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  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
  • Withnail & Us, a 1999 documentary on the film
  • Rare pre-production photos by Ralph Steadman
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Limited-edition collectible poster of the original film art by Ralph Steadman

Withnail & I

Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Paul McGann, Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown, Michael Elphick
1986 | 108 Minutes | Licensor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #119 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 10, 2001
Review Date: July 21, 2008

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London. The 60s. Two unemployed actors-acerbic, elegantly wasted Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and the anxiety-ridden "I" (Paul McGann)-drown their frustrations in booze, pills, and lighter fluid. When Withnail's Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) offers his cottage, they escape the squalor of their flat for a week in the country. They soon realize they've gone on holiday by mistake when their wits-and friendship-are sorely tested by violent downpours, less-than-hospitable locals, and empty cupboards. An intelligent, superbly acted, and hilarious film, Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical cult favorite is presented here in its complete and uncut version.

Forum members rate this film 7.7/10


Discuss the film and DVD here   


The Criterion Collection presents Withnail and I in it's original aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc. Unfortunately, like their release of How to Get Ahead in Advertising, it has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions, and also presents an interlaced transfer.

The fact itís interlaced presents combing issues, noticeable jaggies, and other artifacts. The image is also a little on the fuzzy side, never looking sharp. Colours look decent, but the colour scheme of the film is a little drab. Flesh tones look good, and black levels vary throughout, some darker sequences looking a little on the drab side. The print shows some flaws but overall looks pretty good.

Itís a bit of a shame they went with an interlaced, non-anamorphic transfer because this could have been a half decent transfer. As it stands now, though, itís a bit of a mess.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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The Dolby Digital mono track sounds pretty good. It has a bit of range, music sounding quite good. Dialogue is intelligible and clear, and overall it sounds clear. Itís nothing spectacular but it works it sounds good enough.



Considering the cult status of the film I figured weíd get more with this release, but we only get a few supplements.

The biggest supplement is "Withnail & Us", a documentary on the film and it's cult status. It gathers everyone together, including Robinson, and gives an incredibly in-depth look at the making of the film. It also gathers together fans and takes a look at its vast appeal and cult-status. The documentary was made for TV and is an excellent supplement to the film. For fans of the film, or people just curious to its appeal may want to give this doc a go.

There is also a large collection of photos, and a theatrical trailer. You also get an essay by Bruce Robinson himself, which is found in the insert included with this release. And you also get a poster insert with artwork by Ralph Steadman, representing the DVD cover art.

There is a 3-disc release available in the UK, which actually managed to get Bruce Robinson for a commentary, another track with Paul McGann and Ralph Brown, and a slew of other features. While the Robinson commentary is fairly new (Robinson had previously refused to participate in any DVD release) the McGann/Brown track was available on a previous UK DVD, so why Criterion didnít go after it, or even try to record their own, is a bit of a wonder. The documentary we do get is at least interesting and informative, but itís a bit upsetting Criterion didnít go the extra mile.



I havenít seen any other DVD release of the film, not even the Region 2 special edition. But something tells me if youíre able to you should go with that one, it has more features (including the soundtrack) and has an anamorphic transfer, which is already a plus. The Criterion release is a disappointing release for the fans of the film over here in region 1.

View packaging for this DVD


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