7.9/10
3,337
38 user 38 critic

Salesman (1968)

G | | Documentary, Drama | 1968 (USA)
Trailer
3:08 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.
Reviews
4 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gimme Shelter (1970)
Documentary | Music | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A harrowing documentary of the Stones' 1969 tour, with much of the focus on the tragic concert at Altamont.

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor
Grey Gardens (1975)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A filmed account of a bitterly violent miner strike.

Director: Barbara Kopple
Stars: Norman Yarborough, Houston Elmore, Phil Sparks
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness.

Director: Frederick Wiseman
Primary (1960)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Cinema verite feature that follows presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey during the 1960 Wisconsin primary

Director: Robert Drew
Stars: Robert Drew, Hubert H. Humphrey, Joseph Julian
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Real-life individuals discuss topics on society, happiness in the working class among others and with those testimonies the filmmakers create fictional moments based on their interviews. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
Stars: Angelo, Nadine Ballot, Régis Debray
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuit living in the Arctic Circle.

Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Stars: Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Documentary covering Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, which includes appearances by Joan Baez and Donovan.

Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: Bob Dylan, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirth
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Umbrellas (1994)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The controversial story of the artist Christo's grand-scale environmental art project in Japan and California that ended in the tragic death of two of its spectators. At its world premiere ... See full summary »

Directors: Henry Corra, Albert Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Christo, Jeanne-Claude
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Journalists from all over America meet Marlon Brando in a New York hotel room to interview him about his new film, Morituri. Seeing this as an opportunity to let the legendary actor promote... See full summary »

Directors: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Marlon Brando, Rex Morgan, Mary Frann
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Paul Brennan ...
Himself - 'The Badger'
Charles McDevitt ...
Himself - 'The Gipper'
James Baker ...
Himself - 'The Rabbit'
Raymond Martos ...
Himself - 'The Bull'
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Melbourne I. Feltman
Margaret McCarron
Kennie Turner
Edit

Storyline

Filmmakers (and brothers) Albert and David Maysles follow four employees of a company that makes expensive, ornate, illustrated bibles as they attempt to sell the items door-to-door to less-than-interested customers, who are mainly poor or lower-middle-class Catholics with little money to spend on pretty Bibles. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caixeiro-Viajante  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$105,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1992. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Strongbad_email.exe: Disc Four (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Yesterday
(uncredited)
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Percy Faith
[Plays on stereo in customer's home]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Searing and unforgettable
8 February 1999 | by (Louisville, KY USA) – See all my reviews

As with Frederick Wiseman's "Titicut Follies," the Maysles brothers' "Salesman" is truly a landmark for the "cinema verite" documentary movement of the 1960s. Although the former is shockingly realistic in a sensational way, "Salesman" is actually the more disturbing for showing the Hell-on-earth that marks the workaday world for most of humanity. If ever a film shows that most people "lead lives of quiet desperation," this is it. In my lifetime of viewing films, I've never seen a non-fiction film more affecting and poignant. That this film didn't make the AFI Top 100 is practically scandalous. Be forewarned, this is an oppressively sad, yet slyly funny, film that is not easy to watch. It speaks volumes about American business practices, the ties between business and organized religion, the exploitation of religious belief (and its perversion via materialism), the dehumanization of workers, the crushing wisdom that can come with aging, the scary mindset of suburban denizens, and a lot more. If ever anyone had the right to ask the question, "Is that all there is?" it would be Paul, an aging Bible salesman having trouble meeting his sales quota, who serves as the film's central character. The film is brutally honest, yet powerfully manipulative. It does beg the question: how much is real and how much is affected by the presence of the cameras? One does feel, after seeing this, that reality is just as bad as Dorothy Parker said it was. For those who fail, the American Dream is a nightmare. In short, a film you'll never forget.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did anyone else happen to notice.... santo1967
Motel phone call william-wolfe
Where can i watch this film? chasingtimmy
$50 in 1968 worth $335 in 2014 equalthree
What's a Quaddie? seanh-10
When is this fil getting a region free release ? chasswaffield
Discuss Salesman (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page