The Pallbearer (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  3 May 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 4.9/10 from 5,975 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 18 critic

A young man's life is thrown into a loop when he is asked to be a pallbearer for the funeral of a classmate he doesn't remember, and his old high school crush temporarily returns to town.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Max is a popular local sports broadcaster and his marriage with attractive Sam is already set up. Max is not sure he wants Sam to be his wife and offers his best friend Jay a test: Jay will... See full summary »

Director: Doug Ellin
Stars: David Schwimmer, Jason Lee, Mili Avital
Skipped Parts (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An ungrounded young mother and her thoughtful teenage son are banished to a remote provincial town by a domineering father.

Director: Tamra Davis
Stars: Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mischa Barton
Future Shock (1994)
Sci-Fi | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

A psychiatrist uses virtual reality to probe the minds of three unsuspecting patients, unleashing horrific psychic forces in the process.

Directors: Eric Parkinson, Matt Reeves, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Vivian Schilling, Martin Kove, Brion James
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Some thirty years after Arlis witnesses his father murdering a family, he runs into Kay, who happens to be the family's baby who was spared. Kay and Arlis suspect nothing about each other, ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Kloves
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, James Caan
Dear God (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

When letters written to God start getting results, and replies, people everywhere are amazed. The Post Office however is annoyed.

Director: Garry Marshall
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Laurie Metcalf, Maria Pitillo
Duets (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A professional karaoke hustler reconnects with his daughter and a bored suburban businessman turns outlaw karaoke singer, among other plotlines.

Director: Bruce Paltrow
Stars: Huey Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Giamatti
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Alternating between the past and the present, a precocious little girl sues her selfish, career-driven parents for emancipation, surprising them both.

Director: Charles Shyer
Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long, Drew Barrymore
Madhouse (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The luxurious villa of Mark and Jessie Bannister, a yuppie couple, is overrun by loads of uninvited guests who turn the house up side down.

Director: Tom Ropelewski
Stars: Richard Alexander, Kirstie Alley, John Larroquette
Holy Man (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Eddie Murphy stars as an over-the-top television evangelist who finds a way to turn television home shopping into a religious experience, and takes America by storm.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A blind man has an operation to regain his sight at the urging of his girlfriend and must deal with the changes to his life.

Director: Irwin Winkler
Stars: Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Kelly McGillis
Run (1991)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a law student accidentally kills the son of a mob boss in a fight, he finds himself relentlessly pursued by the mob and the police.

Director: Geoff Burrowes
Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Kelly Preston, Ken Pogue
Sliding Doors (1998)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A London woman's love life and career both hinge, unknown to her, on whether or not she catches a train. We see it both ways, in parallel.

Director: Peter Howitt
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, John Lynch


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom's Mother
Jean De Baer ...
Aunt Lucille
Philip DeMarco
The Job Interviewer
Robin Morse ...
Tony Machine ...
The Undertaker


Chaos unfolds as Tom is roped into being a pallbearer (and delivering the eulogy!) by the mother of a recently deceased "friend" from high school that he just can't remember. In the meantime, an unrequited love from high school (NOT the dead guy's girlfriend) reappears in his life. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comedy about life-long crushes, mistaken identity and one really bad eulogy. See more »


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

3 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amigo Desconhecido  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Both Michael Rapaport (Brad Schorr) and Michael Vartan (Scott) did guest spots ended on Friends which starred David Schwimmer (Tom Thompson). See more »


When the mother is making instant coffee, the jar label is turned between shots. See more »


Julie: I love this song.
Tom: Is that a signal?
See more »


Referenced in Scream 3 (2000) See more »


I Surrender Dear
Written by Harry Barris & Gordon Clifford
Performed by Django Reinhardt
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Very Watchable.
13 January 2008 | by (Glasgow) – See all my reviews

'The Pallbearer' is a somewhat inoffensive film which most people could either take or leave. The film was Schwimmer's first attempt at non-'Friends' success but it bombed terribly at the box office and as a result remains unusual and unique in that so far it is his only attempt to carry a picture. I'm hesitant to call a it a star vehicle because it also features Gwenyth Paltrow but that is essentially what it is, or at least tries/was meant to be.

I actually like this movie but I would have found it ultimately forgettable if it hadn't been constantly shown on one of the more obscure digital TV channels late at night just as I was coming in from work for a 6 month period a few years back.

It has a good and recognisable cast which will put an audience at ease. Rappaport is as usual very funny and Schwimmer plays a very 'Ross'-esque character, given a ridiculous hair cut so that we can obviously differentiate from his 'Friends' persona. Paltrow looks cute and does what she does best.....pouts a lot.

The plot itself centres around Schwimmer's character attempting to negotiate a relationship beyond friendship with his high school crush (Paltrow) who he has not been in contact with for years, presumably as he has only recently returned from completing his college studies. This is somewhat hindered though as he has also become intimately involved with the grieving mother of a recently deceased local man played by Barabra Hershey who believes, wrongly, that Schwimmer's character was her departed son's best , and for that matter only, friend at high school. As he is looking for some excitement in life Scwimmer's character was more than willing to maintain this incorrect assumption in order to bed the vulnerable Hershey character but after peddling the deception to the point where he delivers the eulogy at her son's funeral (at which he is also a Pallbearer hence the film's title) guilt begins to catch up with him and the 'Graduate'-esqu style of excitement he had previously felt is replaced by regret. There is also the underlying feeling to which many can probably relate of a post graduate who is struggling to move on with his life. This of course summons further comparisons with the earlier mentioned 'Graduate' from which this picture obviously draws major though not overly obvious influences.Tom Thompson (Schwimmer) has achieved an architectural degree but is struggling to find employment in the field and is back living in his old bedroom at his mother's house which looks , and where he is treated, like he is still at high school. To make matters worse his friends who live near by are all in 9-5 jobs and have all moved on with their lives to the point they are either married or engaged and are considering starting families. The relationship with Hershey seems to give a feeling of maturity whilst the reemergence of Paltrow has allowed him to recall happier and simpler times in his life where he wasn't under so much pressure to grow up.

The story itself can be viewed as simplistic and not very exciting but it was matched by the slow pace. I myself actually appreciated it but maybe thats because I found relevance to my own life. Either way the audience can get some enjoyment out of the actor's performances and some sharp dialogue and set pieces. There are also some nice directorial touches though the film is not what you would call stylistic or a talky for that matter.

Shwimmer's dead-pan comedic tone and facial expressions worked as well here as they do in 'Friends'. I felt he was just right for the role and enjoyed his performance. Though I accept that he is not to everyone's taste and for that reason many people will probably not enjoy this movie. Being a Shwimmer fan here is not a necessity but it certainly helps.

On the whole this is the kind of film which works well at entertaining in a kind of personal way and in a subdued setting IE.- late at night in your living room with nothing else on or perhaps a rainy Saturday afternoon. It would have been an extremely unsatisfying cinematic event though and that is probably where most of the bad press for it comes from.

Definitely not perfect but none the less a decent film which is made all the more worth while if you approach it with low expectations like I did.

The underlying theme is about facing up to the difficulty of that crossroads in life when we realise that perhaps its time to move on from being a carefree youth to a mature adult. If that interests you then I guess this movie you will appreciate.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Song help radioactiveand
Song at the end Kitkatcandybar3
The End flautert
Two questions colujomes
Song in resturant lillegaard-1
Who is Bill? rags086
Discuss The Pallbearer (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: