IMDb > Providence (1977)
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Providence (1977) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
9 February 1977 (France) See more »
Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
12 wins & 1 nomination See more »
(19 articles)
The Always Outrageous Elaine Stritch Is Dead
 (From Moviefone. 17 July 2014, 8:50 AM, PDT)

Alain Resnais' "Life of Riley": The Mole's Gaze
 (From MUBI. 17 June 2014, 6:34 AM, PDT)

Juergen Hellwig dies aged 66
 (From ScreenDaily. 14 May 2014, 11:13 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Playfully bizarre and thought provoking See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Dirk Bogarde ... Claude Langham

Ellen Burstyn ... Sonia Langham

John Gielgud ... Clive Langham

David Warner ... Kevin Langham / Kevin Woodford

Elaine Stritch ... Helen Wiener
Cyril Luckham ... Doctor Mark Eddington

Denis Lawson ... Dave Woodford (as Dennis Lawson)

Kathryn Leigh Scott ... Miss Boon
Milo Sperber ... Mr. Jenner
Anna Wing ... Karen
Peter Arne ... Nils
Tanya Lopert ... Miss Lister
Joseph Pittoors ... An Old Man
Samson Fainsilber ... The Old Man

Directed by
Alain Resnais 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Mercer 

Produced by
Philippe Dussart .... executive producer
Lise Fayolle .... associate producer
Yves Gasser .... producer
Juergen Hellwig .... associate producer
Klaus Hellwig .... producer
Yves Peyrot .... producer
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa 
Cinematography by
Ricardo Aronovich 
Film Editing by
Albert Jurgenson 
Production Design by
Jacques Saulnier 
Art Direction by
Michel Breton 
Jean-Claude Cabouret 
Daniel Pierre 
Claude Serre 
Costume Design by
Catherine Leterrier 
Makeup Department
Régine Havan .... makeup artist (as Régine Ha-Van)
Victor Merinow .... makeup artist
Michel Trigon .... hair stylist
Marie-Hélène Yastchenkoff .... makeup artist
Production Management
Michel Choquet .... production manager
Fernand Dubois .... unit manager
Yvonne Frèche .... unit manager
Antoine Gannagé .... production manager
Gérard Gaultier .... unit manager
Jacqueline Louis .... unit manager
Joëlle Picaud .... unit manager
Roland Sabary .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Reynald Lampert .... second assistant director
John Lvoff .... second assistant director
Florence Malraux .... first assistant director
Guy Pinon .... assistant director
Art Department
Françoise Hardy .... set dresser
Charles Merangel .... set designer
Sound Department
René Magnol .... sound
Jacques Maumont .... sound
Claude Plouganou .... sound editor
Jean Schwarz .... electronic effects sounds
Camera and Electrical Department
Philippe Brun .... camera operator
Bernard Journoux .... electrician
Jacques Labesse .... camera operator
Daniel Smague .... camera operator
Jürgen Vollmer .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John Bates .... costumer
Editorial Department
Jean-Pierre Besnard .... assistant editor
Music Department
Miklós Rózsa .... conductor
Christopher Palmer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Daniel Champagnon .... production unit assistant
Marie-José Guissart .... continuity
François Vila .... press agent

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
110 min | USA:104 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

John Gielgud, who spent most of his career on the stage, considered this film and the television miniseries "Brideshead Revisited" (1981) to be his only two screen appearances that he was genuinely proud of.See more »
Kevin Woodford:Are you the lady who's dying?
Helen Wiener:[drily] Yes, I'm the lady who's dying.
Claude Langham:Refreshingly direct, isn't he? I understand that his mind is in outer space most of the time, so that when it returns it has a cosmic scale of values.
See more »
Movie Connections:


What then young and still brilliant musical theater composer was slated to write the score for "Providence," but declined at the last minute?
See more »
24 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
Playfully bizarre and thought provoking, 9 December 2002
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

How often do we awake from our dreams in a sweat, not knowing what is real and what is illusion? Especially if we are feverish, our dreams can turn close friends or family members into ogres and hateful creatures (or possibly werewolves) who are bent on our destruction. Such is the case with novelist Clive Langham (John Gielgud), a dying 78 year-old writer who is working on his final novel in the playfully bizarre 1977 English language film, Providence, by Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad, Muriel). The film depicts how physical and mental anguish can distort our view of reality. A poetic screenplay by playwright David Mercer and powerful performances by John Gielgud, Ellen Burstyn, Dirk Bogarde, Elaine Strich, and David Warner provide strong support.

Clive does not go gentle into that good night. During one horrific night, all the pain of his life and disturbing family relationships boil to the surface. In the novel being played out in the author's mind, his family members, sons Claude (Dirk Bogarde) and Kevin (David Warner), and Claude's wife Sonia (Ellen Burstyn), mysteriously become the main protagonists, assuming roles as prosecutors and defendants, feuding spouses, and extra-marital lovers. As Clive goes deeper into the maelstrom, images become more and more hallucinatory. The denouement is witty, baffling, irritating, and then finally transcendent. To say that the ending is a surprise is a major understatement.

Providence may exasperate you but, if you have patience, it can be a richly rewarding experience. As with all thought provoking and multi-layered films, multiple viewing may be required for full appreciation. Providence was voted the greatest film of the '70s by an international jury of critics and, at Telluride, Norman Mailer called it "the greatest film ever made on the creative process".

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