Death Takes a Holiday (1971)

TV Movie  |   |  Fantasy, Drama  |  23 October 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 152 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

Death takes a human form and visits Earth to try to find out why humans want so desperately to cling to life. He unexpectedly falls in love with a beautiful young woman.



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Cast overview:
Peggy Chapman
David Smith
Selena Chapman
John Cummings
Judge Earl Chapman
Senator Earl Chapman, Jr.
Marion Chapman
Austin Willis ...
Martin Herndon
Tony Chapman
Maureen Reagan ...
Ellen Chapman
Regis Cordic ...
TV Announcer
Mario Machado ...
TV Announcer


Death takes a human form and visits Earth to try to find out why humans want so desperately to cling to life. He unexpectedly falls in love with a beautiful young woman.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fantasy | Drama





Release Date:

23 October 1971 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[last lines]
David Smith: Peggy, if I don't stay I'll have to take you, and I can't! I love you, Peggy! I can't take all those years of living from you, not when you make them count for so much!
Peggy Chapman: David, I've waited for you all my life! Do you know what I'm saying? All my life!
[They embrace]
Peggy Chapman: If I go with you, can we be together as we are right now?
David Smith: Yes.
Peggy Chapman: For ever?
David Smith: More.
Peggy Chapman: Then I want to go with you. Now.
David Smith: Peggy, I can't promise you that it will be either more or less than you may have imagined.
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Remake of Death Takes a Holiday (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good Version of the Play
29 August 2015 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Death Takes a Holiday (1971)

*** (out of 4)

Peggy Chapman (Yvette Mimieux) is out swimming when she begins to struggle under the sea. Moments later she wakes up on the beach with David Smith (Monte Markham) standing there. She invites the man back to her family's home but soon her father (Melvyn Douglas) begins to think that the man might just be Death himself.

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY is a classic play that has been filmed many times over the decades including a wonderful version from 1934 that featured Fredric March. While this made-for-TV version isn't nearly as great, this film is certainly highly entertaining and manages to hit on all the key parts of the play as well as featuring some excellent performances from the cast.

I've always found the idea of Death taking a vacation and not collecting any souls to be quite fascinating and this film manages to make all the strong points in only 74 minutes. There are so many fascinating things dealing with the story including the discussion on why people fear Death so much and why many will fight it even if they are unhappy on Earth. There are so many interesting things discussed here and it's truly the type of story that makes you think and wonder about your own life.

The performances are certainly a very strong point here with both Mimieux and Markham doing an excellent job in their roles. Both of them certainly make you believe in these characters and there's no doubt that they make for a great couple. Douglas is simply wonderful as the old man who begins to suspect that Death is near but not quite sure who for. Him and Markham have a sequence where they go back and forth on the subject and it's wonderfully performed. Myrna Loy also appears as the wife and Bert Convy is on hand as well.

The 1934 version of the play is still the best that I've seen but this television movie is certainly worth checking out.

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