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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 90,331 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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Won 5 Oscars. Another 38 wins & 17 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 <>

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:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The highest-grossing movie of 1979. 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 »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Nekromantik (2011) See more »


Concerto in C Major for Mandolin and Strings: 1. Allegro
Antonio Vivaldi
Adapted and Conducted by Herb Harris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brilliant drama
8 June 2000 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

"Kramer vs. Kramer" is a terrific drama about an unhappy woman who walks out on her husband and young son. The husband now has to take up the responsibilities of taking care of the boy. As he does, they get to know each other better. But then, the mother and wife returns, and she wants custody of the boy. "Kramer vs. Kramer" has lots of drama with some wonderful bits of comedy thrown in for good measure. Dustin Hoffman won his first Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant performance here. Most people say his performance in "Rainman", which won him his second Oscar, is his best. He was great in that film, but I disagree that its his best. In my opinion, the best performance of Hoffman's career is in this movie. Scene after scene shows us why Hoffman is one of the best American actors working today. He's also funny at times. Also giving a terrific performance is Meryl Streep, who wasn't as well known when she made this film like she is today. Streep, like Hoffman, also won her first Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress) for her work in "Kramer vs. Kramer" as the wife and mother who tries to find herself after walking out on her family. Justin Henry, who was only 8 years old when the film came out, is wonderful as Hoffman and Streep's son. He won an Oscar nomination for his role here, and still to this day he is the youngest performer to receive an Oscar nomination in a competitive category (Best Supporting Actor). Jane Alexander is also fine as a conserned family friend. She too got an Oscar nomination (for Supporting Actress where she lost to co-star Streep). "Kramer vs. Kramer" is a great film from start to finish. Writer-director Robert Benton has made a film that's absolutely unforgettable.

**** (out of four)

59 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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