is dumb and nonsensical, and far from likable or charming. The attempt to tell a story on the human condition is derailed by the fact that this film is just too goddamned disjointed to tell a coherent story. And let's face it, Terry Gilliam is such a shitty director, a lot of these issues may not even be the writers' faults. Let's not forget the main love interest, who is completely unremarkable, except when she's being a complete bitch to everyone around her. What a winner! She's totally worth the massive amounts of effort all the main characters put into finding her. And man, does this ending suck...I mean seriously, wtf? I hate this movie so much. I can't even tell you why...everything about it infuriates me. Avoid this film at all costs.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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