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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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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 29 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Anne Sellers
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Peg Sellers
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Bill Sellers
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Dennis Selinger
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Casting Agent
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Ted Levy
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Dr. Lyle Wexler
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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

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Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original concept, the screenwriters wanted Peter Sellers to comment on himself through his own characters as they sat around the War Room set from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). The idea was dropped because it would have been prohibitively expensive in royalties. As an alternative they decided to have Sellers speak about himself through the characters from family and colleagues. See more »

Goofs

Sellers shaves off his beard in the airplane lavatory, but has a healthy five o'clock shadow when he emerges seconds later. See more »

Quotes

[On their honeymoon]
Peter Sellers: Are you sure you're my wife?
Britt Ekland: What do you mean?
Peter Sellers: Because no wife should be that good in the sack.
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 What's New Pussycat (1965) 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

 
A complex life
3 October 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Stephen Hopkins' "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" is a monumental film that undertook the difficult task of understanding the late Peter Sellers. This unique actor, with such a complicated personality and who lived such a turbulent life, comes alive in this HBO production based on the book by Roger Lewis, with an adaptation by Christopher Markus.

Peter Sellers covered quite a lot of ground during his life. He was one of the best actors working in the England of the fifties, working in all those charming comedies that made him a star in his native land, but alas, was not well known in America because he had not yet been hired by Hollywood until his "discovery" by director Blake Edwards, who offered him the part of Inspector Clouseau after Peter Ustinov had turned down the role.

Prior to his worldwide recognition, Mr. Sellers had to work a lot in order to make ends meet. Life with his first wife Anne came to an abrupt end, when he discovered she had fallen for the interior decorator the couple had hired. Then, there is the fascinating episode with Sophia Loren, in which Mr. Sellers, in his mind, begins to think he is in love with her, only to be rebuked by Ms. Loren, a woman who was happily married to Carlo Ponti, and had no desire to become the second Mrs. Sellers.

The third woman in Mr. Sellers life is the beautiful, but much younger, Britt Ekland. From the start, one can figure this union was not to last. The age difference and the different cultures indicate these two were completely mismatched, as we get to watch in painful detail how the marriage disintegrates.

Mr. Hopkins makes his star, Geoffrey Rush, assume a lot of roles in addition of the main one, Peter Sellers. Geoffrey Rush shows his versatility in playing them with great style. His biggest achievement seems to be how he captures the essence of Peter Sellers, the man, and expose him to us in all his complexity.

The acting is superb. Emily Watson and Charlize Theron are seen as Anne and Britt, two women that left their mark in the life of Mr. Sellers. Both are excellent in the film. Miriam Margoyles plays Peg Sellers. John Lighgow is Blake Edwards, the man who elevated the actor to an international acclaim.

The film is a documentary, as well as a biopic about this man who gave a lot of joy to movie fans through his films. Geoffrey Rush has to be thanked for bringing him to life, as well as the director, Stephen Hopkins for giving us an understanding on what it was to be Peter Sellers.


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