Willie & Phil

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Willie & Phil
Directed by Paul Mazursky
Written by Paul Mazursky
Starring Michael Ontkean
Margot Kidder
Ray Sharkey
Music by Claude Bolling
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Edited by Donn Cambern
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • August 15, 1980 (1980-08-15)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5.5 million[1]
Box office $4,400,000[2]

Willie & Phil is a 1980 film written and directed by Paul Mazursky and starring Michael Ontkean, Margot Kidder, and Ray Sharkey.


The film is set in 1970s New York, amidst the counterculture chic of that era. Willie (Ontkean), a high school English teacher who plays jazz piano, and Phil (Sharkey), a fashion photographer, meet coming out of the Bleecker Street Cinema where Jules et Jim has just been shown and become friends. They both fall in love with Jeannette (Kidder), a girl from Kentucky.

Critical responses[edit]

The film was reviewed by Pauline Kael in The New Yorker. "It could be that the theme of Jules et Jim, which preoccupies Mazursky - woman as the source of life and art, and woman as destroyer - is just what he can't handle. The ad for Willie & Phil does bring out the film's latent subject: we see the open mouth of a giant goddess who is holding two men in the palm of her hand. They reach up to her with their offerings - one with a bottle of wine, the other with a bunch of flowers. She may be breathing life into these dwarf suitors or preparing to devour them along with their gifts. Either way, she's a source of awe and terror. All through the picture, Mazursky has been trying to demystify what he experiences as mystifying. This movie is a little monument to screwed-up notions of what women are." [3]



  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p259
  2. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=willieandphil.htm
  3. ^ Pauline Kael Taking It All In ISBN 0-7145-2841-2

External links[edit]