Little Murders is a 1971 black comedy film starring Elliott Gould and Marcia Rodd, directed by Alan Arkin in his feature directorial debut. It is the story of a girl, Patsy (Rodd), who brings home her boyfriend, Alfred (Gould), to meet her severely dysfunctional family amidst a series of random shootings, garbage strikes and electrical outages ravaging the neighborhood.
The film originated as a play written by cartoonist Jules Feiffer which was staged on Broadway in 1967 but which lasted only seven performances. This failure was followed by a successful London production by the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Christopher Morahan at the Aldwych Theatre.
It was then revived Off-Broadway in 1969 by Circle in the Square in New York City, directed by Arkin with a cast that includedLinda Lavin, Vincent Gardenia, and Fred Willard. That production ran for 400 performances, and won Feiffer an Obie Award. Lavin won the 1969 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Performance.
Gould bought the film rights and co-produced the movie with Jack Brodsky, who received the producer credit. When Feiffer adapted the play for film he added new scenes, including new characters such as the parents of the character of Alfred Chamberlain (played by John Randolph and Doris Roberts).
The film opened to a lukewarm review by Roger Greenspan, and a more positive one by Vincent Canby in the New York Times. Roger Ebert's review in the Chicago Sun Times was more enthusiastic, saying, "One of the reasons it works, and is indeed a definitive reflection of America's darker moods, is that it breaks audiences down into isolated individuals, vulnerable and uncertain."