Years ago, when i was a teenager I used to enjoy watching films, but never took them seriously until i watched a few comedys and 80's horror, including "The Big Lebowski" and "The Wicker Man". Straight away I was hooked, watching these again and again for months. I will also admit, i had heard of this film when i used to watch videos, but i thought the title was stupid (immaturity ey?) and it had also been released years before i was old enough to view it.
It wasn't until is started collecting DVD's in 1999 that i actually started to absorb films, rather than just watching them....one of which was this jem. Theres no real reason why it hit me so hard, but one i think is that Withnail and Marwood's life was so close to reality of educated people of their age, the closeness to reality made it fantastic. This "slacker" trend still appears today, but at even higher levels, those who exit University etc, with a great education......but get nowhere! I too fall into that list, so perhaps this relation is why we enjoy it so
I bet if we took a poll, we would find most members here saw this film at university, or of that age, and could also relate to their hapless lives (I'm gonna do that now actually).
Reality comedys are ALWAYS funnier, as are black comedys in my mind. I have always felt that Withnail And I falls into both and will never be surpassed.