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Death of a Salesman (1951)

Willy Loman is an over-the-hill salesman who faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family: Willy's long-suffering wife Linda, and Biff and Happy, his troubled sons and his life.

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Charley
Royal Beal ...
Ben
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Bernard
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Stanley
Claire Carleton ...
Miss Francis
David Alpert ...
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Storyline

Willy Loman is an over-the-hill salesman who faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family: Willy's long-suffering wife Linda, and Biff and Happy, his troubled sons and his life.

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Drama

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Release Date:

9 May 1952 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Der Tod eines Handlungsreisenden  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur Miller disliked this film version of his play because he felt that the flashback sequences made it look as if Willy Loman were literally acting out his past in front of others, and that this made him seem insane. Perhaps because of this, other versions of the play have been shown on TV and video, but the 1951 version has not been televised in more than twenty years, and it has never been issued on VHS or DVD. See more »

Quotes

Charley: A salesman is somebody way up there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine...
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Connections

Version of Der Tod des Handlungsreisenden (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

Frederick March is not Willy Loman
1 January 2007 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

Those of us who have read, studied, and taught Miller's play for a number of years understand that Frederick March is not now nor was he ever Willy Loman.

First of all, Miller goes to great pains to describe Willy as a large man, a physical presence on the scene, overwhelming not only Linda, but Biff and Happy as well. His tirades demand the thrust not of a Napoleon but of a Goliath. Thus, in terms of sheer physical presence, Cobb, Scott, and Dennehy are much more in keeping with Miller's original intention.

Secondly, Hoffman, though physically incorrect, gives one of the great performances of his career. Linda's comment about Willy to her sons that "a terrible thing is happening to him," that "he must not be allowed to fall into his grave like a dog...so attention must finally be paid to such a person" is the heart and soul of Hoffman's performance.

Miller's play is a modern take on Greek tragedy--and March just doesn't get it. That fact that Hoffman's performance doesn't work for some says more about them than it does about Hoffman's brilliant work and his intelligent understanding of the terrible things that are happening to Willy.

It is too bad that the Dennehy version of the play is not available. Having seen the New York stage production, I am even more a Dennehy fan than I was after I had seen him in Brecht's "Galileo" at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.


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