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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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


Never judge a man by his cover. 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
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Did You Know?


The photo behind the casting agent that's hiring him for Big Time Operators (1957) has a picture of her and Cesar Romero behind her. Romero did several films in Britain in the early 50s. Also recognizable in a wall photo is Margaret Rutherford. See more »


Other motor vehicle anachronisms; Sellers and his family arrive at their new house in a Jaguar S-Type, this model was released in 1963, this scene is set several years previously in 1960; Sellers' red Bentley is towed away by a 1963 Shelvoke & Drewry TZ truck, this scene is set during the making of The Millionairess in 1960; when Sellers has sex with Sophia Loren's stand-in in a Rolls-Royce, the camera moves across some parked cars including a Wolseley 6/110, which was released in 1961, this scene is set in 1960; during the filming of Casino Royale (1966) the director chases after Sellers in a Mercedes W115, which was released in 1968; when Sellers rushes Britt to the hospital to give birth to their daughter Victoria (who was born in 1965) he pulls out in front of a 1966 Ford Zephyr MkIV; and finally in the scene where Sellers is talking to Anne about wanting to make Being There, a Series III Jaguar XJ is visible in the background, this wasn't released until late 1979, this scene is set prior to filming of Being There which began in January 1979. See more »


Dennis Selinger: Blake Edwards is the hottest director in Hollywood right now. Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffany's. He can get anyone he wants. And, Peter, he wants you. United Artists are putting a lot of weight behind this picture. It's going to get very wide, very international release. Now, you may be a big star in Britain, love, but the folks in Duluth have never heard of you.
Peter Sellers: Well, we're even. I've never heard of Duluth.
Dennis Selinger: [making a "money" gesture with his fingers] In the United States.
Peter Sellers: Oh... ...
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 The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) See more »


Love is a Many Splendored Thing
Written by Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
Performed by The Lettermen
On meeting Sophia Loren
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.

37 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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