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Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981)

R | | Drama | 22 January 1982 (USA)
Ken Harrison is an artist who makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck down. All he can do is talk, and he wants to die. In hospital he ... See full summary »



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Michael Emerson
Dr. Clare Scott
Carter Hill
Judge Wyler
Kaki Hunter ...
Mary Jo Sadler
Orderly John
Alba Oms ...
Nurse Rodriguez
Janet Eilber ...
Kathryn Grody ...
Mrs. Boyle
Dr. Jacobs
Dr. Barr
Ward Costello ...
Mr. Eden
Alston Ahern ...
Day Nurse
Betty Cole ...
ICU Nurse


Ken Harrison is an artist who makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck down. All he can do is talk, and he wants to die. In hospital he make friends with some of the staff, and they support him when he goes to trial to be allowed to die. Written by Eva Kristin Berntzen <eva@himolde.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll have a lot of laughs.....before you cry. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

C'est ma vie, après tout!  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The hospital depicted in the film is actually a set on the old MGM lot. Production Designer Gene Callahan designed it in a way that was accessible for the characters to see one another and actually feel comfortable being there. For example, he would have glass windows in the patients rooms so the doctors and nurses in the film could actually see their patients, in this case mainly Richard Dreyfuss. See more »


Ken Harrison: How does a quadriplegic cross the road? He was stapled to a chicken.
See more »


Referenced in The Golden Girls: Whose Face Is This, Anyway? (1987) See more »


Punkette Nights
Words and Music by Michael Starobin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A stunning and emotional masterpiece.
12 December 1999 | by (Austin, Texas, USA) – See all my reviews

Years before Dr. Kevorkian brought the right to die into the national spotlight and made it a subject of public debate, Richard Dreyfuss's magnificent performance and Brian Clark's wonderful screenplay made the most cogent and realistic fictional argument I've seen on the issue. Dreyfuss is, without a doubt, a stellar performer -- in everything from "The Goodbye Girl" to "Mr. Holland's Opus," he consistently excels, but watching this movie again, I was flabbergasted by his ability. Using nothing but his head, he managed to evoke a stunning range of emotions. In my opinion, this is one of the better movies made in the last twenty years of the twentieth century.

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Why Hasn't This Incredible Film Been Released On DVD? amovielover
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John in the film akite1-1
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