Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (film)

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Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
Richard Pryor Live On the Sunset Strip poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Layton
Written by
Produced byRichard Pryor
StarringRichard Pryor
Cinematography Haskell Wexler
Edited by Sheldon Kahn
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 12, 1982 (1982-03-12)(United States)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4.5 million [1]
Box office$36,299,720 [2]

Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip is a 1982 American stand-up comedy film directed by Joe Layton. The film stars and produced by Richard Pryor, who also wrote the film with Paul Mooney. The film is released alongside Pryor's album of the same name in 1982, and was the most financially lucrative of the comedian's concert films. The material includes Pryor's frank discussion of his drug addiction and of the night that he caught on fire while freebasing cocaine in 1980.




The film cost $4.5 million of which $3 million went to Pryor. [1]


Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip has received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 100% based on reviews from 13 critics, with an average rating of 8.8/10. [3]

Writing in Commentary , conservative reviewer Richard Grenier saw Pryor's performance as embodying, and as forcing white audiences to accept and respect, an urban type that was more authentic than that exemplified by other Black comedians:

. . . Pryor, on stage, plays the very caricature of the irresponsible black man, the embodiment of almost every single stereotypical trait that traditionally consigned him to the bottom of the country's social order. But he transcends the character. We have had Stepin Fetchit and Butterfly McQueen playing seemingly bonafide black idiots. We have had Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory "talking white" to white audiences. (We have even had Flip Wilson and Redd Foxx, amiable but insignificant black comics—neither here nor there.) But Richard Pryor for the first time has taken the “black” character at its socially most regressive, and made us laugh in a new way—as if behind this performance is a high intelligence. [4]

The film grossed $36.3 million, the highest-grossing concert film of all-time until surpassed by Eddie Murphy Raw in 1988. [5]

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  1. 1 2 RICHARD PRYOR: AT 41, MAKING A YOU-TURN?: RICHARD PRYOR: SECOND LOOK AT LIFE Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times 1 Apr 1982: j1
  2. "Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  3. "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  4. Richard, "Black Comedy," Commentary, June 1982.
  5. "'Raw' Passes 'Pryor' As Top Concrt Pic". Variety . January 13, 1988. p. 7.