IMDb > I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
I Never Sang for My Father
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I Never Sang for My Father (1970) More at IMDbPro »

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I Never Sang for My Father -- Based on the Robert Anderson play, it is the story of an 80-year-old man's dominance over his widowed son, and belligerence towards his daughter who married a Jew. The son tries unsuccessfully to communicate with his father after his mother's death, and the years of competition and looking for recognition cause futility.


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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert Anderson (play)
Robert Anderson (screenplay)
View company contact information for I Never Sang for My Father on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 November 1971 (Sweden) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Still Remembered Thirty-Five Years Later See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Melvyn Douglas ... Tom Garrison

Gene Hackman ... Gene Garrison
Dorothy Stickney ... Margaret Garrison

Estelle Parsons ... Alice
Elizabeth Hubbard ... Dr. Peggy Thayer
Lovelady Powell ... Norma
Daniel Keyes ... Dr. Mayberry

Conrad Bain ... Rev. Sam Pell
Jon Richards ... Marvin Scott
Nikki Counselman ... Waitress
Carol Peterson ... Nurse #1
Sloane Shelton ... Nurse #2

James Karen ... Mr. Tucker (old age home director)
Gene Williams ... Dr. Jensen (state hospital director)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jean Dexter ... Hostess (uncredited)
Valerie Ogden ... Nurse #3 (uncredited)
Beverly Penberthy ... Special nurse (uncredited)

Directed by
Gilbert Cates 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Robert Anderson  play
Robert Anderson  screenplay

Produced by
Gilbert Cates .... producer
Original Music by
Al Gorgoni 
Barry Mann 
Cinematography by
Morris Hartzband 
George Stoetzel 
Film Editing by
Angelo Ross 
Casting by
Tom Ward 
Art Direction by
Hank Aldrich 
Costume Design by
Theoni V. Aldredge 
Makeup Department
John Alese .... makeup artist
Philip Leto .... hair stylist
Production Management
Phillip M. Goldfarb .... unit production manager
George Goodman .... production manager
Everett Rosenthal .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Stanley Panesoff .... first assistant director
Allan Wertheim .... second assistant director
Art Department
Sante Fiore .... master scenic artist
Sound Department
Nathan Boxer .... boom operator
Charles Federmack .... sound mixer
Stanley Mittledorf .... sound recordist
Walter Nolan .... sound effects editor
James Sabat .... sound recordist
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Samuel Dinen .... still photographer (as Sam Dinin)
Jamie Jacobson .... second assistant camera
Morton Novak .... gaffer
Fred Porrett .... camera operator
Albert Taffet .... camera operator
Felix Trimboli .... first assistant camera
Robert M. Volpe .... key grip
Tom Volpe .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Yvonne David .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Peet Begley .... assistant film editor
Other crew
Janise Bogard .... assistant to producer
Bert Gold .... title designer
Shirley Marcus .... production secretary
Peter L. Skolnik .... assistant to producer
Renata Stoia .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Netherlands:AL (2010) (DVD) | Sweden:Btl | UK:A | USA:PG | USA:GP (original rating) | West Germany:12 (video)

Did You Know?

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


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34 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
Still Remembered Thirty-Five Years Later, 27 September 2005
Author: tfbrown4 from United States

This is one film that has stayed with me since I first saw it; in spring, 1971; in a time before I had to shave everyday. The movie theater in which I saw it has long-since been turned into a touring-company playhouse...and the name of my date has long-since slipped my mind. Not really...but my wife might read this.

A friend of mine who is a physician told me that no one ages gracefully. As much as I value his friendship and judgment, Melvyn Douglas must be held as an exception to that dictum. Though his role here is little different from that of Paul Newman's father in "Hud," he plays it magnificently. One can scarcely imagine him as a romantic leading man, although he was...and opposite Greta Garbo, at that. His scene with Gene Hackman at the funeral home is too real and too devastating to pass off as "schmaltz." Gene Hackman has never given a bad performance, and his role here, as the dutiful, though semi-distant son, is (arguably) one of his best. He realizes he must live his own life...though, being a widower himself, he knows on an adult level what his father--suddenly all-too-human and frail--is suffering. He must choose between fealty to the man who gave him life and the woman who now gives his life meaning and passion. The bedroom scene, in which he discusses his doubts with her, is very real. Not every middle-aged adult has faced such choices.

I saw this film when I was 17 and have not seen it since. But as I grow older its meaning and significance grows ever-increasingly important. We, all of us, want to gain the approval of our father. Yet, our passions, those things that give meaning to our life, might not be what our father values...and so we share them with others and not with the one whose approval, love, and affirmation we most desire and most need.

Is it schmaltzy, as some have said?....Is life?

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Straightforward, honesty filmmaking onegreendress
Would have loved to see Gene as the father iamthetopp
Powerful & realistic fbm72751
Last Scene mguevarra61-1
Script? nauval
Other issues besides parent-child practicepiano
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