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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 91,620 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 171 user | 73 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.



(from the novel by), (written for the screen by)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 32 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phyllis Bernard (as Jobeth Williams)
Bill Moor ...
Howland Chamberlain ...
Jack Ramage ...
Jess Osuna ...
Ellen Parker ...
Shelby Brammer ...
Ted's Secretary
Carol Nadell ...
Mrs. Kline


Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted, however, refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are three sides to this love story!




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kramer Versus Kramer  »

Box Office


$106,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and released about two years after its source novel of the same name by Avery Corman had been first published in 1977. See more »


When Billy is waiting for Ted to fetch him after the birthday party, he sits on the chair with his left leg tucked under the right leg. In the next shot, his right leg is tucked under his left leg. See more »


[first lines]
Joanna Kramer: I love you, Billy.
Billy Kramer: I love you too, Mommy.
See more »


Featured in 100 Years at the Movies (1994) See more »


Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Sung a cappella by Justin Henry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Le Divorce Et L'Infant
11 July 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

One word that comes to mind when describing 'Kramer vs. Kramer' is terrific. Benton's direction and screenplay are solid but what also seems to have worked very well was that he gave his actors the freedom to improvise and was open to their suggestions. Not once, does the film lose focus (credit goes to the fine editing department). It's very much a character driven drama with fabulous acting. Perhaps, it's the freedom the actors had which makes their performances look more natural and their on screen interactions very real. I wonder how cathartic it was for the great Dustin Hoffman to play Ted Kramer as he himself was going through a rough divorce. A brilliant Meryl Streep too was still in the grieving process of having lost her loved one. The fabulous Jane Alexander seems to have a comfortable off screen interaction with her co-stars and she too did a lot of improvisation. The same can be said for child actor Justin Henry. The result is excellent performances by all four actors. The whimsical score (that comprises of famous numbers from composers like Vivaldi) beautifully adds to the mood. These days court room divorce dramas have become quite popular on TV but they lack the authenticity, humbleness and simplicity of 'Kramer vs Kramer'.

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