IMDb > Defending Your Life (1991)
Defending Your Life
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Defending Your Life (1991) More at IMDbPro »

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Defending Your Life -- text os


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Down 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Albert Brooks (written by)
View company contact information for Defending Your Life on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 April 1991 (USA) See more »
The first true story of what happens after you die.
In an afterlife way station resembling a block of hotels, the lives of the recently-deceased are examined in a court-like setting. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Vastly underrated film, a real treat. Carpe diem. See more (93 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Albert Brooks ... Daniel Miller

Michael Durrell ... Agency Head

James Eckhouse ... Jeep Owner

Gary Beach ... Car Salesman

Julie Cobb ... Tram Guide
Peter Schuck ... Stan

Time Winters ... Porter

Rip Torn ... Bob Diamond
Sharlie Stuart ... Susan
Beth Black ... Soap Opera Woman

Clayton Norcross ... Soap Opera Man

James MacKrell ... Game Show Moderator
Wil Albert ... Game Show Contestant
Sage Allen ... Game Show Contestant

Mary Pat Gleason ... Waitress
Maxine Elliott Hicks ... Elderly Woman on Tram (as Maxine Elliott)
Marilyn Rockafellow ... Helen
Roger Behr ... Comedian

Meryl Streep ... Julia
Art Frankel ... Arthur
Ernie Brown ... Ernie

Lee Grant ... Lena Foster

George Wallace ... Daniel's Judge (as George D. Wallace)
Lillian Lehman ... Daniel's Judge

Raffi Di Blasio ... Daniel as a Boy
Kristopher Kent Hill ... Bully
Eric Ehasz ... Child in Schoolyard
Matthew Scharch ... Daniel as an Infant
S. Scott Bullock ... Daniel's Father
Carol Bivins ... Daniel's Mother

Ethan Embry ... Steve (as Ethan Randall)

Gary Ballard ... Mr. Wadworth
Mary Mukogawa ... Sushi Hostess
Toshio Shikami ... Head Sushi Chef
Kagko Shikami ... Sushi Chef
Samee Park ... Sushi Chef
Tommy Inouye ... Sushi Chef
Ken Thorley ... Frank
Bob Braun ... Talk Show Host

Jennifer Barlow ... Talk Show Guest

Buck Henry ... Dick Stanley
Joey Miyashima ... Casio Tipster
Nurit Koppel ... Daniel's Date

Susan Walters ... Daniel's Wife
Sidney Chankin ... Used Car Salesman

Greg Finley ... Used Car Salesman
Leonard O. Turner ... Sam
Clifford Einstein ... Julia's Prosecutor (as Cliff Einstein)
Rachel Bard ... Julia's Judge

Newell Alexander ... Julia's Judge

Shirley MacLaine ... Shirley MacLaine

Hal Landon Jr. ... Man in Past Lives Pavilion
Ida Lee ... Woman in Past Lives Pavilion
Noley Thornton ... Victorian Girl

Glen Chin ... Sumo Wrestler
James Ekim ... Native

Clarke Coleman ... Knight
Ronald L. Colby ... Majestic Doorman (as Ron Colby)

David Purdham ... Peter

James Paradise ... Stage Manager

Jerry Prell ... Banquet Manager
Arell Blanton ... Fire Marshall
Shana Ballard ... Julia's Daughter
Chris Macris ... Julia's Son
Joseph Darrell ... Maitre d'
James Manis ... Eduardo
Alex Sheafe ... Martin
Cathleen Chin ... Ticket Counter Agent
Lisa Sears ... Tram Port Attendant
Mark Dunlap ... Tram Port Attendant
Vernon Roguen ... Tram Port Attendant
Dennis Germain ... Tram Driver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Robert Gatewood ... Afterlife traveler
Jorga Caye ... Deceased Lady (uncredited)
Douglas M. Nelson ... Tram Attendee (uncredited)
John Michael Quinn ... Man in Heaven (uncredited)

Directed by
Albert Brooks 
Writing credits
Albert Brooks (written by)

