Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Arthur (1981)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Arthur (1981)

In director Steve Gordon's romantic comedy, with an Oscar win for its Best Original Song ("Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"), it told about a drunken, idle-rich NY millionaire with a dilemma - his father insisted that he would only acquire his grandmother's inheritance by agreeing on an arranged marriage to a wealthy, upper-class lovestruck heiress:

  • in the film's introduction, alcoholic, spoiled millionaire playboy womanizer Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) picked up a hooker named Gloria (Anne De Salvo) on a street-corner; he answered her question about what he did for a living: "I race cars. I play tennis, I fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss"
Playboyish Alcoholic Womanizer Arthur
Sudden Realization In Restaurant With Hooker Gloria (Anne De Salvo)
Hooker Gloria with Arthur the Next Morning
  • Arthur suddenly realized in the ritzy Plaza restaurant, after wining and dining Gloria, why his advances toward Gloria were so successful - "You're a hooker? Jesus, I forgot! I just thought I was doing great with you"
  • the next morning, Arthur's faithful, wise, loyal, sarcastic, reserved and poised butler-valet Hobson (Oscar-winning John Gielgud) found them in bed together (next to a full-sized train set) and was ready with a tray: "I've taken the liberty of anticipating your condition and I've brought you orange juice, coffee and aspirins. Or do you need to throw up?"; he then noted Gloria's silence: "It is thrilling to meet you, Gloria. You obviously have a wonderful economy with words, Gloria. I look forward to your next syllable with great eagerness"
  • Arthur announced to Hobson: "I'm gonna take a bath" who responded: "I'll alert the media"; when Arthur added: "Do you want to run my bath for me?" Hobson said: "That's what I live for" - and then quipped: "Perhaps you'd like me to come in there and wash your dick for you, you little s--t?"; Arthur was viewed in a bubble bath sipping a martini, with Hobson at his side, who noted: "Bathing is a lonely business"
  • Arthur's extortionist father Stanford Bach (Thomas Barbour) discussed with his son his worries about his son's reputation as a "Millionaire Drunk Playboy"; Arthur would be disowned or "cut off...from the money" if he didn't marry Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry) - the daughter of tycoon Burt Johnson (Stephen Elliott) - his father's business acquaintance ("I want it. Burt Johnson wants it"); however, Arthur stoutly refused: "Frankly, Father, I'd rather starve. And I will. I'll get married when I fall in love with somebody"; as he walked out, his father added: "Fine. I respect your integrity. You've just lost $750 million dollars"; Arthur turned back and was forced to accept the deal - with the wedding already scheduled in a month; Arthur conceded: "Congratulations, Father, you win"
  • Arthur saved lower-class shoplifter Linda Marolla (Liza Minnelli), after he saw her stealing a necktie in a department store Men's Department, and she was accosted outside the store by Bergdorf Goodman's security guard Chester (Irving Metzman); Arthur covered for her by claiming that they were shopping together, and it was an oversight that he hadn't paid for the necktie; afterwards, Hobson sarcastically joked with Linda: "Thank you for a memorable afternoon. Usually, one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature"
Hobson's Quip Toward Shoplifter Linda
  • over time, Arthur asked Linda for dinner dates and a visit to an arcade, and soon learned that she was an aspiring actress who worked in Queens as a diner waitress; Arthur began to fall in love with Linda
  • the drunken Arthur experienced a strained dinner with his lovestruck fiancee Susan Johnson, and failed to convince her to drop their engagement; meanwhile, Linda was encouraged by Hobson to attend the upcoming engagement party if she was serious about him, due to his suspicions that Arthur had feelings for her; she crashed Arthur's party to Susan held at his father's estate
  • Arthur temporarily postponed his wedding to care for his dying butler in the hospital - with Hobson reassuring him that death wasn't frightening, and his final words: "Arthur, you're a good son" - Hobson had been a genuine replacement for his real father; although Arthur was sober for the last month of Hobson's life, he went on a drinking binge following Hobson's death
  • the day of the wedding, the inebriated Arthur visited Linda working at the Queens diner to propose to her - and she accepted; after driving with Linda to the church, Arthur jilted Susan during preparations for the wedding ceremony, causing her angry father Burt Johnson to attempt to stab him with a cheese knife; wounded, Arthur called off the wedding before passing out
  • in the empty church where Linda was tending to Arthur's cuts, his wealthy grandmother Martha Bach (Geraldine Fitzgerald) overheard them declaring their love for each other; when she heard Arthur vow to sacrifice his lifestyle for the love of Linda, Martha stepped forward and wouldn't allow him to live a life of poverty - he accepted her offer of $750 million
  • as a result, in the finale, Arthur requested his black Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith limousine driver Bitterman (Ted Ross) to open the door for him and Linda before a drive through Central Park: ("Bitterman! Do you want to double your salary?...Then, open that door!") - the last shot was of Arthur's NY State license plate: ARTHUR

Arthur's Announcement: "I'm gonna take a bath"

Arthur's Bath-time

Arthur's Father - Insisting on an Arranged Marriage

Dying Butler Hobson: "Arthur, you're a good son"

"Bitterman!...Open that door!"


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