IMDb > Success Is the Best Revenge (1984)

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Success Is the Best Revenge -- Alex Rodak is a Polish director in exile in London with his family, which includes an older teenage son Adam who is struggling with an identity crisis, his wife, and another son. Rodak is putting together a major show.


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Jerzy Skolimowski (scenario) &
Michal Skolimowski (scenario) ...
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Release Date:
23 May 1984 (France) See more »
Poland is under communist rule. An exiled Polish theater director is in England, enthusiastically preparing an abstract play which will criticize the authoritarian Polish government. His sons might not share his political views, though. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
(2 articles)
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  (in credits order)

Michael York ... Alex Rodak
Joanna Szczerbic ... Alicia Rodak
Michal Skolimowski ... Adam Rodak (as Michael Lyndon)
Józef Skolimowski ... Tony Rodak (as Jerry Skol)

Michel Piccoli ... French Official

Anouk Aimée ... Monique des Fontaines

John Hurt ... Dino Montecurva

Ric Young ... Chinese Waiter
Claude Le Saché ... Monsieur Conio

Malcolm Sinclair ... Assistant Stage Manager
Hilary Drake ... Stage Manager

Jane Asher ... Bank Manager
Adam French ... Martin
Sam Smart ... Mallett
Tim Brown ... Professor
Maribel Jones ... Maribel
Michael Sarne ... Video store attendant (as Mike Sarne)
Maureen Bennett ... BA Girl
Martyn Whitby ... Video game club clerk
Bill Monks ... First grip
Rory Edwards ... Second grip
Archie Pool ... Casius Banghali
Robert Whelan ... Horse cop

Suzan Crowley ... First inspector
Tristram Jellinek ... Second inspector
Ralph Nossek ... Magistrate
Colin Bennett ... Usher

Felicity Dean ... TV director
Guy Deghy ... Angry Old Man
Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz ... Genio
Stella Maris ... Spanish woman
Luis Pinilla ... Spanish man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Neil Andrews ... Schoolboy (uncredited)

Directed by
Jerzy Skolimowski 
Writing credits
Jerzy Skolimowski (scenario) &
Michal Skolimowski (scenario) (as Michael Lyndon)

Michel Ciment (adaptation) &
Harriet Pacaud (adaptation) &
Barbara Elster (adaptation)

Produced by
Simon Bosanquet .... associate producer
Jerzy Skolimowski .... producer
Barrie Vince .... associate producer
Original Music by
Stanley Myers 
Hans Zimmer 
Cinematography by
Mike Fash 
Film Editing by
Barrie Vince 
Casting by
Debbie McWilliams 
Production Design by
Costume Design by
Sue Yelland 
Makeup Department
Connie Reeve .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
John Dodds .... second assistant director
Andrzej Kostenko .... second unit director
Julian Wall .... second assistant director
Kevin Westley .... additional third assistant director
Sound Department
Gary C. Bourgeois .... sound re-recording mixer
Gordon Brown .... assistant sound editor
Nigel Galt .... sound editor
Dushko Indjic .... boom operator
Troy Porter .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
John Golding .... camera operator
Larry Randall .... best boy
Location Management
Christopher Knowles .... location manager
Music Department
Barry Guy .... musician: double bass solos
Margaret Stachiewicz .... musician: piano solo
Other crew
Jordan Stone .... production runner
Ene Watts .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for some sexuality/nudity
91 min
Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Last cinema film of Guy Deghy.See more »


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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Author: rsoonsa ( from Mountain Mesa, California

Director Jerzy Skolimowski has become the foremost cinematic chronicler of the politics of exile for expatriates from Poland, chiefly those living in England, and this author of the screenplay for Roman Polanski's marvelous KNIFE IN THE WATER has additionally developed a highly kinetic directoral style that visually dashes every which way. In this feature, Skolimowski exploits a favourite gambit, unresolved blending of fantasy with reality, while also fashioning a strongly political theme, to demonstrate how an encounter with vendibility can convert idealism into hypocrisy and dispassion. Michael York portrays Alex Rodak, a theatre director exiled in London, with his wife and two sons, where he hopes to emulate the aesthetic and commercial success that he attained upon the Continent, notably in France, despite financial deficiencies that are growing apace. He is relying upon a benefit show, that he will be staging in a West End theatre, to create a large base of support for a dissident Polish subculture opposed to a repressive Warsaw regime that has become reliant upon imposition of martial law, but his increasing need for funding generates strain between Alex and his family, in particular with his oldest son Adam, played by Michael Lyndon. Respective cultural and identity crises plaguing Alex and Adam have become correlative, since the younger Rodak resents his father's dependence upon capital in order to stage what is planned as an abstract drama because Adam believes that Poland would welcome more a diaspora of patriots. Sadly, the time in which this review may be read is about equal to the amount of comprehensible narrative offered in this production, due to an extraordinary engulfment of meaning by Skolimowski who tenders a perpetual gathering of imagery, certainly never dull in itself but having an exhaustive effect upon a viewer by reason of an unduly complex structure whereby it becomes virtually impossible to fathom precisely what might be occurring. No character as presented displays virtue, with but Jane Asher's role with her single scene seeming to be clearly defined, probably as a result of its linear nature; first-class work with the camera by Mike Fash in addition to creative editing and sound design by Barrie Vince are insufficient to offset a nearly complete reliance upon form over substance.

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