7.8/10
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287 user 60 critic

Ordinary People (1980)

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:

(novel), (screenplay)
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2,495 ( 850)

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Won 4 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1981 (Italy)  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the book and in the early drafts of the screenplay Calvin has a drinking problem. The movie glosses over this, except at the party scene where you see him getting drunk and then Beth yells at him in the car about drinking too much. Other than that, it's never mentioned. See more »

Goofs

When Karen and Conrad at the restaurant, the straw in Karen hands starts unwrapped, then becomes wrapped, and then suddenly jumps into the Coke. See more »

Quotes

Buck: Dad's gonna haul our asses when we get back!
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: I don't think it's so goddamned funny
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Connections

Referenced in Rain Man (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden
(1969) (uncredited)
Written by Joe South
Sung a cappella a bit by Judd Hirsch
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User Reviews

 
Great Family Drama
20 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a powerful directing debut from Robert Redford, a great family drama that goes every which way but down. By the end, our thoughts have been altered a bit and its a film that leaves you thinking.

Conrad, played brilliantly by Timothy Hutton in an Oscar winning role, is the depressed suicidal son of a couple struggling to cope with their son's drowning death. Conrad of course feels responsible, and has already tried to take his own life once before.

Reluctantly, he begins to see a shrink at the advice of his father. Dr. Berger, also played brilliantly by Judd Hirsch {though there are no slouches in the cast}, helps Conrad through thick and thin. By the end of the movie, the audience truly feels for all characters to some degree.

As has been stated, the acting is magnificent. The story may seem simple but this type of film really doesn't need a heavy plot. Its an excellent look at the problems we all face. When I first saw this at a young age I related completely to Conrad's character. When I saw this tonight, I related more to the adults and could really feel for them a lot more than I remembered. Each character has a unique sense of reality to them. The actors really carry the film, making the characters seem like real people we've known for years.

Unfortunately this movie has received somewhat of a bad reputation over the years as the film that beat Raging Bull in 1980 for the Best Picture and Director Oscars. While both movies are excellent, its sad that one has to be better than the other and people just don't enjoy both movies for what they are. Many people have preconceived opinions about this 'small' film they have not heard of. After all, Raging Bull is an all time classic. Just watch this movie with an open mind, because it really works on every level as a powerful family drama detailing the persona of many different types of people.


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