Director Richard Lester uses the Burt Shevelove/Larry Gelbart/Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical hit as a launching pad for some of his wildest slapstick gaggery. Zero Mostel repeats his stage role as Pseudolus, the cunning Roman slave who'll do anything to win his freedom. The plot hinges on three Roman houses next door to each another. One is the home of Pseudolus' masters: the philandering Senex (Michael Hordern), his domineering wife, Domina (Patricia Jessell), and their handsome but empty-headed son, Hero (Michael Crawford). The second house is a brothel belonging to unctuous procurer Lycus (Phil Silvers). The third house has long been empty, in that its owner, the senile Erronius (Buster Keaton), has gone on a long journey to find his children, who were kidnapped in infancy by pirates. Other principals include Pseudolus' fellow slave, the aptly named Hysterium (Jack Gilford); vain warrior Miles Gloriosus (Leon Greene), who marches triumphantly into Rome declaring "I am a parade!"; and the virginal Philia (Annette Andre), a resident of Lycus' "domicile" who is loved by Hero but who has been promised in marriage to Miles Gloriosus. There are also acrobats, transvestites, a phony funeral, and an outsized climactic chase.~Hal Erickson
Leon GreeneMiles Gloriosus
Beatrix LehmannDomina's Mother
Frank ThorntonRoman soldier
Larry GelbartPlay Author
Stephen SondheimComposer (Music Score)
John Victor SmithEditor
Tony WaltonProduction Designer
Syd CainArt Director
Tony WaltonCostume Designer
Gerry HumphreysSound/Sound Designer
Ken ThorneAdditional Music
Comedy,Concerts Operas and Musicals
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
United Kingdom,United States
Year of Release
Enhanced Widescreen for 16x9 TV
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum [DVD] 
"Something for everyone, a comedy tonight!" Indeed: a musical version of an old Roman play -- Miles Gloriosus (The Braggart Captain), by T. Maccius Plautus. Starring Phil Silvers and Zero Mostel. And Buster Keaton. And featuring scads of folks you've seen (even if you don't know their names) if you're an aficionado of 60s movies. Songs by Stephen Sondheim. Farce. Social commentary. Wiley slaves out-thinking their Roman masters. Something for everyone!
I first saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (hereinafter AFTH) when I was 9 or so, shortly after it came out, and I thought it was a scream. Saw it again in high school -- even funnier, as I caught some of the things that went right over my head when I was younger (kinda like Bugs Bunny). Saw it again in college after reading Braggart Captain in a Classical History class -- my lord: even funnier. I watched it every time it was on TV, and every time I'd laugh ‘til I cried. Made my friends watch it; made my wife watch it -- they all loved it. Bought the VHS tape and watched it with my kids, who were six and nine at the time, and they are today huge fans of AFTH.
If you’ve ever thought, Gee, I really need to inject some old Roman comedy into my life (a thought probably no one has EVER had), or even if you didn’t know the Romans had comedies (they did, and all the surviving ones by Plautus and Terrence are absolute screams), whether you like comedy or not, whether you like musicals or not (and I confess I am not a huge fan) -- still: AFTH bears watching.
To try before you buy, watch “Comedy Tonight” (the overture) on YouTube. About midway through (it’s 3:20). You’ll be tapping your foot and humming along. Then order it at Best Buy -- you won’t regret it!
Movie is a very 1960s/70s version of the play. Not as funny as I had hoped it would be and it didn't even include the song that my son needed to learn for a performance. Michael Crawford's voice is as wonderful as always, but the whole family was a bit disappointed with the movie overall.