MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 2 this week

Ordinary People (1980)

R  |   |  Drama  |  27 February 1981 (Australia)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 31,867 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 275 user | 54 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director:

Writers:

(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: June

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in June, brought to you by Swiffer.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 04 Sep 2012
 
a list of 31 titles
created 08 Dec 2013
 
a list of 26 titles
created 29 Jan 2014
 
a list of 23 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 43 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Ordinary People" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Ordinary People (1980)

Ordinary People (1980) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ordinary People.

User Polls

Won 4 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A just-divorced man must learn to care for his son on his own, and then must fight in court to keep custody of him.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive prostitute and his sickly friend struggle to survive on the streets of New York City.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Patton (1970)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw
Tom Jones (1963)
Adventure | Comedy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In eighteenth century England, "first cousins" Tom Jones and Master Blifil grew up together in privilege in the western countryside, but could not be more different in nature. Tom, the ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Albert Finney, Susannah York, George Devine
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Swim Coach
...
...
Karen
...
Joe
...
Ray (as James B. Sikking)
...
Sloan
Quinn K. Redeker ...
Ward (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Audrey
Meg Mundy ...
Grandmother
Elizabeth Hubbard ...
Ruth
...
Stillman
Edit

Storyline

Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

some films you watch, others you feel. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Gente como uno  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Sutherland portrayed a grieving father before in Don't Look Now (1973). See more »

Goofs

When Conrad is crying in the car, the tear running down his cheek disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Berger: Now. You can live with that. Can't you?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: I'm so scared! I'm scared.
Dr. Berger: Feelings are scary. And sometimes they're painful. And if you can't feel pain... you won't feel anything else either. You know what I'm saying?
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: I think so.
Dr. Berger: You're here. You're alive. Don't say you don't feel that.
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: It doesn't feel good.
Dr. Berger: It is good. Believe me.
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: How do you know?
Dr. Berger: Because I'm your friend.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Moonlight Mile (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Canon in D major
Composed by Johann Pachelbel
Arranged for mixed voices by Noel Goemanne
Additional arrangement by Jean-François Paillard (as Jean-Francois Paillard)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Ordinary is the Problem!!!!!
29 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The setting for this movie is seemingly appropriate for characterizing frustrations...The North Shore!!...Chicago's sequestered citadel of professional and avaricious elitism...A three million dollar home, trips to Europe, your kids going off to the most expensive colleges in the country, remodeling your kitchen every couple of years, and, your work-less, socially active wife being a permanent fixture at Marshall Fields!! All of these trademarks of success are taken for granted, and, they are merely expectations for the ultimate definition of a quiet bedroom community!! Acquisition of status is no longer excitement, it is, in fact, a given...The only devastating misconception to this entire scenario is that people living in the North Shore are not superhuman, they are merely overburdened, socially, financially, physically, mentally and, as this film so brilliantly depicts, EMOTIONALLY!! There is a prevailing mentality of a mandated and bothersome agenda that all of the characters in this movie must adhere to!!...The Jarretts (Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton) are a family who are shattered by perpetual tragedy and isolation, each one of them does not know what to do about the fact that the other son, Buck, has died, and Conrad (Timothy Hutton) has attempted to commit suicide!! So much of this film deals with how the misunderstanding of each other is the monster that will win out!!.. Perseverence is something that the mother thinks she can handle, but, in fact, she cannot!! The son, Conrad, lacks the necessary social stamina for the incredibly tedious task of sustaining! Finally, the father needs a bevy of facts to gather up in order for him to attain a pleasant resolve by which everyone in his family may live by!!.. This catastrophic dilemma is answered with social gatherings, vacations, an inordinate preoccupation with moral facades, and expensive therapy!! The bottom line is that a tragic undermining to every critical situation in this movie continuously prevails! Ultimately, this troublesome circumstance is such whereby Conrad and his parents need more time than this movie allows to heel all wounds even on a superficial level...Director, Robert Redford, has an incredible insight in this movie, and many white collar executive households share the exacerbations and misgivings of financial competition that this Lake Forest household had to endure!!..."Ordinary People" won for best picture in 1980, and, it is no wonder...The despondence the Jarretts faced was a horror story that could teach Stephen King a couple of tricks... The Mother feels as though she must create an illusion of contentment to the outside world, even if it is at the risk of neglecting her family's needs...Masquerading pretenses seems to have become her self-centered pet project...The father, while well intentioned, is meager and adolescent in his approach to coping with the household's turbulent consternation..It is almost as if he expects a resolution to his family's problems to be put in his stocking on Christmas morning...The son, Conrad, just resigns himself to misery and arctic desolation!! The overall predicament in this film has a frightening simplicity... The Jarret's aggregate plight is that they are alone, unhappy and confused!! Judd Hirsch is terrific as the shrink who feels sorry for this high school kid (Conrad). Conrad Jarrett is compelled to have therapy sessions with him,(Judd Hirsch). As a psychiatrist, he knows that he has to go through professionally therapeutic procedures to actually help him out...The greatest help he can offer Conrad is that he must convey to him that his problems can only be solved one step at a time. This psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch) cannot simply utter some miracle mumble jumble like Conrad's father expects him to do!! "Ordinary People" is about ordinary, well to do, upper middle class people, these are people who constantly admonish themselves for making mistakes!! They perennially imitate wealthy people, which means they are continuously fighting a losing battle! Genuine problems such as a son attempting suicide have to take a back seat to endeavors which are along the line of status games and pusillanimous charades of compulsory escalation into the realm of social register advancement!!.. Just another $250,000.00 yearly income household...ho hum!!...What is bothering you? "Everything!!" "Did we say that"..."We mean to say that nothing at all is bothering us"....The purpose of a two acre piece of property is not to be a voice in the wilderness.. Apocalyptic human pitfalls rest on apathetic shaky grounds in Chicago's North Shore Suburbia, and, they are indiscriminately shelved off into a dubious haven of callous anonymity!! Calvin Jarrett is plagued by the shattering realization of just how pitiful it is to have to attend your own son's funeral!! Tragedy fights dirty pool when it will not even allow the Jarretts to know exactly what the unanswered questions are in their dreadfully befuddled lives!! This situational dilemma manifests itself by pointing out several acrimonious facts: People who seem alright may not be. Household upheaval and family hardships will go quite awhile before they are even mollified. Also, the beautiful cinematography of the deciduous Lake Forrest autumn erupts as a polar opposite to what emotional ugliness lurks in the Jarrett's domicile!! This movie concludes at a glimmer of hope for Conrad, which symbolizes a demoralizing, and almost hopelessly rudimentary progress for the entire Jarrett Family, YES!! this is very, very, very, DEPRESSING!!! Unfortunately, this situation is extremely realistic! "Ordinary People" is an outstanding movie for a variety of reasons.. Mostly for the fact that it illustrates how clinical depression cannot be instantly cured just because there are only 18 minutes left to the movie!! I give it five stars out of five stars!!!


133 of 192 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
SCENE THAT'S CRINGE INDUCING Missyrocks
Where would Beth be today? BriGuy1211
I demand an honorary Oscar for Donald Sutherland! truepolo88
Mary Tyler Moore should have won the Oscar! Writerchamp13
Karen's father IloveMuggy
other films about dysfunctional families? FliptFlopt
Discuss Ordinary People (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?