THE ODD COUPLE showcases the talent of AFI Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jack Lemmon and ranks 17th on the 100 Years list… AFI’s 100 Laughs Funniest American Movies of All Time list.

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Watch Nathan Lane announce THE ODD COUPLE:


DID YOU KNOW? THE ODD COUPLE is based on a 1965 Broadway play of the same name by Neil Simon, who adapted his work for the screen. While Walter Matthau, who played the role of Oscar Madison in the theatrical production, reprized the role in the film, Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney were also considered for the role.

DID YOU KNOW? Paramount acquired the film rights to “The Odd Couple” before it was even written. The deal was the result of a chance meeting at the studio, when Neil Simon was working on the adaptation of his 1963 hit play, “Barefoot in the Park”. Simon mentioned his ideas for the piece, and it was bought on the spot. When “The Odd Couple” became a Broadway hit, Paramount reaped the rewards of the early option.

DID YOU KNOW?Although Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau have already been cast in the film, Frank Sinatra mistakenly announced his own casting as Felix Ungar in THE TONIGHT SHOW.

DID YOU KNOW? Producer Howard W. Koch has left his post as chief of Paramount Pictures to work independently at the studio. THE ODD COUPLE was the first of his three-film contract and was to be Paramount’s first production to start filming in 1967.

DID YOU KNOW? The shooting took place in New York, but the interiors were shot on sound sets at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. The film was made for around $ 4 million.

DID YOU KNOW? The scene at Shea Stadium was shot an hour before the start of a game between the New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 27, 1967. With a budget of $ 10,000 and a team of 75 crew members, a triple-play was shot in two takes with a total of 4 ½ minutes of footage.

DID YOU KNOW? Press reviews of THE ODD COUPLE were banned prior to its release, a practice studios typically used when the film was supposed to garner negative reception. When the film first premiered at Radio City Music Hall, however, it was a critical and commercial success, leading to the second-highest box office sales of 1968.

DID YOU KNOW? THE ODD COUPLE was the first movie to be rebooked as an in-flight movie on a major airline. It was such a success that Pam Am and United brought him back for a second round.

DID YOU KNOW? Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau reprized their roles in a sequel released 30 years later, THE ODD COUPLE II, released in 1998.

DID YOU KNOW? THE ODD COUPLE was nominated for two Oscars® in the Best Editing and Best Screenplay categories. This was publisher Frank Bracht’s first and only Oscar® recognition before his death in 1985.

Learn more at AFI Catalog.

The film doesn’t stop at the credits: discussion questions suitable for families

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-What are the circumstances that bring Oscar and Felix together, and how do their conflicts help them navigate difficult aspects of their lives, such as divorce?

-After a long and successful run on Broadway, “The Odd Couple” was adapted into a film that resulted in various remakes and spinoffs. To this day, the play continues to be performed regularly in schools and regional theaters. What makes the story so appealing to American audiences? Why do you think it has become a staple in American popular culture?

-Comedy, absurdity, and laughter have long been used by playwrights and filmmakers to elicit an emotional response from audiences, helping them identify with characters and stories that may be viewed as inappropriate or unacceptable compared to social norms. In this way, comedy has established itself as an agent of empathy and even openness to cultural change. Do you see this reflected in THE ODD COUPLE? Does humor help you connect with Oscar and Felix? How do you think their story would have been seen in 1968?

-What is the significance of poker for Oscar and Felix? What does this represent for their social circle? Do you see gambling as a metaphor for the issues they face in their personal lives?

-How is the genre represented in THE ODD COUPLE? What role do the Pigeon sisters have in the development of the story?

-When THE ODD COUPLE was released, divorce was much rarer than it is today, and it was not accepted as a social norm. How does the dissolution of the marriage affect Oscar and Félix differently?

-How would you rate LE COUPLE ODD?

In this exclusive AFI Archive clip, Jack Lemmon talks about his work on THE ODD COUPLE:

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