The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  1 October 2004 (UK)
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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


Never judge a man by his cover. See more »


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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

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 »


In the scene from the Revenge of The Pink Panther, Sellers parrot is on his left shoulder. In the actual movie it is on the right shoulder. See more »


Peter Sellers: [Standing on the balcony] If you leave this flat, I'm going to jump off this balcony.
Anne Sellers: Don't make me any promises, Peter.
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 What's New Pussycat (1965) 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

The Eyes Had It
8 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For anyone interested in Peter Sellers life and work, this film is certainly worth watching, if for nothing more than the incredible re-creations of scenes from Sellers' films. Geoffrey Rush is transformed into a nearly dead-ringer for Sellers, through the magic of make up and prosthetics. But as talented as he may be, no one can recreate the subtleties of the master, especially the use of his eyes…Sellers' eyes were by far the funniest aspect of his physicality: narrowing, widening, always moving, punctuating his actions and illuminating the emotions within, even as part of the most farcical of performances.

Such a rich and varied life would lend itself to a miniseries but of course it would be a copout to suggest that at least a glimmer into the life of a man couldn't be done successfully within two hours. What this movie drove home for me was how terribly short the human lifespan really is, and how little time we have to truly discover ourselves and come to terms with our own frailties. I felt that the basis of Sellers unhappiness, which manifested itself in inexcusable cruelty to his family, friends and co-workers, was a direct result of his childhood, which was never really addressed in this film. It was, in his own words to Michael Parkinson, not a very happy time in his life. Growing up in the theater circuit, being in the company of boozy and abusive 'theatricals', and being raised by a domineering mother and what I gather was a rather passive and emotionally unavailable father set the stage for a man who obviously felt deprived of the things that give us self-esteem and confidence. No one in his adult life could give him the things he should've received from his parents as a child, and he took out that frustration on those closest to him.

Also interesting were the glimpses of his fellow Goons (Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) at various chapters in his life-in the church at his mother's funeral, in the crowd at the premiere of 'The Pink Panther'. They represented what he considered the happiest time of his life and they were a constant presence, flitting in an out of his life at key moments in the film, like the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Interesting also in how one decision, in this case his delusional infatuation with Sophia Loren, set in motion a series of dovetailing mistakes in his life, which took him further and further away from a relatively healthy existence. He had twenty years more to live and it turned out to be not enough time to turn things around.

58 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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