A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Synopsis: Pseudolus is the laziest slave in Rome and has but one wish, to purchase his freedom. When his master and mistress leave for the day he finds out that the young master has fallen in love with a virgin in the house of Lycus, a slave dealer specializing in beautiful women. Pseudolus concocts a deal in which he will be freed if he can procure the girl for young Hero. Of course, it can't be that simple as everything begins to go wrong.
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Director(s): Richard Lester
Production: Quandrangle
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

"("? "Comedy Tonight)"

? "Something familiar, something peculiar"

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

? "Something appealing,"

something appalling

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

? "Nothing for kings"

? "Nothing for crowns"

? "Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns"

? "Old situations, new complications"

? "Nothing portentous or polite"

? "Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight"

? "Something convulsive,"

something repulsive

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

? "Something aesthetic,"

something frenetic

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

"(chorus)" ? "Nothing of gods, nothing of fate"

? "Weighty affairs will just have to wait"

Our principal characters live...

on this street,

in a less fashionable suburb of Rome,

in these three houses.

First, the house of Erronius,

a befuddled old man,

abroad now in search of his children,

stolen in infancy by pirates.

"(chorus)" ? "Something erratic,"

something dramatic

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

Second, the house of Lycus, a buyer and

seller of the flesh of beautiful women.

Thats for those of you

who have no interest in pirates.

Something for everyone.

? A comedy tonight

And, finally, the house of Senex,

who lives here with his wife and son.

Also in this house dwells Pseudolus,

slave to his son.

Pseudolus is my favourite character

in the piece -

a role of enormous variety and nuance,

and played by an actor of such versatility,

such magnificent range, such...

Let me put it this way - I play the part.

"(chorus)" ? "Something familiar,"

something peculiar

? "Something for everyone.:"

a comedy tonight

? "Something thats gaudy,"

something thats bawdy

? "Something for everybodys taste"

? "Pantaloons and tunics"

? "Courtesans and eunuchs"

? "Funerals and chases"

? "Baritones and basses"

- ? "Panderers"

- ? "Philanderers"

- ? "Cupidity"

- ? "Timidity"

- ? "Mistakes"

- ? "Fakes"

- ? "Rhymes"

- ? "Mimes"

? "Tumblers, grumblers,"

fumblers, bumblers

? "No royal curse, no Trojan Horse"

? "And theres a happy ending of course"

? "Goodness and badness"

? "Man in his madness"

? "This time it all turns out all right"

? "Tragedy tomorrow"

? "Comedy, comedy, comedy, comedy,"

comedy, comedy, comedy, comedy

? "Comedy tonight"

Hup! Hie!

You, boy. Why are we stopping? Hurry up.

My dear and noble neighbours,

my apologies.

Since moving in next door Ive been

remiss in not calling to pay my respects.

However, it is our inaugural week,

and you know what "that" is.

I certainly do not. Move on.

All right, dont stand. Move. Move! Hup.

A common flesh pedlar in

the house next to ours. Disgusting!

Disgraceful. All that revolting flesh,

just next door.

- Make way for the house of Senex.

- "(man)" Senex, wait.


Is this not Pseudolus, your slave?

He was parading as a citizen.

Believe me, mistress, I was not parading.

I was walking humbly like a slave.

He invited us to game with him.

He cheated us out of nine minae.

- Nine? I took seven.

- Return nine.

One. Two. Three. Four. Im being cheated

out of the money I won fairly.

- Pseudolus.

- Seven. Eight.

- Wheres five and six?

- Im coming to them. Nine. Five. Six.

Thank you, citizens.

Do not fear, he will be punished.

- Farewell.

- Farewell.

- Now...

- I know, I should be whipped.

Gently. However, my intentions

were of the noblest.

Hearing that you were

visiting your dear mother,

I wanted to purchase a remembrance -

some bath essence, a new spear.

Fifty more lashes for lying.

You were doing what you always do -

seeking money to buy your freedom.

Freedom? Oh, madam,

who would want to be free of you?

Who indeed?

- Hysterium?

- My mistress calls.

Slave-in-chief, drag this man home

and beat him without mercy.

- I shall be brutal.

- Good. Up.

We go to buy a breeder slave. Attend

to him, Hysterium, my slave of slaves.

I live to grovel. I shall lash him to pulp.

I shall wear out eight whips.

Strong men will blanch. My arm will...

"(auctioneer)" Come along. Theyre all

from Gaul and theyre all from Egypt.

You, sir... and you.

Come along now, gents. Theyre all

fresh in today. Dont waste my time.

No? Try Fertilla the Populator.

300 pounds of fertile flesh.

Has produced 18 healthy little slaves,

and is capable of producing 18 more.

You wont regret it.


It is time we were gone. Senex?


Ah, here you are. And there I am. A gift for

my mother on the anniversary of her birth.

104 and not an organ

in working condition.

- Will it please her?

- The craftsmanship is superb.

- And the likeness?

- Frightening.

We go.

Hysterium, here are my husbands final

instructions. Watch over our son Hero.

Keep him cheerful, well fed

and far from the opposite sex.

He must learn sometime.

When that time comes, you shall

teach him - what little you know.

Above all, do not let his eyes stray to that

house next door. I hold you responsible.

- Rather than let you down, I would die.

- That is what I had in mind.

- Furthermore...

- We are on our way.

- We are on our way.

- Come, Senex. Carry my bust with pride.

Yes, dear. A lesson to remember:

never fall in love during a total eclipse.

Thank you, sir.

- Where "is" Hero?

- Hes in his room, studying with his tutor.

The sun and the moon revolve around

the Earth, as do the four planets.

Above all there is a great blue bowl,

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Melvin Frank

Melvin Frank was an American screenwriter, film producer and film director. He is known for his work on films such as Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Court Jester, and A Touch of Class. more…

All Melvin Frank scripts | Melvin Frank Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/a_funny_thing_happened_on_the_way_to_the_forum_1900>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

    Browse Scripts.com

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum



    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.