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Death of a Salesman (1951)

An over-the-hill salesman faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family.

Director:

Laslo Benedek

Writers:

Arthur Miller (play), Stanley Roberts
Reviews
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Fredric March ... Willy Loman
Mildred Dunnock ... Linda Loman
Kevin McCarthy ... Biff Loman
Cameron Mitchell ... Happy Loman
Howard Smith ... Charley
Royal Beal Royal Beal ... Ben
Don Keefer ... Bernard
Jesse White ... Stanley
Claire Carleton ... Miss Francis
David Alpert David Alpert ... Howard Wagner
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Storyline

An over-the-hill salesman faces a personal turning point when he loses his job and attempts to make peace with his family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One mistake...seen by his sons...unleashes...in the overwhelming power...the greatest drama of our day!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 May 1952 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Tod eines Handlungsreisenden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur Miller disliked this film version of his play because he felt that the flashback sequences made it look as if Willy Loman were literally acting out his past in front of others, and that this made him seem insane. Perhaps because of this, other versions of the play have been shown on TV and video, but the 1951 version has not been televised in more than twenty years, and it has never been issued on VHS or DVD. See more »

Quotes

Linda Loman: A man is not an orange. You can't eat the fruit and throw the peel away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cleveland Show: Birth of a Salesman (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
If not the very best 'Salesman', still quite worth seeing
18 January 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

If the lead actor is good, this play is so powerful, it's almost production proof. I've seen it many times, in different media and interpretations, and never fail to be moved and disturbed by it. And usually the subtle differences from production to production are enough to see new elements of the characters and story.

In some ways this is my least favorite filmed 'Salesman'-- the slightly dated acting sometimes feels a bit theatrical (possibly also because the actors were almost all in the play on Broadway, and there's a bit of 'playing to the back row' in the work).

But at the same time these are very good actors, so even if they're theatrical at moments they can still be quite moving. I really liked Fredric March; he looked and felt 'right' if not quite as complex as some Willys I've seen. And Kevin McCarthy is very good as Biff, except for the most emotional moments, where you can feel him 'push' a little.

There are also some lovely little visual touches, that help balance the stage bound feeling. The ending didn't get me quite as much as usual, mostly because I believe some dialogue was re-ordered for this film version in a way that made it a touch less stark and powerful.

It also bothered me that Willy seems more obviously crazy from the start.

But for all that carping, this is still a wonderful film of a story that always makes me think about my own father, all the fathers of that generation, and even our own modern mid-life crises, not really all that different from Willy's. The questions are still the same; what did my life mean? Will anyone remember me? How did reality stray so far from my dreams?


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