IMDb > The Bell Jar (1979)
The Bell Jar
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The Bell Jar (1979) More at IMDbPro »


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5.7/10   185 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Marjorie Kellogg (writer)
Sylvia Plath (novel)
View company contact information for The Bell Jar on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 October 1979 (Denmark) See more »
Sometimes just being a woman is an act of courage.
Details a young woman's summer in New York working for a Mademoiselle-like magazine, return home to New England... See more » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
Instead of "Sylvia" see this original movie about Plath See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order)
Marilyn Hassett ... Esther Greenwood

Julie Harris ... Mrs. Greenwood

Jameson Parker ... Buddy Willard

Anne Jackson ... Dr. Nolan

Barbara Barrie ... Jay Cee

Robert Klein ... Lenny
Donna Mitchell ... Joan

Mary Louise Weller ... Doreen

Thaao Penghlis ... Marco
Scott McKay ... Mr. Gilling
Meg Mundy ... Bea Ramsey
Carole Monferdini ... Hilda
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ruth Antonofsky ... Singer
Dick Carballo ... Frankie
Allan Eisenman ... Cab driver

Christine Estabrook ... Student editor
David Faulkner ... Professor Edwards
Annie Gagen ... Student Editor (as Ruth Van Poons)
Michael Gordon ... Cab driver

Nicholas Guest ... Young man
Margaret Hall ... Jane McLode
Dan Hannafin ... Doorman

Roxanne Hart
Karen Howard ... Toni LaBouchere
Elizabeth Hubbard ... Vikki St. John
Carolyn Hurlburt ... Jody
Beth McDonald ... Student editor

Debbie McLeod ... Betsy
Bonnie Parker ... Nurse
Bonnie Sue Parker ... Nurse
Gil Rogers ... Dr. Richards
Shelley Rogers ... Student editor

Boomer Tibbs ... Waiter
Peggy E. Turnley ... Nurse
Ruth Van Poons ... Student editor

Directed by
Larry Peerce 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Marjorie Kellogg  writer
Sylvia Plath  novel

Produced by
Monroe Arnold .... associate producer
Monroe Arnold .... executive producer
Andrew Bonime .... co-producer
Jerrold T. Brandt Jr. .... producer
Milt Felsen .... associate producer
Robert A. Goldston .... executive producer
Tony LaMarca .... co-producer
Michael Todd Jr. .... producer
Original Music by
Gerald Fried 
Cinematography by
Gerald Hirschfeld 
Film Editing by
Marvin Walowitz 
Production Design by
John Robert Lloyd 
Set Decoration by
Paul Hefferan  (as Paul Heffernan)
Don Holtzman 
Costume Design by
Donald Brooks 
Production Management
George Manasse .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Steve Barnett .... first assistant director
Frank Simpson .... second assistant director
Sound Department
Richard Gramaglia .... sound mixer
Robert Gramaglia .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Gil Geller .... camera operator
Edward Gold .... camera operator
Sal Martorano .... electrician
Other crew
Harold Adler .... title designer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min | Australia:113 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Director Larry Peerce and star Marilyn Hassett were married at the time of production.See more »
Errors in geography: New York taxis, (unlike L.A. cabs) do not now nor did they ever have their telephone numbers on them.See more »
Movie Connections:
Here Comes The NightSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Instead of "Sylvia" see this original movie about Plath, 14 January 2006
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States

This movie is one of the few I actually bought several copies of. Though it is circa 1979, it is not dated, and so much more effective than the recent "Sylvia" film, which is dominated by Gwyneth Paltrow's persona.

Marilyn Hassett plays the principal role, and does an excellent job. She does not overshadow the personality of Sylvia Plath, who was an interesting, conflicted and brilliant individual.

The story follows Sylvia at Smith College, where a young Donna Mitchell ("Mona Lisa Smile" mother to Kirsten Dunst), plays her best friend. The scenery invokes New England autumn, promise and hope. Julie Harris is perfect as Aurelia Plath, Sylvia's mother. We can almost feel Sylvia's disdain, as her mother reminds Sylvia ...""you got nothing but straight A's....oh, except for deportment"... Her mother is always at her, and this mirrors Sylvia's eventual faltering self-image.

The story progresses as she wins a scholarship to NY where ..."ëvery one envied me that summer"... However, there is the fateful backdrop of the Rosenbergs, the Eisenhower era, and Sylvia's doubts about her future. We see fashion shows, jewelry, cosmetics, and the fear Sylvia has of what awaits her. One should also read the book to get her true impressions, which are quite astute, reflecting women's roles in the late 1950's.

Since it was the late 50's Sylvia was expected to marry, but does not see this as a viable solution, indeed it is a hindrance to her writing career. She is on the brink of decision, when she has the ultimate breakdown; I will not delineate the detail, you must watch the brilliantly constructed story, which leads her to her decision. The main issue I liked was that her life was shown, not in conjunction with a man (like the more recent movie) but how SHE was affected, and what life meant to her.

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