Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey, writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Clifford Mortimer
...
...
Elizabeth
...
Mother
Michael Aldridge ...
Headmaster
...
Son as a Boy
Norman Bird ...
Ham
...
Japhet
James A. Downer ...
Reigate
Susan Littler ...
Miss Cox
Gay Wilde ...
Miss Baker
Anthony Sharp ...
Film Director
Ann Davies ...
A.T.S. Girl
Judy Riley ...
A.T.S. Girl
Jonathan Newth ...
Boustead
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Storyline

Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey, writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid-20th-century Britain. Screen legend Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch--a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Alan Bates (Gosford Park) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer himself and filmed largely on location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable--but ultimately unbreakable. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

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19 April 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les lumières de la nuit  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There had been an attempt to make a theatrical version with Rex Harrison in 1973/74 but after just a few weeks filming it ran out of money. Edward Fox also starred and he mentioned that none of the scenes filmed involved Harrison - apparently his agent was dubious that the producers had sufficient funds in place. See more »

Quotes

Clifford Mortimer: [From bedroom] My tie! Oh God, where's my tie? If only you knew the loneliness of getting dressed!
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Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Laurence Olivier: A Life (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

What a Wonderful Elegy He Made for Himself
5 May 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sir Laurence Olivier, the magnificent!! What a sweet comedy and the line to best ALL lines: "I ALWAYS get angry when I'm dying!" and he does. This was his swan song a few years before he died.

And how great it was to see two Anthonies play opposite on another, Alan Bates and Laurence Olivier. Father and son, it was so wonderfully sweet and funny. Of course, the beautiful English countryside wasn't half-bad either.

I love observing the native habits of the English. They are so funny and so well educated...at least they were back in those times before the fall of the Empire. To watch all the goings-on in the courtroom was well worth the price of the movie. U.S. courtroom behavior is so much more cut and dried with none of the unmeant and deliberate humor that was injected in this movie.

See this one, and understand that it can well be a primer for dying the good death.


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