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The Swimmer (1968)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  15 May 1968 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,588 users  
Reviews: 122 user | 72 critic

Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Janet Landgard ...
Julie Hooper
...
Shirley Abbott
Tony Bickley ...
Donald Westerhazy
...
Peggy Forsburgh
Nancy Cushman ...
Mrs. Halloran
Bill Fiore ...
Howie Hunsacker
David Garfield ...
Ticket Seller (as John Garfield Jr.)
...
Betty Graham
Rose Gregorio ...
Sylvia Finney
Charles Drake ...
Bernie Hamilton ...
Chauffeur
House Jameson ...
Mr. Halloran
Jimmy Joyce ...
Jack Finney
Michael Kearney ...
Kevin Gilmartin
Edit

Storyline

Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The famed John Cheever short story appeared in the New Yorker and people talked. Now there will be talk again. When you sense this man's vibrations and share his colossal hang-up . . . will you see someone you know, or love? When you feel the body-blow power of his broken dreams, will it reach you deep inside, where it hurts? When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Schwimmer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Garfield:  As a ticket seller at a public pool billed as David Garfield Jnr. See more »

Goofs

Julie's hair goes from brushed to windblown and back again several times in the same sequence. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Donald Westerhazy: Where have you been keeping yourself?
Ned Merrill: Oh, here and there. Here and there.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Undercover X (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Send for Me in Summer
(Theme from 'The Swimmer')
by Marvin Hamlisch
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderfully Sad Portrait of Suburban Loneliness
2 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Frank Perry's screen adaptation of the achingly sad John Cheever short story gets the tone of Cheever's story just right, even if the movie itself doesn't have quite the same impact.

There have been countless strong and powerful films made around the theme of suburban loneliness, and this movie belongs to that genre. There's something so poignant about the idea that someone can exist in a world that's manufactured for the sole purpose of providing its inhabitants with luxury, pleasure and convenience, and still be miserable. You'd think people would have gotten the point by now, and figured out that privilege, wealth and materialism have virtually nothing to do with ultimate happiness, but if our own consumerist culture is any indication, they haven't.

What helps "The Swimmer" to stand out from other similarly-themed films is the way the story is told. It's only through the reactions of others that we begin to sense what's wrong with Burt Lancaster's character. To us, he looks the picture of middle-aged robustness and health. Lancaster became a much better actor as he aged, and he gives a wonderful performance here, as his bravado and macho virility (the strutting and preening of a man on top of the world) slowly dissolves into a lost insecurity, until the film's final devastating moments leave him as forlorn as a baby.

What a sad, sad movie.

Grade: A-


56 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Burt Lancaster's looks and build. east215
God Awful Hamlisch Soundtrack wrose-3
Where did Ned come from? mike-2620
This film is so underrated TheGreatApplesauceCaper
What happened to ‘The Swimmer’ 2004 re-make with Alec Baldwin? john_s_wales
Film compared to original Cheever story mackjay2
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