When Father Was Away on Business (1985)
"Otac na sluzbenom putu" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  11 October 1985 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,283 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 14 critic

Tito's break-up with Stalin in 1948 marked the beginning of not only confusing, but also very dangerous years for many hard-core Yugoslav communists. A careless remark about the newspaper ... See full summary »



0Check in
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man grows up in Sarajevo in the 1960s, under the shadow of his good, but ailing father, and gets attracted by the world of small-time criminals. They hire him to hide a young ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Slavko Stimac, Slobodan Aligrudic, Ljiljana Blagojevic
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In this luminous tale set in the area around Sarajevo and in Italy, Perhan, an engaging young Romany (gypsy) with telekinetic powers, is seduced by the quick-cash world of petty crime, which threatens to destroy him and those he loves.

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Davor Dujmovic, Bora Todorovic, Ljubica Adzovic
Comedy | Romance | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

What could be better for the village than a scenic railway to bring in the tourists? What could be worse for tourism than war? Luka builds the railway and shuts his eyes to war. Then Luka's wife runs off with a musician and his son is called up to the army. Luka's life is a war zone. Then he meets Sabaha..

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Slavko Stimac, Natasa Tapuskovic, Vesna Trivalic
Comedy | Crime | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Matko is a small time hustler, living by the river Danube with his 17 year old son Zare. After a failed business deal he owes money to the much more successful gangster Dadan. Dadan has a ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Bajram Severdzan, Srdjan Todorovic, Branka Katic
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A grandson gives his grandfather a vow to go to the city to sell a cow and bring back a wife.

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Uros Milovanovic, Marija Petronijevic, Aleksandar Bercek
Underground (1995)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story follows an underground weapons manufacturer in Belgrade during WWII and evolves into fairly surreal situations. A black marketeer who smuggles the weapons to partisans doesn't ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Predrag Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic
Arizona Dream (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Faye Dunaway
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A documentary on Argentinean soccer star Diego Maradona, regarded by many as the world's greatest modern player.

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Ernesto Cantu, Fidel Castro, Manu Chao
Tito and Me (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of a ten years old boy who, as most of the children in Yugoslavia of the fifties can hardly imagine his life without the great national leader - marshal Tito. In his school, he ... See full summary »

Director: Goran Markovic
Stars: Dimitrije Vojnov, Lazar Ristovski, Predrag Manojlovic
Nije covjek ko ne umre (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Zoran Becic, Nada Djurevska, Aleksandar Micic
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

It's April 5, 1941, somewhere in Serbia. A group of people go on a bus to Belgrade, on a journey that will change their lives forever.

Director: Slobodan Sijan
Stars: Pavle Vuisic, Dragan Nikolic, Danilo 'Bata' Stojkovic
Buffet Titanic (TV Movie 1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Boro Stjepanovic, Bogdan Diklic, Nada Djurevska


Cast overview, first billed only:
Moreno D'E Bartolli ...
Mehmed Mesa Zolj (as Miki Manojlovic)
Senija Sena Zolj
Mustafa Nadarevic ...
Zijah Zijo Zulfikarpasic
Ankica Vidmar
Predrag Lakovic ...
Kucepazitelj Franjo
Pavle Vuisic ...
Dedo Muzamer (as Pavle Vujisic)
Slobodan Aligrudic ...
Ostoja Cekic
Eva Ras ...
Ilonka Petrovic
Aco Djorcev ...
Dr. Ljahaov (as Aleksandar Dorcev)
Emir Hadzihafizbegovic ...
Mladji ujak
Zoran Radmilovic ...
Jelena Covic ...
Tomislav Gelic ...
Berberin Hamdo
Davor Dujmovic ...
Brat Mirza


Tito's break-up with Stalin in 1948 marked the beginning of not only confusing, but also very dangerous years for many hard-core Yugoslav communists. A careless remark about the newspaper cartoon is enough for Mesha to join many arrested unfortunates. His family is now forced to cope with the situation and wait for his release from prison. The story is told from the perspective of Malik, his young son who believes the mother's story about father being "away on business". Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

When Father Was Away on Business  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


In the wedding banquet scene, the cake is hit and damaged by a football. A few moments later, it is shown intact again. See more »


References My Darling Clementine (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Probably Kusturica's masterpiece
11 April 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I was very impressed with When Father was Away on Business; it is more coherent and moving than Black Cat, White cat, which I saw last week. The family structure is very well evoked, with three generations living in the house. The grandfather just wants to be left out of politics--for him Hitler and Stalin are pretty much the same. Mesa and Sena, the couple doomed to be separated for two years, are up to their ears in party machinations. Zijo, the brother in law, has sent Mesa to the mines for re-education, because his soon-to-be wife Ankica denounced the feckless Mesa when he wouldn't divorce Sena to marry her. In a totalitarian state, a lot depends on not annoying your relatives.

Miki Manojlovic is great as Mesa; he reminds me of Raimu occasionally. The wedding scene, when he effects a reconciliation with Zijo, is very poignant. Slobodan Aligrudic plays Cekic, the party boss who oversees Mesa's rehabilitation and finally sends him home to Sarajevo: he is affable (always wants to share a drink, play chess and so on) but the brutality is always close to the surface. Little Malik, the boy who tries to make sense of what the adults are doing, communicates a lot of joy and sorrow.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
subtitles???? adi_p86
The music that chil plays ercan_fb
I am curriuos... choirboy30
The song at the wedding selja26
music loscar_35
Leading Role gebagia
Discuss When Father Was Away on Business (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: