20 user 12 critic

The Happy Ending (1969)

R | | Drama | 22 May 1970 (Ireland)
A middle-aged woman walks out on her husband and family in an desperate attempt to find herself.



Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Fever Pitch (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

An investigative journalist gets hooked on the subject of his inquiry - professional gambling.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Catherine Hicks, Giancarlo Giannini
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

American woman in Europe romanced by local gigolo; problems ensue.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Lana Turner, Pier Angeli, Carlos Thompson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dedicated schoolteacher spends her nights cruising bars, looking for abusive men with whom she can engage in progressively violent sexual encounters.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Tuesday Weld
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas
Young Bess (1953)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr
In Cold Blood (1967)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Sam and Felix are art thieves. Sam has just stolen a picture from a museum in Italy, but told Felix that it was lost in a boat accident. He wants copies made to sell while he will sell the ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Stewart Granger, Pier Angeli, George Sanders
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Torch singer Helen Morgan rises from sordid beginnings to fame and fortune only to lose it all to alcohol and poor personal choices.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, Richard Carlson
The Last Hunt (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in the early 1880s, this is the story of one of the last buffalo hunts in the Northwest. Sandy McKinzie is tired of hunting buffalo, and tired of killing-Charley on the other hand ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Lloyd Nolan
Crisis (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Husband and wife Americans Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Helen Ferguson - he a renowned neurosurgeon - are traveling through Latin America for a vacation. When they make the decision to return to New... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Cary Grant, José Ferrer, Paula Raymond
The Glass Key (1942)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A satire of American news reporting, Covert Agencies, and political system. The theft of two suitcase sized nuclear weapons, and their sale to a terrorist group, leads TV Newsman Patrick ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Sean Connery, George Grizzard, Robert Conrad


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Wilson
Fred Wilson
Flo Harrigan
Mrs. Spencer
Harry Bricker
Franco (as Robert Darin)
Helen Bricker
Marge Wilson
Gail Hensley ...
William O'Connell ...
Minister (as Wm. O'Connell)
Barry Cahill ...
Handsome Man


The triumphs and failures of middle age as seen through the eyes of runaway American housewife Mary Wilson (Jean Simmons), a woman who believes that ultimate reality exists above and beyond the routine procedures of conscious, uninspired, everyday life. She feels cheated by an older generation that taught her to settle for nothing less than storybook finales, people who are disillusioned and restless and don't know why, people for whom life holds no easy answers. Great supporting cast includes John Forsythe, Teresa Wright, Lloyd Bridges, Shirley Jones, Bobby Darin, Tina Louise, Dick Shawn, and Nanette Fabray. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beautiful face. Gorgeous body. Loving husband. A host of friends. But she's still missing everything a woman wants. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some substance abuse and brief nudity | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 May 1970 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Amar Sem Amor  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Teresa Wright was just 11 years older than Jean Simmons, who was playing her daughter. See more »


During opening credit sequence, many late model 1960's cars can be seen in flashback scene supposedly set 15 years earlier. See more »


Flo: Some girls work their way through college selling magazines. I sold *me*.
Sam: I don't want to hear it.
Flo: It's a success story with a bang finish. Lucky my mother hated breast-feeding, or I'd been alcoholic before I could walk. Finally killed her. Every Sunday, drunk or sober, she'd give me the same lecture: "Girl, ya' gotta' go to college. Because without an education, you either end up a big-mouthed housewife, or a big-assed whore." My freshman year, she dropped dead - smack in the middle of praying...
See more »


References Candid Camera (1960) See more »


Something For Everybody
Music by Michel Legrand
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Sung by William Eaton (as Bill Eaton)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

well-acted study of a dead marriage
13 December 2004 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

THE HAPPY ENDING might not seem special today, and may well seem very dated in some ways, but we must remember this is the pre-DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE era. I'm sure the film seemed pioneering in its day, questioning the role of the traditional housewife and demanding that women are entitled to the same satisfaction and autonomy that men expected. Writer-director Richard Brooks often dealt with social issues and political themes--that he took on women's issues is no surprise. The film is especially an acting tour-de-force: Jean Simmons as the unsatisfied woman; John Forsythe as the non-understanding but well-meaning husband; Teresa Wright as Simmons' mother; Dick Shawn and Tina Louise as a miserable couple; Shirley Jones as the woman who survived by having affairs with married men; Lloyd Bridges as a married man with Jones as his mistress; Bobby Darin as a lost and lonely gigolo looking for that one big score. I was also impressed by the film's structure--with two parallel stories a year apart and various flashbacks all presented in such a way that the details of the relationship's coming apart are given to us a little at a time, and we are gradually brought to the point where we understand WHY the present state has become what it is. It's quite well-paced and creates tension throughout. Also, the unexpected and non-traditional ending is perfect. It's tempting to wonder what these rich people are whining about when people in the same community are working two jobs, sixteen hours a day, or starving, or dying of cancer, but Ms. Simmons' performance makes us care about and sympathize with her character. The film would perhaps also be of value as an educational tool for future generations who want to understand the ending of the pre-feminist era. Those who enjoy the teaming of stars Jean Simmons and Shirley Jones and director Richard Brooks should also check out his excellent film version of Sinclair Lewis' ELMER GANTRY. Those who know Shirley Jones only from The Partridge Family might be shocked to see what a fine dramatic actress she is!

27 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Oscar nominations! nickrogers1969
Unconscious Lives kino66
Young Marge sidrich61-1
Who sang the theme song? littlehapagirl
Jean's Breasts CDizzle1975
Sharon Tate swkelly
Discuss The Happy Ending (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: