IMDb > The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
The Pumpkin Eater
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The Pumpkin Eater (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Harold Pinter (screenplay)
Penelope Mortimer (novel)
View company contact information for The Pumpkin Eater on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 November 1964 (USA) See more »
A Much Married Woman Who Drifts From Husband to Husband! See more »
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Scenes from a Marriage See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order)

Anne Bancroft ... Jo Armitage

Peter Finch ... Jake Armitage

James Mason ... Bob Conway

Janine Gray ... Beth Conway

Cedric Hardwicke ... Mr. James - Jo's father
Rosalind Atkinson ... Mrs. James - Jo's mother
Alan Webb ... Mr. Armitage - Jake's father

Richard Johnson ... Giles

Maggie Smith ... Philpot

Eric Porter ... Psychiatrist

Cyril Luckham ... Doctor

Anthony Nicholls ... Surgeon
John Franklyn-Robbins ... Parson

John Junkin ... Undertaker

Yootha Joyce ... Woman at Hairdressers
Lesley Nunnerley ... Waitress at zoo (as Leslie Nunnerley)
Gerald Sim ... Man at party
Frank Singuineau ... King of Israel
Faith Kent ... Nanny
Gregory Phillips ... Older Pete
Rupert Osborne ... Younger Pete
Michael Ridgeway ... Older Jack
Martin Norton ... Younger Jack
Frances White ... Older Dinah
Kate Nicholls ... Younger Dinah
Fergus McClelland ... Older Fergus
Christopher Ellis ... Younger Fergus
Elizabeth Dear ... Older Elizabeth

Phoebe Nicholls ... Younger Elizabeth (as Sarah Nicholls)
Sharon Maxwell ... Older Sharon
Mimosa Annis ... Sharon
Kash Dewar ... Older Mark
Mark Crader ... Youngest child
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leslie Garrad ... Piano tuner

Garfield Morgan

David Langton ... 1st Man in Bar (uncredited)

Ronald Leigh-Hunt ... 2nd Man in Bar (uncredited)
Ron Pember ... Removal Man (uncredited)
Geoffrey Rose ... Party Guest (uncredited)

Directed by
Jack Clayton 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Penelope Mortimer  novel
Harold Pinter  screenplay

Produced by
James H. Ware .... associate producer (as James Ware)
James Woolf .... producer
Original Music by
Georges Delerue 
Cinematography by
Oswald Morris 
Film Editing by
Jim Clark  (as James Clark)
Casting by
Jenia Reissar 
Art Direction by
Edward Marshall 
Costume Design by
Sophie Devine  (as Motley)
Makeup Department
Gordon Bond .... hairdresser
George Frost .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
Charles Blair .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Watson .... assistant director
Robert Watts .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
David Ffolkes .... art department liaison
Peter James .... set dresser
Sound Department
John Aldred .... sound recordist
Peter Handford .... sound recordist
Peter Musgrave .... dubbing editor
Ken Ritchie .... boom operator
Camera and Electrical Department
Maurice Gillett .... supervising floor electrician
Ray Jones .... camera grip
Brian West .... camera operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sophie Devine .... costumes (as Motley)
Music Department
Georges Delerue .... conductor (uncredited)
Other crew
Pamela Davies .... continuity
John Holmes .... animal trainer
Jeanie Sims .... script editor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:118 min | 110 min (TCM Print) | UK:118 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Argentina:18 | Australia:SOA | Finland:K-16 | Ireland:15 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) | Portugal:(Banned) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG (TV rating) | UK:X (original rating) | UK:12 (DVD rating) (2010)

Did You Know?

The final film project of Cedric Hardwicke.See more »
Boom mic visible: When Jo rises from the couch while talking to her mother about her father's death, a shadow of the boom microphone moves across the wall above and behind her.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)See more »


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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Scenes from a Marriage, 8 September 2008
Author: blanche-2 from United States

"The Pumpkin Eater" is the story of a bad marriage and a character study of the wife, Jo Armitage (Anne Bancroft) and a partial study of the husband, Jake (Peter Finch). Directed by Jack Clayton and with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, the film has a good deal that is unspoken; it's obtuse at times and can leave the viewer with a lot of questions. It's not a film for everyone, as it moves slowly - I can't see audiences of today going for it - it's totally character driven.

Jo is a woman whose fulfillment comes from children and pregnancy. We first see her standing in her home with a stunned look on her face and reminiscing about different facets of her life. One facet is as a happy young woman living in a barn and being introduced to fledgling screenwriter Jake by her second husband. In the next flashback, she's with Jake and discussing the upcoming marriage with her father (Cedric Hardwicke). He's blunt - she has too many kids - so he offers to pay to send the two oldest boys to boarding school, and he also leases a house for them.

The film is not entirely in flashback. It switches back and forth and finally settles in the present. Quite early on, we return to Jo today standing in the house. She goes to Harrod's and has a nervous breakdown.

Jo is in love with a man who loves her as best he can, but it's not enough for her. They have a child together, and though he loves and is good to all of the children, they get in the way of his relationship with Jo. He invites her to a film set in Morocco; she doesn't go. She becomes pregnant again; he tells her that he thought at this point, with the money they have, that they would be free to travel. Now they're back where they started. We suspect when we meet a young woman, Philpot (Maggie Smith) who stays with the family for a time because she's been put out of her flat, that Jake cheats. Jo suspects it; he denies it. Then she gets some devastating news from an odd friend (James Mason).

One is really left with a bad feeling about marriage, and as someone on this board pointed out, it's easy to see both sides of the situation. The psychiatrist Jo sees asks her, can she only justify having sex if she becomes pregnant? When the psychiatrist tells her he's going away for two weeks and can't see her, he tries to make future appointments and she says she can't make it. She evidently feels rejection very easily. Jo needs to be needed and wanted, and she loves the honeymoon -the new man, the new baby - but she can't handle much of the aftermath.

The film doesn't take sides. It's a fascinating story of what two people can do to one another and what people attract into their lives.

Anne Bancroft is one of the greatest actresses of all time and one of the most ravishingly beautiful. You'll never see her name in a list of top beauties because even with her huge, luminous eyes, her classically sculpted face, her thick hair and her gorgeous smile and her husky voice, she was never about her looks. She was always about a great, committed performance. Bancroft does more with her eyes and facial expressions here than most actresses can do with a ton of dialogue. The camera doesn't love her, it adores her, and here closeups are used to great advantage. Her performance is quietly stunning, quietly shattering, just like her face. She devastates the viewer here in a different way from her more overt performance in "The Miracle Worker," but she still devastates. What a loss to film and the theater.

Peter Finch is excellent as Jake - very handsome and sexy, warm with the children - you could really see why he was so adored by women, and I for one didn't understand why Jo wasn't on every film set with him all day, every day. He's two men, really - he's a husband who does love his wife, but he's emotionally childish as well and takes his frustrations and anger out by sleeping with other women.

"The Pumpkin Eater" is one of those films that you might not even care for while watching it. You might not even totally get what's going on all the time, but it will stay with you. You'll go over it in your head, and you won't forget it. In this way, it reminds me of two brilliant movies, "Damage" and "In the Bedroom" - like those films, "The Pumpkin Eater" is a harrowing experience.

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