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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 12,179 users  
Reviews: 134 user | 60 critic

The feature adaptation of Roger Lewis' book about the actor best remembered as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.

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(book), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 20 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Anne Sellers
...
...
Peg Sellers
...
Bill Sellers
...
...
...
...
Dennis Selinger
...
Casting Agent
...
Ted Levy
...
Dr. Lyle Wexler
...
Spike Milligan (as Edward Tudor Pole)
...
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Storyline

The professional and personal life of actor and comedian Peter Sellers was a turbulent one. His early movie fame was based primarily on his comic characterizations, often of bumbling and foreign-accented persons, characters which he embodied. As his movie fame rose, he began to lose his own personal identity to his movie characters, leading to self-doubt of himself as a person and a constant need for reassurance and acceptance of his work. This self-doubt manifested itself in fits of anger and what was deemed as arrogance by many. In turn, his personal relationships began to deteriorate as his characterizations were continually used to mask his problems. His first wife, Anne Howe, left/divorced him and his relationships with his parents and children became increasingly distant. His relationship with his second wife, Swedish actress Britt Ekland, was based on this mask. In his later life, he tried to rediscover himself and his career with what would become his penultimate film role, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is being someone else. (UK) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida e Morte de Peter Sellers  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£125,748 (UK) (1 October 2004)

Gross:

£259,663 (UK) (8 October 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Geoffrey Rush was only one year younger than Peter Sellers was when he died, and here plays him over the course of thirty years. See more »

Goofs

During filming of "Dr Stangelove", Sellers is in his dressing room practicing one of Group Captain Mandrake's lines, saying "I can assure you, Major Bat Guano, if that is indeed your name." In the film Bat Guano was a Colonel, not a Major. See more »

Quotes

Interviewer - Switzerland: Peter, how are you able to inhabit your characters so successfully?
Peter Sellers: Ah well, you see, I don't really have any personality of my own. There used to be a me behind the mask but I had it surgically removed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The frame freezes and the end credits start. After some informations about the last part of life of Peter Sellers have scrolled up the screen, the credits stop and the camera suddenly pulls back, revealing Geoffrey Rush watching the end titles sitting in front of a monitor on a studio set. He turns toward the camera, waves, gets up, leaves the set and walks to a trailer. The camera tries to follow him inside, but he turns and says "You can't come in here". The door closes, and the camera zooms in on the sign with the name "Peter Sellers". The film again fades to black and we see the rest of the end credits. See more »

Connections

References Only Two Can Play (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream a Little Dream of Me
Written by Wilbur Schwandt, Fabian Andre and Gus Kahn
Performed by Lance Ellington
Upon meeting Sophia Loren
Arranged and conducted by James Seymour Brett
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance was fantastic and makes the movie totally worth watching.
6 January 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The story begins with the Goons and ends just after his role in the movie, Being There, thirty years later. A lot of the film features recreations of famous moments in Seller's acting life, such as appearing on "The Goons" or in "The Pink Panther". There are some particularly hilarious insights into his development of the "Inspector Clouseau" character, including an explanation of why he ended up hating the character so much.

As such, it really only touches the surface of his life story, but it does give you an intense understanding of the character. A character which, in the style of Greek tragedy, had a major flaw. For me, the flaw was Seller's total lack of confidence, perhaps due to his appearance, which he appears constantly to have overcompensated for.

Curiously enough, since Sellers is shown portraying great emotions, I was never actually moved myself, except perhaps for the occasion when he is violent towards Britt Ekland and in a particularly galling moment with his children.

The movie reaches its crescendo with Sellers' performance in "Being There" in which it's suggested the reason why Sellers so wanted to play the man without a personality was because he, himself, had no personality.

A few people at my workplace commented they thought the movie was far too stylized. Although I can see their point, and I agree I was never really touched by the movie, I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance more than made up for this. Rush plays not only Sellers, but several other characters in a Sellers-like "Dr Strangelove" kind of way, and achieves all of it with gusto. I also really enjoyed the performance of Miriam Margoyles as Sellers' mother, Peg, with whom he seems to have enjoyed an intense, almost Oedipal relationship.

I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance was fantastic and makes the movie totally worth watching.


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