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Beyond the Sea (2004)

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A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).


Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina Cassotto Maffia
William Ullrich ...
Dr. Andretti
Jules Podell
1st Assistant Director
Ahmet Ertegun
Delivery Guy


Consummate entertainer Bobby Darin (1936-1973) is making a movie about his life. He's volatile, driven by the love of performing, ambition, perfectionism, and belief that he's living on borrowed time. He begins in the Bronx: a fatherless lad learning music and dance from his mom. His career starts slowly, then "Splish Splash" puts him at the top of the charts and on "Bandstand." He wants to be an entertainer, not a pop star, so he aims for the Copacabana; then it's on to the movies, where he meets and marries Sandra Dee. After, it's balancing career, health, marriage and family life, balances he doesn't always keep. Throughout, conversations with his boyhood self give him perspective. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the era of cool, he was the soundtrack. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

29 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bobby Darin Biopic  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£179,558 (United Kingdom), 28 November 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,264, 19 December 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,318,709, 31 March 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,010,814, 31 March 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kevin Spacey was 44 years old when he made this movie, an age the real Bobby Darin never reached. See more »


(at around 5 mins) At the beginning, a reporter wanted to ask Bobby a few questions for portraying himself in a biography film, by saying "No one hasn't done anything like this before.", yet celebrities like Jackie Robinson (The Jackie Robinson Story), Audie Murphy (To Hell and Back) had done it before. See more »


Mary Duvan: [after Sandra and Bobby get engaged] I wished you had concentrated more on Rock Hudson.
Sandra Dee: Rock Hudson is a very nice man, Mother, but I'm not in love with him.
Mary Duvan: He still would have made a better husband than that "BOBBY DARIN"!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Andy Paterson and Kevin Spacey would like to thank the entire cast and crew from both the UK and Germany for their hard work and dedication. The film could not have been completed without their belief and effort. We are forever grateful to them for helping bring this film to the screen." See more »


References A Summer Place (1959) See more »


Mack the Knife
Original German lyrics by Bertolt Brecht (as Berthold Brecht) (1928)
English lyrics by Marc Blitzstein (1954)
Music by Kurt Weill (1928)
Published by WB Music Corp. on behalf of Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Berthold Brecht
Joseph & Josephine Davis as Executors of the Estate of Marc Blitzstein/Universal Edition A.G./European American Music Corporation
Performed by Kevin Spacey & The John Wilson Orchestra
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User Reviews

Beyond the Sea is as much about Kevin Spacey as it is Bobby Darin.
17 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

If you can overcome what I can't, you will enjoy Beyond the Sea: Kevin Spacey is too old to play Bobby Darin, the 50's pop singer who died from long-term effects of rheumatic heart at 37. At times Spacey is playing Darin in his twenties when no matter how you tighten and pin Spacey's face, he is still a 44-year old man with all the lovely creases and bags time awards. The dislocation bothered me so that I couldn't fully appreciate what is otherwise an outstanding performance.

But then Spacey is the director, so he has to be responsible for miscasting (or put another way, why didn't he do this 10 years ago when no one on this planet could have denied that he is the perfect Darin?). As John Irving said in "My Movie Business" about the choice of actors, "Looks do count." Although others have criticized Beyond the Sea as a Spacey vanity project, I found his performance believable and engaging with style appropriate to the best lounge singers of the time (Sinatra included) and spot-on perfect for Darin, if not better than the original. I've heard Spacey is touring with his band to promote this biopic; I'd go just to enjoy Spacey as a gifted singer.

The only moments to get past the many Darin songs and into his life are those centering on the influence of his "mother" (Brenda Blethyn, "Secrets and Lies") and his marriage to Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth). In the former, Blethyn does a bit of singing and dancing to show that Spacey is not the only multi-talent on the set. In the latter, the pop- culture lite of their romance is handled believably, as one might try to do David Beckham and his spicey love, a marriage just a vacuous and emblematic as the Darins'.

The irony of Sandra's mother wanting her to go after Rock Hudson rather than Darin brings laughter, intended for sure, as the audience is aware of Spacey's contending with rumors about being gay. Even jokes about Darin's toupee resonate with Spacey's own rugs in real life and for this part. Spacey doesn't take himself as seriously as critics do (witness an early scene where in the framing device of Darin filming his own life, he is accused of being too old to play himself).

The conjunction of subject and biographer is challenging at best. Paul Murray Kendall in "The Art of Biography" says, "On the trail of another man, the biographer must put up with finding himself at every turn: any biography uneasily shelters an autobiography within it." In that sense, Beyond the Sea is as much about Kevin Spacey as it is Bonny Darin.

This biopic ranks third next to Ray and De-Lovely; in another less-full year, it would be the best.

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