IMDb > Quintet (1979)
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Quintet (1979) More at IMDbPro »

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Quintet -- Robert Altman's somber science fiction tale that takes place after a nuclear holocaust has thrown the world into another Ice Age.
Quintet -- Tumbling dice in this trailer for the thriller


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5.2/10   2,013 votes »
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Frank Barhydt (screenplay) &
Robert Altman (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Quintet on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 August 1979 (West Germany) See more »
One man against the world.
During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(14 articles)
The Return Of Rene Clement’S Forbidden Games (1952)
 (From Trailers from Hell. 27 August 2015, 10:56 AM, PDT)

California Split is One of Many Altman Greats Hitting Moma
 (From Village Voice. 9 December 2014, 9:00 PM, PST)

Film Review: ‘Altman’
 (From Variety - Film News. 20 June 2014, 9:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Another misunderstood Altman orphan See more (61 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Paul Newman ... Essex

Vittorio Gassman ... St. Christopher

Fernando Rey ... Grigor

Bibi Andersson ... Ambrosia

Brigitte Fossey ... Vivia
Nina van Pallandt ... Deuca (as Nina Van Pallandt)
David Langton ... Goldstar
Thomas Hill ... Francha (as Tom Hill)
Monique Mercure ... Redstone's Mate

Craig Richard Nelson ... Redstone
Maruska Stankova ... Jaspera
Anne Gerety ... Aeon
Michel Maillot ... Obelus
Max Fleck ... Wood Supplier
Françoise Berd ... Charity House Woman (as Francoise Berd)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emil Glassbourg ... Lost Soul (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Altman 
Writing credits
Frank Barhydt (screenplay by) &
Robert Altman (screenplay by) and
Patricia Resnick (screenplay by)

Robert Altman (story by) &
Lionel Chetwynd (story by) &
Patricia Resnick (story by)

Produced by
Robert Altman .... producer
Allan F. Nicholls .... associate producer (as Allan Nicholls)
Tommy Thompson .... executive producer
Original Music by
Tom Pierson (music composed by)
Cinematography by
Jean Boffety (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Dennis M. Hill 
Casting by
Luca Kouimelis 
Production Design by
Leon Ericksen 
Art Direction by
Wolf Kroeger 
Costume Design by
Scott Bushnell 
Makeup Department
Monty Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jim Kaufman .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Braive .... second assistant director
Tommy Thompson .... assistant director
Art Department
Stephen Altman .... property master (as Steve Altman)
Stéphane Reichel .... assistant to art director (as Stephane Reichel)
Andre Brochu .... construction supervisor (uncredited)
Sound Department
Sam Gemette .... sound editor
Robert Gravenor .... sound
David M. Horton .... special sound effects designer (as David Horton)
Richard Portman .... rerecording
Hal Sanders .... sound editor
Special Effects by
Tom Fisher .... special effects
John Thomas .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Andy Chmura .... camera assistant
John Daoust .... key grip (as Johnny Daoust)
Robert Guertin .... camera assistant
Kevin O'Connell .... gaffer (as Kevin O'Connel)
Al Smith .... camera assistant
Paul Van der Linden .... camera operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John Hay .... wardrobe
J. Allen Highfill .... costumer
Editorial Department
Jim Carter .... editorial apprentice
Raja Gosnell .... assistant editor (as Raja R. Gosnell)
William Hoy .... assistant editor
Richard Whitfield .... editorial apprentice
Music Department
London Symphony Orchestra .... music performer (as The London Symphony Orchestra)
Tom Pierson .... conductor
Ted Whitfield .... music editor
Transportation Department
Peter Bray .... transportation coordinator
Melanie Johnson .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Victoria Barney .... project coordinator
Monique Champagne .... script supervisor
Elaine Di Bello Bradish .... assistant to producer (as Elaine di Bello Bradish)
Dick Dubuque .... project accountant
David Fitzgerald .... assistant to producer
Glen Garner .... head trainer: Rottweiler dogs (as Glenn Garner)
Ralph M. Leo .... project auditor (as Ralph Leo)
Patrice Ryan .... title design
Rita Shaffer .... project manager
Ed Horwitz .... personal assistant: Robert Altman (uncredited)
Danièle Rohrbach .... production secretary (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
118 min | Argentina:116 min | Portugal:110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The five different tokens used in the "Quintet" board-game were the starfish, the red amulet, the ice crystal, the scalloped cross, and the mushroom-shaped token.See more »
Grigor:...and talk about life.
Essex:The only thing I've seen is death, or the prospect of it.
Grigor:But that's what makes life worthwhile; every time you cheat death, you feel the pure thrill of life
See more »
Movie Connections:


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19 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
Another misunderstood Altman orphan, 20 February 1999
Author: matthew wilder ( from los angeles

QUINTET is generally regarded as the greatest blooper of Altman's career, a pretentious embarrassment attributable to an overconsumption of drugs, power or both. Seeing it again twenty years later, it sparkles as one of Altman's bravest achievements.

Set in an apocalyptic snowscape so blasted it makes the Coens' Fargo look homy, it's ostensibly about a loner played by Paul Newman trying to fight his way to shelter or safety, blocked by the survivors' lethal betting game, Quintet. But that just suggests the thinnest layer of skin on this movie, which evokes a collaboration between the Tarkovsky of SOLARIS and STALKER and a crotchety American modernist like Aaron Copland.

What astounds in this movie is Altman's ability to use his flexible, improvisatory, colloquial style to create a geography of dreams as palpable and authentic as David Lynch's. (Moments of this movie, with their garish, one-of-a-kind production design, suggest the outre fantasias of the great Spanish B director Jesus Franco.) The cinematographer Jean Boffety softens the corners of the lens to create a snowbound, claustral feeling in every image, and Altman conjures scenes that could only have come from dreams: dogs on a snowy hillock feasting on the flesh of dead men in black, forming a living Motherwell painting; a concrete 411 directory made of painted glass charts, shattered and spinning, that tinkle like wind chimes.

The composer Tom Pierson's work--alternately elegiac and horrific--equals the finest, most dissonant scores Jerry Goldsmith wrote for Peckinpah. And the film reminds you that, of all contemporary directors, Altman is the most able to unearth pictures of naked dread from the unconscious--remember the ruby-eyed statue glaring in the dark in A WEDDING, or the rape fantasias glimmering on the swimming-pool bottom at night in THREE WOMEN? We think of Altman as the great democrat of American cinema, the first to tell stories about interwoven communities rather than heroic subjects. And we think of him telling them in his patented offhand, homespun voice. QUINTET is a reminder that Altman is also one of our great lyric poets, a high-flier who like his hero lays it all on every roll of the dice. In QUINTET, Altman throws away all the gifts he'd come to rely on--and time reveals that this daring long shot paid off big.

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