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I Never Sang for My Father (1970)

GP  -  Drama  -  22 November 1971 (Sweden)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,242 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

A man who wants to move on with his life by moving to California and marry his girlfriend, finds it difficult as he still lives in the towering shadow of his aging father.

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Title: I Never Sang for My Father (1970)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dorothy Stickney ...
...
Elizabeth Hubbard ...
Dr. Margaret 'Peggy' Thayer
Lovelady Powell ...
Norma
Daniel Keyes ...
...
Jon Richards ...
Nikki Counselman ...
Waitress
Carol Peterson ...
Nurse #1
Sloane Shelton ...
Nurse #2
...
Mr. Tucker (old age home director)
Gene Williams ...
Dr. Jensen (state hospital director)
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Storyline

Hackman plays a New York professor who wants a change in his life, and plans to get married to his girlfriend and move to California. His mother understands his need to get away, but warns him that moving so far away could be hard on his father. Just before the wedding, the mother dies. Hackman's sister (who has been disowned by their father for marrying a Jewish man) advises him to live his own life, and not let himself be controlled by their father. Written by Kristian Krokfoss <krokus@online.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

22 November 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Strangers  »

Filming Locations:

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Color:

(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Widmark was playwright Robert Anderson's first choice for the son role in both the theatrical and film versions of the play. One proposal had Fredric March as the father, another had it as a TV special with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as the parents. See more »

Quotes

Gene Garrison: I hate him. And I hate to hate him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Boy Meets World: I Never Sang for My Legal Guardian (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Strangers
Written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
Performed by Roy Clark
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User Reviews

 
Amazing
7 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I find myself recommending this movie to people all the time. It is such a clear picture of the challenges faced by anyone trying to help an aging parent.

But there is another aspect to it that I love. It is one of the few serious films I've seen that shows the effect of a character being viewed as the salt of the earth, heroic and charming by outsiders, but who is nasty, judgmental and selfish with his own family. Whatever has happened due to Douglas' character aging and beginning to lose his mental faculties, you know that this particular pain has been part of his children's lives forever.

Such a relationship is always difficult -- it is especially so with an older relative who has truly done heroic things, and who is respected and loved even by those he abuses. It puts everyone who knows his darker side in a bizarre and awkward position, seeming like villains for ever saying a word against a much-admired person.

This movie captures the agony and poignancy of such a relationship perfectly, and shows the various levels of maturity with which one's family can choose to respond. The character's daughter needs to stay away, his son takes it with a grain of salt, as evidenced by his wry smile and mild answer when his fiancée finds his father "charming." This is a must-see film, for more reasons than I can list here.


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