Directed by William Wyler
Produced by Ray Stark
Written by Isobel Lennart
Based on Funny Girl
by Isobel Lennart
Starring Barbra Streisand
Music by Jule Styne (Music)
Bob Merrill (Lyrics)
Cinematography Harry Stradling, Sr.
Editing by William Sands
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
September 19, 1968
Running time 149 minutes
Country United States
Budget $14.1 million
Box office $58,500,000
Funny Girl is a 1968 romantic musical film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Isobel Lennart was adapted from her book for the stage musical of the same title. It is loosely based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein.
The film was produced by Brice’s son-in-law, Ray Stark. The score is by Bob Merrill (lyrics) and Jule Styne (music).
Barbra Streisand, reprising her Broadway role, shared the Academy Award for Best Actress with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter.
Set in and around New York City just prior to and following World War I, the story opens with Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice awaiting the return of husband Nicky Arnstein from prison, and then moves into an extended flashback focusing on their meeting and marriage.
Fanny is first seen as a stage-struck teenager who gets her first job in vaudeville and meets the suave Arnstein following her debut performance. They continue to meet occasionally over the years, becoming more romantically involved as Fanny’s career flourishes and she becomes a star. Arnstein eventually seduces Fanny, who decides to abandon the Follies to be with Nicky.
After winning a fortune playing poker while traveling aboard the RMS Berengaria (a ship that actually existed and was acquired by Britain after WW1 as compensation from Germany for the sinking of the Lusitania) Nicky agrees to marry Fanny. They move into an expensive house and have a daughter, and Fanny eventually returns to Ziegfeld and the Follies. Meanwhile, Nicky’s various business ventures fail, forcing them to move into an apartment. Refusing financial support from his wife, he becomes involved in a bonds scam and is imprisoned for embezzlement for eighteen months.
Following Nick’s release from prison, he and Fanny briefly reunite long enough to agree to separate.