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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?


Director John Badham wanted and fought for the film being shot in black and white. MGM balked at the idea and to appease Badham, MGM suggested that they shoot the film in color and during post-production produce a black and white negative as a compromise. See more »


Dr. Michael Emerson: You'll be fine.
Ken Harrison: [sarcastically] Are you kidding?
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

Great Performances
12 June 2004 | by (Canton,Michigan) – See all my reviews

This film is among the best of all time. I've seldom seen a movie in which all actors -- from the star to the smallest bit player -- deliver such forceful, realistic performances. I felt as if I were actually in that hospital room with Ken Harrison et al. While the film, which is about a sculpture who becomes a quadriplegic in a car accident and then decides to die rather than live life in that condition, has a seemingly depressing plot line, it is actually uplifting. Richard Dreyfus has the remarkable ability to infuse the main character with humor as well as sadness. It is a tribute to the director, writers, and actors that this movie, which could have easily been a maudlin weepy, turned out to be a paean to the indomitable human spirit.

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