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An Enemy of the People (1978)

G  |   |  Drama  |  17 March 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 635 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 12 critic

A scientist stands against an entire town when he discovers their medicinal spa is polluted.



(adaptation), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aslaksen (as Richard A. Dysart)
Michael Higgins ...
John Levin ...
Ham Larsen ...
Louise Hoven ...
Glenn Ransom
Leon Charles
Harry Frazier


It's winter in a small southern Norwegian town in the late nineteenth century. After years of struggling, Dr. Thomas Stockmann and his family - his wife Catherine, their young adult daughter Petra, and their two adolescent sons Ejlif and Morten - have returned to town after being away for five years up north, he now well respected and successful as the medical resident of the Health Institute at Kirsten Springs, where he is also a board member. He devised the springs and institute as a center of therapeutic benefits on his own, but developed it with his brother, the town mayor, Peter Stockmann, who is the board chair. They have reinvigorated what was the financially crumbling town. Peter takes credit for giving Thomas this air of respectability, something that has never been important to Thomas, who would rather be seen as a man of conviction in doing the right thing. In this respect, Petra takes after her father. Thomas often writes articles for the local activist newspaper, The ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a man of courage. See more »




G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

17 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Inimigo do Povo  »

Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


(opening and end sequence)| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


It was hard for McQueen once he found the book to convince his partners at First Artists to make the film, he agreed to take a union scale fee and promised to keep the budget under 3 million. See more »


Version of Doktor Stockmann (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Vastly underrated, obscure performance by Steve McQueen
9 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Late in his brief career, Steve McQueen, a superstar for his roles in action movies, intensely wanted a chance to demonstrate his abilities in a classical framework. To that end he produced this cinematic version of the Ibsen play about a 19th-Century whistleblower and worked for scale, as did other actors. The script is adapted from the excellent adaptation done by Arthur Miller a half-century ago.

The screenplay closely follows the original work and utilizes a minimum of sets with only one exterior shoot. Despite this constriction, this film is truly unforgettable. The acting by McQueen, Richard Dysart, Charles Durning and Bibi Anderson is superb. The cinematography is excellent as well, conveying an almost tactile appreciation of period costumes and interiors of the sort found in Matewan by John Sayles.

The examination of the political and emotional whirlwinds described by Ibsen would be topical today.

The regrettable part of this enterprise was the inexplicable failure of the studio to release the film in the U.S. DVD versions can be found and used PAL videotape versions are available from the U.K., Australia and other countries that use that format.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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OFFICIAL DVD now available directly from Warner's webpage! simonhowson
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Politics, Ethics, And Ecology: Confronting the Tragedy of the Commons prowsej
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