Sons and Lovers (1960)

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Jack Cardiff received a 1960 Oscar Nomination as Best Director for this lush, engaging film starring Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell and Donald Pleasence, which was adapted from D.H. ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Morel
Heather Sears ...
William Lucas ...
Conrad Phillips ...
Mr. Hadlock
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Sean Barrett ...
Elizabeth Begley ...
Mrs. Radford
Edna Morris ...
Ruth Kettlewell ...
Mrs. Bonner
Anne Sheppard ...


Jack Cardiff received a 1960 Oscar Nomination as Best Director for this lush, engaging film starring Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell and Donald Pleasence, which was adapted from D.H. Lawrence's classic novel. A young man with artistic talent who lives in a close-knit, English coal-mining town during the early 20th Century finds himself inhibited by his emotionally manipulative, domineering mother. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

22 July 1960 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Hijos y amantes  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At 20 minutes and 14 seconds, Trevor Howard's performance in this movie is the shortest to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. See more »


Version of Sons & Lovers (2003) See more »


from "Orpheus in the Underworld"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Arranged by Lambert Williamson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

SONS AND LOVERS (Jack Cardiff, 1960) ***1/2
2 September 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This exquisite adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novel is famed cinematographer Jack Cardiff's most accomplished film as a director; in fact, he was nominated and indeed won several major Best Direction awards (including the Golden Globe). Sadly, none of his other directorial efforts were anywhere near as rewarding although I'd still like to watch at least 2 of them - the epic THE LONG SHIPS (1963) and the horror film THE MUTATIONS (1974; a SE DVD of which has been released under the title THE FREAKMAKER).

Amazingly, this was a Hollywood production (made by 20th Century Fox) and, as such, leading man Dean Stockwell (who was probably never better) was imposed on Cardiff by producer Jerry Wald - though he seems to have been pleased with his performance. The acting of the Oscar-nominated Trevor Howard (as Stockwell's boorish and drunkard coal-miner father) and Mary Ure (as the married but separated young suffragette with whom Stockwell has an affair), as well as Wendy Hiller (as his strong but possessive mother), is irreproachable. The supporting cast includes Ernest Thesiger (in one of his last films) and Donald Pleasence, with both unfortunately having limited screen-time.

Freddie Francis' luminous black-and-white cinematography earned the film its only Oscar; interestingly, Francis also followed in Cardiff's footsteps and became a film director himself (with similarly erratic results, ironically enough). Mario Nascimbene's lovely music score and the film's vivid recreation of an era (in authentic locations, no less) add immeasurably to its lasting impression.

The coal-mine setting recalls earlier films like Carol Reed's THE STARS LOOK DOWN (1939) and John Ford's HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941), with which it can be favorably compared. Still, for all its quaint Englishness and the inherent sentimentality of its narrative, the film is a remarkably adult and frank depiction of sexual and artistic awakening vis-à-vis repressed Edwardian society and, together with Ken Russell's equally celebrated adaptation of WOMEN IN LOVE (1969), remains undoubtedly the finest screen rendition of D. H. Lawrence's work.

It's a shame, therefore, that this is as yet unavailable on R1 DVD but the R2 edition I own is a more than adequate substitute, with a very nice-looking print of the main feature, surprisingly strong audio and, apart from the basic supplements of the original theatrical trailer and a stills gallery, features a wonderful interview with Cardiff about the making of SONS AND LOVERS (interspersed with relevant clips from the film itself) which clocks in at around half-an-hour.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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