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The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama | 9 November 1964 (USA)
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jo's Father
Rosalind Atkinson ...
Jo's Mother
Alan Webb ...
Jake's Father
John Franklyn-Robbins ...
Woman at Hairdressers


Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three marriages, with only the youngest being Jake's biological child, although he treats them all as his own. Jo left her second husband Giles after meeting Giles' friend Jake, the two who were immediately attracted to each other. Their upper middle class life is much different than Giles and Jo's, who lived in a barn in the English countryside. But Jo is ruminating about her strained marriage to Jake, with issues on both sides. Jo suspects Jake of chronic infidelity, she only confronting him with her suspicions whenever evidence presents itself. And Jo's psychiatrist believes that Jo uses childbirth as a rationale for sex, which he believes she finds vulgar. These issues in combination have placed Jo in a fragile mental state. They both state that they love the other, but neither really seems to like ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Electrifying Performance That Won Anne Bancroft the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 November 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esclava y seductora  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film never explains its title, which refers to a traditional child's rhyme: "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater/Had a wife, but couldn't keep her;/So he put her in a shell/And there he kept her very well." This serves as the epigraph of Penelope Mortimer's original novel. See more »


The long tracking shot near end of film (in which camera begins on Jo smoking in bed, then winds through closeups of mementos in her living room) was shot backward; at beginning of shot smoke is going into her cigarette, not out of it. See more »


Featured in Castaway (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

overlooked gem
9 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

I came upon this movie on late night t.v. a few years back. I really love Anne Bancroft and I think that she is, not underrated, but more correctly, overlooked as a great actress. This film is a wonderful study of a marriage in trouble and Ms. Bancroft and the great Peter Finch are so believable as lovers and as a married couple that I wondered why I had never even heard of the film before. I felt their pain - wait, sorry . . . I think someone else named Clinton coined that phrase. But seriously, Anne Bancroft is able to really convey heartbreaking loneliness that you just want to cry or help her in some way. I love movies that engage you thoroughly. If you enjoy movies that make you think and also have a viewpoint about human relations, please try to find this film. An added bonus is a wonderful appearance in a small role by Maggie Smith - certainly a very early one in her career. I really like finding gems like this!

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