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The Bed Sitting Room

  • Comedy
  • 1969
  • Richard Lester
  • 87 mins
  • PG


Comedy starring Ralph Richardson and Rita Tushingham. "The great nuclear misunderstanding" lasted two minutes and 28 seconds (including the peace treaty). Now, three years after the holocaust, a motley group of survivors leads a precarious existence in a desolate landscape.



A star rating of 3 out of 5.

One of comic genius Spike Milligan's two great West End hits, the other being Son of Oblomov, this anti-war play by Milligan and John Antrobus seemed ideal screen material. Set three years after the great nuclear holocaust, its cast gradually transmutes into various altered physical states: Ralph Richardson plays the title role, while Arthur Lowe becomes a parrot. The rest of the cast is peopled by priceless British eccentrics, including Milligan's Goon Show pal Harry Secombe, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Top-billed is the 17-month pregnant Rita Tushingham, who also starred in director Richard Lester's The Knack... and How to Get It. Lester is quite at home in this surreal world, having pressed the anti-war button earlier with How I Won the War and having made his big-screen bow with the silent two-reeler The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film. Yet this type of farrago sorely tried the patience of paying punters and, despite its undoubted originality, The Bed Sitting Room failed to transfer successfully from stage to screen. Watch carefully for Marty Feldman in his movie debut.

How to watch




Lord FortnumRalph Richardson
PenelopeRita Tushingham
InspectorPeter Cook
SergeantDudley Moore
FatherArthur Lowe
Plastic Mac ManRoy Kinnear
MotherMona Washbourne
Captain Bules MartinMichael Hordern
MateSpike Milligan
The Shelter ManHarry Secombe
Field Marshal SergeantRonald Fraser
NigelJimmy Edwards
AllanRichard Warwick
NewscasterFrank Thornton
Ethyl ShroakeDandy Nichols
Electricity manHenry Woolf
DwarfRon Brody
PatientGordon Rollings
Nurse ArthurMarty Feldman


DirectorRichard Lester


Theatrical distributor
United Artists Corp. Ltd
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
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