BFI Recommends: Withnail & I

BFI Recommends, but who needs an excuse?

Withnail & I (1987)

I have so many questions. Was Geoff Wode real? What became of Raymond Duck? Why does this film mean so much to me?

It’s the script. A symphony where people toss orbs and demand embrocation in a world where there’s Vim under the sink and legumes in the kitchen. Actually no; it’s the cast. Three stars aligned (Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths) – shaping hilarious brutality into something deeper. Mardy Irishmen and ladies called Blenehassit thrive at the margins.

No, scrub that. It’s the way the film can contort to fit any circumstance, and so grow with you through the years. I once drove across America with a friend. Passing Chicago’s main airport, he looked across and said “Here O’Hare, Here”. We nodded solemnly, and hit the gas.

Peter Hill