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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  1 October 2004 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 12,614 users  
Reviews: 134 user | 58 critic

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



(book), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 26 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »



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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)


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


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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 October 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida e Morte de Peter Sellers  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$211,647 (Australia) (27 August 2004)


£259,663 (UK) (8 October 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Not only were scenes with Peter Sellers' fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, cut from the final print, but no direct mention of his third wife or fiancée Liza Minnelli is made. Their short engagement ended when she pulled off his toupee as a joke. See more »


When Peter Sellers is in Rome to play the first "Pink Panther" he's shown in front of "Cinecittà", the most famous cinema studio in Italy. While Sellers is standing in front of the studio, a car passes behind: it's an Autobianchi Y10, an Italian car, first introduced in 1985, its appearance being 22 years too early. See more »


Peter Sellers: [Tossing the Pink Panther Strikes Again script down] I could never be this broke.
Blake Edwards: It wasn't easy for me to come here, Peter.
Peter Sellers: Why, did your limousine break down?
Blake Edwards: I considered making you kiss my ass.
Peter Sellers: Not after that script's been through it.
Blake Edwards: Still the funniest bastard around. Look Peter, I didn't come here out of desperation, I think it's a good idea and I can't do it without you. You need the money, I don't. And I certainly don't need the aggravation you are undoubtedly gonna bring me.
Peter Sellers: What if I ...
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 »


References Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) See more »


Girl from Ipanema
Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Norman Gimbel
Performed by Astrud Gilberto & João Gilberto
See more »

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User Reviews

Rush is brilliant but it's a tough movie.
29 August 2004 | by (Fremantle, Australia) – See all my reviews

I'm a sap when it comes to movie watching so the peeling away of the character of Peter Sellers made the film a hard watch for me. That in no way implies anything derogatory about this wonderful film, just that Seller's life as depicted on the screen made me uncomfortable watching it as it unfolded before me.

Intellectually I can understand the forces driving Sellers but I find it difficult when these forces begin to devour the personality behind them as happened to Sellers throughout the film. You're left with those timeless questions about the price of greatness and with this movie you're left with even more than the viewer might be expected to deal with.

It was not pretty watching the Greek tragedy that was the life of Peter Sellers and now, having seen the movie only several hours ago, I have great respect for Rush and the director for having crafted such a brilliant film. I can't imagine another actor who could have brought Sellers to life so accurately. The film was far from straight forward-it pulsed and entwined itself around Seller's life such that the viewer was challenged constantly to involve themselves with the characters rather than being a dumb waiter between screen and viewer.

A tough, excellent film not to be missed.

79 of 92 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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