Popeye Arrives On Blu-ray For The First Time

Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams in Popeye. Courtesy of Paramount.

Popeye arrives on Blu-ray for the first time ever ahead of the Robert Altman film’s 40th anniversary of its 1980 theatrical release.

The film starts out with a throwback to the classic cartoon during the Adolph Zukor era at Paramount.  Popeye also marks the big-screen debut for Robin Williams.

This film took producer Robert Evans and screenwriter Jules Feiffer some three years to get the film into production.  Funny enough, Evans first got the idea after Paramount lost the bidding war for Annie to Columbia.  The character’s rights were all over the place between film and television.  Because Paramount controlled the theatrical rights, the film could go forward.  You know how it also takes a village to raise someone?  Well, you can make the argument about the film.  Robert Altman directs while Harry Nilsson wrote the music and lyrics.  Despite their best efforts, the film was not exactly a hit upon its release in 1980.

The film would make $60 million against a $20 million budget.  It isn’t quite the blockbuster level that executives predicted.  Critically speaking, both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film very favorite reviews.  Other critics were not fans, including Leonard Maltin and Vincent Canby.

The Blu-ray also includes a digital copy.  In terms of bonus features, there is a half hour of new content.  If you want to see excerpts from one of Robin Williams’s final interviews, you’re going to want to pick up the film.  Robert Altman’s interview was conducted back in 2014.  There is a new interview with Stephen Altman.


The legendary, beloved anvil-armed sailor of the seven seas comes magically to life in a delightful musical, starring Robin Williams as Popeye, directed by Robert Altman.  Shelley Duvall as Popeye’s devoted long-limbed sweetie, Olive Oyl, one of many loveable characters who join the “sailor man” in his adventures in the harbor of Sweethaven.

Bonus Features

  • Return to Sweethaven: A Look Back with Robin and the Altmans
  • The Popeye Company Players
  • Popeye’s Premiere
  • The Sailor Man Medleys
  • Theatrical Trailer

DIRECTOR:  Robert Altman
SCREENWRITER:  Jules Feiffer
CAST:  Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, Ray Walston, Paul Dooley, Paul L. Smith, Richard Libertini, Donald Moffat, Macintyre Dixon, Roberta Maxwell, Donovan Scottm Allan Nicholls, Wesley Ivan Hurt

Paramount and Walt Disney opened Popeye in theaters on December 12, 1980. The film is now available on Blu-ray.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.