The World According to Garp (1982)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  13 August 1982 (USA)
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Based on the John Irving novel, this film chronicles the life of T S Garp, and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a "serious" writer, Jenny writes a feminist manifesto at an ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Fields
Mrs. Fields
The Hooker
James McCall ...
John Wolfe
George Ede ...
Dean Bodger
Mark Soper ...
Michael Milton
Nathan Babcock ...
Ian MacGregor ...
Warren Berlinger ...
Stew Percy
Susan Browning ...
Midge Percy


Based on the John Irving novel, this film chronicles the life of T S Garp, and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a "serious" writer, Jenny writes a feminist manifesto at an opportune time, and finds herself as a magnet for all manner of distressed women. Written by Tony Bowden <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

writing | love | friend | wrestler | coach | See All (94) »


Robin Williams is Garp. He's got a funny way of looking at life.


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 August 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mundo según Garp  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 6,533,848 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Glenn Close landed the role of Jenny after director George Roy Hill and casting director Marion Dougherty had seen her in a Broadway production of "Barnum" opposite Jim Dale (1980). Close got Oscar nominated for this film for Best Supporting Actress, getting the nomination for her debut performance in a motion picture feature film. The nomination was the first of many bridesmaids for Close who thirty years later [August 2012], and after six nominations, is still yet to win an Academy Award for acting. See more »


When Garp returns home after his session with the hooker, he reminisces while opening and closing the blinds in his room. The scene of him and Helen picking up the scattered pages of his short story occurs in a different locale (spread all over the lawn) than the original event (on a road and among the landscaping near the house). See more »


Mrs. Fields: [first lines] Garp? Garp?
Jenny Fields: Yes, Garp.
Mr. Fields: Garp. Garp?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thomas Peter Daikos ....Flying Baby Garp See more »


Referenced in Easy Skanking (2006) See more »


When I'm Sixty-Four
Written by John Lennon (uncredited) and Paul McCartney (uncredited)
Performed by The Beatles
Courtesy of EMI Records, Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Absurd, confusing, pointless drivel
20 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If I could give this film a zero out of ten, I would. I saw it on dollar night and wanted my money back. This is possibly the most offensive piece of work I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.

The story centers around Garp (Robin Williams), "the bastard son of Jenny Fields (Glenn Close)," as he is referred to so often throughout the film that the viewer is as annoyed by the phrase as he is. Jenny, a sex-hating and man-hating woman, conceives Garp when she is an army nurse caring for a patient with a head wound who sports an enormous erection, of which Jenny takes advantage. "Garp" is apparently the only sound the poor man can make, and so she decides to name the baby that. In the opening scene of the film, Jenny tells her parents this in excruciating detail. Despite the fact that child is a boy, she does lavish a great deal of love on him, and he grows up to be a writer. His life path deals with love, infidelity, the loss of a child in perhaps the most bizarre accidents in film history - one that causes the castration of another character, and his own frustrations in being overshadowed by his mother, who becomes famous when she writes a book about her experiences. Jenny becomes the center of a movement of women who seem to have a capacity for hatred that exceeds even hers. Ultimately, this leads to her assassination, and a funeral from which her son is barred merely because he is male (never mind that he's actually family and grieving his own loss). An old childhood enemy recognizes him at the service, and blows him in. The same enemy shows up at the end of the movie and shoots him - pointless violence to end a pointless movie.

Admittedly, I don't have the sensibilities to enjoy this film, but I think that is its biggest failing. I have been told time and time again that I would appreciate the movie more if I read the book. Why should I have to read the book? The movie should stand on its own in telling the story. This one doesn't. Motives are undefined. Explanations of illogical behavior are not forthcoming. Little makes sense, either in the "world according to Garp," or in the world at large. And much that might be humorous simply isn't because of the way it is presented.

Given the star power in the movie, the acting is quite disappointing. Glenn Close is unpleasant, as usual, but unfortunately for her, this is a character that needs a softness that she is completely unable to give. Jenny as Close plays her, is merely obnoxious. Jenny in the hands of a better actress could be a woman you loved to hate, or vice versa. Williams' portrayal fares little better, although at least we understand his emotions and his actions as a result of them - insofar as he understood them, and it's not always apparent that he did. Mary Beth Hurt does a nice job with Helen, providing one of the few likable characters in the course of the movie. John Lithgow is a scene stealer in the role of a post operative trans-gendered woman, and deserved the acclaim he got for the role. Brenda Currin as Pooh is merely an irritating plot device, as she gives no depth to the character, and no explanation for Pooh's actions (unless you are to believe she's merely insane, and that doesn't seem to be what is indicated).

Ultimately I found the movie to be a disappointing waste of time. Perhaps reading the book would have been better, but I was so soured on the story after sitting through the movie, that the book holds no appeal at all now. Which says a lot about just how bad this movie is.

10 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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