A Matter of Life and Death (1981)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  13 January 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 24 users  
Reviews: 1 user

The true story of a nurse who spent her life caring for terminally ill patients.



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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nurse Joy Ufema
Mary Coggins
Ramon Bieri ...
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ...
Mr. Duffy
Shad Fleming
Peter Donat ...
Dr. Whedon
Bud Coggins
Mr. McBain
Ben Piazza ...
Dr. Laurie
Dr. Burgess
Sally Lyons
Barbara Cason ...
Nurse Barnes


The true story of a nurse who spent her life caring for terminally ill patients.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 January 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aprender a morir  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production of the Lorimar MOW "A Matter of Life and Death" project was produced by the Lorimar Television division located on the Culver City-MGM Film lot. The MGM Studios art department offices/drafting room facilities had been taken over by the Lorimar Production Services division. Lorimar Production manager Edward O. Denault's Production Services division was the following: Richard "Dick" Hamond was Lorimar's Supervising Art Director. Hamond hired the art director, staffed and supervised the art department affiliated staff, which included set designers, model builders, illustrators, and allied staff. The Lorimar Property department manager was Pierre Bouvet, who hired the set decorator, responsible for hiring the set decorator's lead person, swing-gang-crews, property master, 2nd property master and additional personnel. Pierre maintained Lorimar property offices, furniture and prop room (furniture storage), sign shop and drapery; Paul Wurtzel was head of the Lorimar construction, paint and special effects department, with Jerry Esposito Jr. as his assistant coordinating construction manager/supervisor. MGM Studios maintained the MGM Mill, special effects, property, paint and MGM drapery department during the same period of Lorimar's move onto the studio's property. Lorimar's deal arrangement with the MGM Studio established a financial relationship requiring Lorimar to pay MGM an additional charge for the use of any MGM department and stage in their Lorimar rental contract. Because of any incurred production costs remaining on the MGM lot, The "A Matter of Life and Death" production offices were set up off the lot. The project did not rent stage facilities, filming the entire MOW on locations, all located primarily in downtown vacant L.A. office buildings. The width of hospital corridors and room interiors doors were technical problems because corridor doors were the normal 36" wide x 6'x 8" hight, preventing hospital hardware equipment and camera dolly tracks moving into the rooms. Hospital gurneys could only dress against the corridor walls. The art director Hub Braden, and set decorator Don Remacle, had their office in the MGM art department, located above the MGM commissary. The MOW's construction/paint crews were based out of one of the MGM stages Lorimar used for the film series "Knot's Landing"; Jerry Esposito's construction/paint crews prepared all location set fabrication wall units, to be installed at the locations, including counter units, supply materials, could be assembled and constructed, primed and painted, then loaded onto transportation, moved to the individual location sights. Both property and special effects crews used the same "Knot's Landing" stage as a staging point. Lorimar construction could have use of the MGM mill facility, but an extra studio charge would have been incurred; not using an MGM stage not under Lorimar contract prevented overage costs in the MOW's show budget. Rental location fees were cheaper than for a stage rental and full set construction. The same art department staff, Production Designer Hub Braden, Set Decorator Don Remacle, and the Lorimar departments were pulled back together for another Lorimar Emmy nominated MOW project "A Death In California" a year later, which again was entirely filmed on Southern California locations. Filming occurred in Brentwood residences, a ranch and residence in Santa Monica Canyons, Calabasas, and utilizing existing jail interiors on independent rental stages. See more »

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User Reviews

A rewarding TV movie for those who may watch it.

Typically TV movie scheme, for idle house wives staying at home, on the afternoon. This item has been aired in France, two or three decades ago. The story is very interesting, and I am not a "hospital film" fan. I find this kind of topics rather boring. Nothing to do here with a Michael Crichton's novel, but adapted from actual events. The true life of a dedicated nurse, who was emotionally involved with terminal ill patients, trying to sweet their life endings. She struggled to help them to get home, instead lying in hospital rooms. This film shows her daily fights against supervisors and all kinds or doctors who did not believe in her purpose.

Worth watching, and it is not too long.

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