Withnail and I (1987)

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Released 6-Jun-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 98:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bruce Robinson

Starring Richard E. Grant
Paul McGann
Richard Griffiths
Ralph Brown
Case 6 Clip and Ring
RPI $9.95 Music David Dundas
Rick Wentworth

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Withnail and I is a classic English comedy set in the final months of the 1960s about two friends who head off to the countryside to help clear their minds.

    Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and I (Paul McGann) are both unemployed actors who share a squalid apartment in the city. They pass their days by consuming massive amounts of alcohol and various drugs while struggling to stave off the cold and poverty. In an attempt to cleanse their systems they head off for a weekend in the country at a cottage owned by Withnail's homosexual Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths). Right from the beginning their weekend begins to go horribly wrong and the situation is placed under further stress when Monty turns up to join them.

    This classic English comedy has gained a dedicated cult following by fans all around the world. If you have ever lived in squalid shared housing or have continually recovered from a hangover by getting drunk again there will be something in this film you will be able to identify with.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is always quite soft and never reveals high levels of detail. No low-level noise was detected. The image displays very poor shadow detail with little information visible during the numerous dark scenes. This lack of shadow detail is very distracting.

    The colour palette is always quite muted, but this helps to capture the depressing environment in which the film is set. Compared to the R1 version, this transfer shows an obvious reduction in saturation.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected.

    A single instance of aliasing may be seen at 0:04 but this is not disruptive.

    There are a large number of film artefacts to be seen. Some examples: 0:21, 0:46, 1:36, 1:41 and 3:07. Due to their frequency these artefacts are quite irritating. There is some very obvious film grain and at times this becomes slightly distracting. Some small instances of telecine wobble may be seen at 20:12, 23:24, 24:34, 67:56 and 72:38, but due to their short duration they are only minimally annoying.

    Unfortunately no subtitles are included on this disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A single Dolby Digital 192 kbps 2.0 mono soundtrack is provided on the disc.

    During the transfer the dialogue is often slightly muffled but is still able to be easily understood.

    A very short dropout in the audio is present at 10:42, this is due to obvious damage to the source material. This dropout is also present on the R1 release. No obvious problems with audio sync were detected.

    The original musical score by David Dundas and Rick Wentworth is supplemented by a number of popular tracks from the period, such as Jimi Hendrix 'All Along The Watchtower', and this always suits the on-screen action.

    The surround and LFE channels were not used during the transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras are included on this disc.


    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

The Region 1 Criterion version of this disc misses out on:

The UK Region 2 version of this disc misses out on:

    Due to the commentary track the R2 release is clearly the version of choice for fans of the film. Unfortunately none of the versions currently available is presented with a 16x9 enhanced transfer.


    Withnail & I is a quirky English comedy that has attracted a group of dedicated fans over the years.

    The video transfer is very disappointing with extremely poor shadow detail and numerous film artefacts.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack is an accurate representation of the original source material.

    Absolutely no extras are provided on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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