Produced by
Robert Grand .... co-producer
Michael Grillo .... producer
Herb Nanas .... executive producer (as Herbert S. Nanas)
Original Music by
Michael Gore 
Cinematography by
Allen Daviau (director of photography)
Film Editing by
David Finfer 
Casting by
Barbara Claman 
Mark Saks 
Production Design by
Ida Random 
Art Direction by
Richard Reynolds 
Set Decoration by
Linda DeScenna 
Costume Design by
Deborah Lynn Scott  (as Deborah L. Scott)
Makeup Department
Hallie D'Amore .... makeup artist
J. Roy Helland .... hair stylist: Ms. Streep
J. Roy Helland .... makeup artist: Ms. Streep
Marlene D. Williams .... hair stylist (as Marlene Williams)
Production Management
Robert Grand .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fernando Castroman .... dga trainee
Carey Dietrich .... second assistant director
Michael Grillo .... first assistant director
Annette Sutera .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Larry Clark Bird .... property master (as Larry Bird)
Randy Bostic .... swing gang (as Randy Bostick)
Robert E. Denne .... stand-by painter (as Bob Denne)
Sara Gardner-Gail .... swing gang (as Sara Gardner)
David Harris .... greens
James Hegedus .... production illustrator
Martha Johnston .... set designer
Ric McElvin .... lead person (as Rick McElvin)
James F. Orendorff .... construction foreman (as Jamie Orendorff)
Donn Piller .... swing gang
John Rankin .... swing gang
George Stokes .... construction coordinator
John Thompson .... greens (as John D. Thompson III)
Ken Zimmerman .... assistant property master
Gary J. Coelho .... laborer gang boss (uncredited)
Cary Conway .... paint foreman (uncredited)
Frank White .... laborer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Wayne Artman .... re-recording mixer
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Jim Borgardt .... adr editor (as James A. Borgardt)
Robert Bradshaw .... dialogue editor
Joseph F. Brennan .... boom operator (as Joseph Brennan)
G.W. Brown .... adr editor
Thomas Causey .... production sound mixer
Tom E. Dahl .... re-recording mixer (as Tom Dahl)
Valerie Davidson .... foley editor
Dane A. Davis .... supervising sound editor
Melinda Garey .... assistant sound editor
Hector C. Gika .... dialogue editor (as Hector Gika)
Darrell Hall .... assistant sound editor
Tom Hammond .... foley editor
Franklin Jones Jr. .... re-recording mixer (as Frank Jones)
Kini Kay .... sound effects editor
Richard Kite .... boom operator
John Kwiatkowski .... sound effects editor
Kimberly Ellen Lowe .... dialogue editor (as Kimberly Lowe Voigt)
Joan Rowe .... foley artist
Val Kuklowsky .... sound editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Chris Burton .... special effects foreman
Dennis Dion .... special effects supervisor
Richard L. Hill .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Ken Allen .... matte artist: DQI
Scott Beattie .... motion control supervisor: DQI
Mat Beck .... visual effects supervisor: DQI
Jeff Burks .... animation supervisor: DQI
Rob Burton .... motion control supervisor: DQI
Jon Farhat .... visual effects artist: DQI
David Goldberg .... model supervisor: DQI (as Dave Goldberg)
Erik Henry .... visual effects editor: DQI
Fred Iguchi .... electronics supervisor: DQI
Rick Johnson .... blue screen technician: DQI (as Richard Johnson)
Jeff Matakovich .... optical supervisor: DQI
Robert Scifo .... matte artist: DQI
Robert Stadd .... visual effects producer: DQI
Kevin Scott Mack .... model painter (uncredited)
Linda Renaud .... visual effects editor (uncredited)
James Valentine .... rotoscope supervisor (uncredited)
Bill Erickson .... stunt coordinator
Jeff Jensen .... stunts
Paul E. Short .... stunts (as Paul Short)
Camera and Electrical Department
Tom Bookout .... second grip
Eric Engler .... camera operator
Michael Kenner .... key grip
Bobby Mancuso .... second assistant camera
William R. Mayberry .... assistant chief lighting technician (as Bill Mayberry)
Carol McCullough .... still photographer
Robert W. Meyers .... rigging gaffer (as Robert Meyers)
Reggie Newkirk .... first assistant camera
Randy Nolen .... panaglide operator
Jim Shelton .... dolly grip
Larry Wallace .... chief lighting technician
Lee Redmond .... camera operator: pick-up shots (uncredited)
Casting Department
Maggie Erickson .... casting assistant
Laura Adler .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Jenny O'Haver .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Phyllis Corcoran-Woods .... set costumer
John George .... set costumer
Greg Hall .... set costumer
Deborah Hopper .... set costumer
George L. Little .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Spencer Gross .... associate editor
Judd H. Maslansky .... assistant editor (as Judd Maslansky)
Maureen Mitchell .... assistant editor
John Morrisey .... assistant editor
Robert Raring .... color timer
Location Management
Steph Benseman .... location manager
Lauren Ross .... assistant location manager
Music Department
Joel Moss .... music scoring mixer
Curtis Roush .... music editor
Shirley Walker .... orchestrator
Tom Boyd .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Bruce Fowler .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Shirley Walker .... conductor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Tom Dias .... transportation captain
Daniel Quick .... transportation coordinator
John Sagray .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Michael Antunez .... tram coordinator
Christina Bennett .... assistant production office coordinator
Cheri Hall .... assistant accountant
Lloyd Hamm .... tram consultant
Michael Haro .... staff assistant
Patti Hawn .... unit publicist
Peter E. Hirsch .... staff assistant (as Peter Hirsch)
Jiovanni Iacoviello .... staff assistant (as John Iacoviello)
Luca Kouimelis .... script supervisor
Ruben Martinez .... craft service
Fran Messer .... assistant: Mr. Nanas
Jack E. Pelissier Jr. .... staff assistant
Laura Petticord .... staff assistant
Nancy Ramey .... production accountant
Jason Roberts .... staff assistant
Susan Schader .... assistant: Mr. Brooks
Catherine Varvaro .... assistant: Mr. Grillo
Lisbeth Wynn-Owen .... production office coordinator
Bill Daly .... post-production accountant (uncredited)
Linda Stone .... studio teacher (uncredited)
Paul Slansky .... special thanks: for his invaluable support
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
112 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

