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Netflix Pick: Up The Stairs of Love in ‘Barefoot In The Park’ (1967)

Barefoot in the Park is a 1967 comedy romance film about a highly passionate relationship that descends into comical discord in a five-flight New York City walk-up apartment.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a classic from the 1960s that is warm and funny, and filled with good humor. Starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, the film is a charming bit of comedic fluff from prodigious writer Neil Simon, based on his popular play, and is a great feel-good movie to settle into. It’s Barefoot in the Park and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Gene Saks, it introduces us to the lovely Corie (Fonda), a vivacious, free spirited young woman who has just married ultra-conservative Paul Bratter (Redford) and moved into a fifth floor apartment in Greenwich Village … with no elevator. It’s hardly luxury, the roof leaking and the heating and plumbing taking a bit of tweaking to make work. It’s a metaphor for their relationship, one that soon breaks down as the two are very different people, with Cori wanting more spontaneity and joy while Paul would rather stick to more traditional avenues of marital bliss. She calls him ‘perfect.’ Gasp! Adding to the mess are Victor (Charles Boyer), their quirky, adventurous upstairs neighbor and Corie’s mother Ethel Banks (Mildred Natwick), a lonely woman whom Corie thinks Victor is perfect for setting up. Comedy ensues.

Barefoot in the Park
Barefoot in the Park, 1967 © Wallis-Hazen

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Well right away, Robert Redford, right? Here’s a guy who was the heartthrob of the 60s and 70s and he’s in top form here, a dashing leading man in a comedy opposite one of the era’s most alluring and captivating leading ladies. The dynamic between the two are what make the film work best, and Simon’s crackling sharp script has them bantering with plenty of zip, all with a late 60s sensibility so you know it’s good, clean, fun. As with any Simon comedy, it’s peppered with a slew of oddball supporting characters who show up now and again to keep things tangy, most making the most out of the running gag that it’s a long run of stairs to climb just to get to the couple. A breezy and always entertaining film, this is a gem for romantic and comedy fans alike, and a must for a true lover of stage adaptations. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.

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