No one should ever have to bathe alone... or sober.
Arthur is the story of a genuine Rich Idiot with No Day Job. Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) comes from a wealthy family, and as such, he has never really had to grow up. He spends most of his time drinking and just generally enjoying himself. His father disapproves of his behavior, but is willing to continue to bankroll his son's activities as long as he goes through with the arranged marriage that he has set up for Arthur. The problem is, not only is Arthur not in love with his fiancee, he's just found love with a working-class girl (Liza Minnelli) from Queens. Hilarity Ensues as he tries to live his life his own way without getting cut off from the money.This 1981 film was the biggest comedy hit of its year and the biggest solo success of Dudley Moore's career. It was followed by an unsuccessful sequel (Arthur 2: On the Rocks) in 1988. It has nothing to do with cartoon aardvarks, but is the nearest thing we're ever likely to get to a P. G. Wodehouse adaptation in the top-ten grossers of the year department.Remade in 2011 with Russell Brand in the title role.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Hobson is constantly sarcastic and dismissive towards Arthur, going so far as to curse him behind his back. But it's nothing compared to his ire for others who speak ill of his employer. And Arthur stays by Hobson's bed without touching a drop of alcohol until Hobson's death.
Breakaway Pop Hit: "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", which was the Best Song Oscar winner of '81.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Arthur assumes that because Susan has a generally bland personality, she won't be too bothered when he jilts her at the altar. Susan proceeds to prove Arthur wrong in spectacular fashion.
The Other Darrin: Jill Eikenberry, who played Susan in the first film, was replaced by Cynthia Sikes in the second.
Hobson: Perhaps you would like me to come in there and wash your dick for you, you little shit?
Arthur gets one in as well.
Arthur: Susan... you're such an asshole!
Pretty in Mink: The sequel has several furs, including Linda having a mink coat and Susan wearing a black fox wrap.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hobson berates Arthur for whining that he's never been loved, calling him a "spoiled little shit", then telling him that not only is he rich, but he can afford to be an eccentric drunk ("Real drunks have no teeth and live in the gutter."). He tops it off by angrily telling him he loves him.
Refrain from Assuming: The theme is not called "When You Get Caught Between the Moon and New York City", or even just "The Moon and New York City". It's called "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)".
Screw The Money, I'm In Love!: Arthur eventually chooses Linda over Susan. Grandma Martha then lets up and says that no grandson of hers would be poor, and they get to remain in the money after all — but he was willing to choose love over money. So in the sequel, Burt's revenge plot hinges on driving him to the point where he won't survive in the world unless he gives up Linda for Susan.
The 2011 remake also or alternatively provides examples of:
The Alcoholic: Obviously, given the source material. But Arthur justifies his drinking because of his father. His Father was a frugal man, had no excesses, walked everywhere he went... and dropped dead of a heart attack at age 44. The lesson Arthur takes from this tragedy is "Why bother to take care of yourself?"
Broken Bird: A Male subversion... Arthur seems to enjoy his frivolous lifestyle, but he acts out against his Mother by spending obscene amounts of money on useless things (his apartment is full of suits of armor, a glittery camel, a phone-booth-turned-fish-tank) and by drinking vodka like water.
Decoy Protagonist: Despite Jennifer Garner being heavily featured alongside Russell Brand in the publicity campaign for the film, she plays Susan Johnson — the woman that Arthur doesn't want to marry.
Gender Flip: Twice over. Hobson is now Arthur's nanny and played by Helen Mirren, and it's Arthur's mother rather than father who's pushing him towards marrying Susan.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Arthur. His mother and Hobson both lament the obviously intelligent Arthur's frivolous lifestyle, and his mother's belief that he will never grow up sets the plot of the movie in motion.
Rich Bitch: Arthur's mother Vivianne to an extent, and Susan to the extreme - she's already wealthy, but sets her sights on Arthur because his name brings prestige she wants from high society.
Arthur: (to Susan) I really think you are dark and twisted on the inside, and I tried my best to bugger it out of you but I'm pretty sure it's still there.
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Linda's counterpart Naomi appears only for a moment at the beginning, perhaps because her actress (Greta Gerwig) is not as big a name as those playing Hobson (Mirren) and Susan (Jennifer Garner). In fact, she not only gets lesser billing than both of them, she's not even on the poster while Mirren and Garner are.
Stealth Pun: One of the first things you see in the movie is Arthur and his chauffeur crashing the Batmobile into the famous golden bull on Wall Street. Cut to his mother's fundraiser, where a man is saying "We're not worried about a market crash..."
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Nearly all of Arthur's emotional troubles stem from his awful mother (he calls her by her first name, Vivianne) and the fact his perfectly healthy father died suddenly at the age of 44, when Arthur was 3. By the end of the film, he openly considers his nanny Hobson to be his real mother.