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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 90,458 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 171 user | 73 critic | 9 from

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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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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are three sides to this love story!




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kramer Versus Kramer  »

Box Office


$106,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Meryl Streep shot her scenes for Manhattan (1979) during breaks in filming. See more »


After Ted throws the wine glass at the wall, Joanna goes from having one hand at her jaw to having both hands. See more »


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


Referenced in Sky Dancers: Skyler vs. Skyler (1996) See more »


Sonata for Trumpet and Strings: 2. Adagio 3. Presto
Henry Purcell
Adapted by John Kander
Conducted by Paul Gemignani
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Great End to a Great Decade of Best Picture Winners.
15 March 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Kramer vs. Kramer" is probably the weakest winner of the Best Picture Oscar in the 1970s, but that does not mean that this it is not an excellent film that more than delivers. The film deals with a career man (Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman) who must rear his young son (Justin Henry, the youngest Oscar-nominee ever) after his wife (Oscar-winner Meryl Streep) leaves them with no real explanation. What follows is a heart-touching story about the man who finally learns what it means to be a father and a boy who learns who his father really is. Of course the film becomes heart-rending later as Streep returns after a long absence and wants to take Hoffman to court for custody of their son. "Kramer vs. Kramer" then becomes an intense courtroom drama that has few equals. Robert Benton's Oscar-winning direction and screenplay could have fallen flat several times, but he stays focused throughout and his plan works to near perfection. Of course the aforementioned performances and the performance of Oscar-nominee Jane Alexander are the primary calling cards of the film. Hoffman and Streep are at the top of their careers here and their acts are electric and thunderous from start to finish. All in all, "Kramer vs. Kramer" could have been unintentionally funny or even down-right dull, but the film is so well-made and acted that it succeeds with stunning results. 5 stars out of 5.

24 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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