On the coffee-table book "Above Judgement City," the picture is actually an aerial view of Denver, CO.See more »
Continuity: After Daniel's 'trial' is completed and he and Bob Diamond go back to Bob's office where Bob is handed an envelope with the judgment, the envelope is clearly unsealed when it is handed to Bob, yet in his office Bob tears open a sealed envelope.See more »
[first lines]
Daniel Miller:I was driving to work this morning thinking I will be here, in 2 months, it'll be 10 years. And you're like my real family. Isn't that tragic.
Daniel Miller:I got a call from my mother this morning, she wished me a happy birthday, and hinted around the fact that I wasn't making enough money. If you can call "are ya still making the same salary, honey" a hint. And my ex-wife used to say the same thing, although she never used the name "honey".
Daniel Miller:So, maybe in three years I can double my income?
Agency head:Good luck.
Daniel Miller:Four years? Okay. So, you're great people to work with, and this is a great present, and I wish I could squeeze all of you into one pretty woman.
Daniel Miller:And if you'd like to go to my office, I'll try.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References West Side Story (1961)See more »
Something's ComingSee more »


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61 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
Vastly underrated film, a real treat. Carpe diem., 6 April 1999
Author: Kyle Milligan ( from Toronto, Canada

This film's tag-line "The first true story of what happens after you die," is so perfect for this film. This film is so consistently funny, I only wish I could screen it for all my friends at the same time, so I could share it with every one of them. I've seen this film many times, and enjoy it more each time. "Lost In America" is a great film of Albert Brooks', but this one is my favourite of his. Sadly, I rarely encounter someone who's already seen it. When I think of underrated films, I think of this one first.

Right off the bat, our protagonist, Brooks, is dead, flattened by a bus. Next thing you know, he's in Judgment City, where people go when they die, and where it will be decided if he will go on to the next level or go back for another crack at life on Earth.

In Judgment City he's reminded of all the key events in his life in something like a flashback screening room and his life is then evaluated by the custodians of the city, who will decide if he goes forward or not. Much like a court appearance.

There are great performances by supporting players, especially Rip Torn, and while I never associated Meryl Streep with great comedy, she holds her own as Brooks' love interest. There is a hilariously understated performance by Buck Henry.

The most fun with this film is learning bit by bit about the inner workings of Judgment City, as each aspect seems to have been well thought out and executed beautifully, right down to eating arrangements. A true masterful writing achievement for Brooks, who has shown his brilliance in many other films as well.

This film should've been a big success, but in a way, I feel privileged to be one of the few people I know who has seen this film and enjoyed it so much. I'll do my part though, spreading the good word as much as possible.

See it before you die.

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