151 user 137 critic

Seconds (1966)

An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.


John Frankenheimer


Lewis John Carlino (screenplay), David Ely (based on the novel by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Campanella ... Man in Station
John Randolph ... Arthur Hamilton
Frances Reid ... Emily Hamilton
Barbara Werle ... Secretary
Edgar Stehli ... Tailor Shop Presser
Aaron Magidow Aaron Magidow ... Meat Man
Dee Dee Young Dee Dee Young ... Nurse (as De De Young)
Françoise Ruggieri ... Girl in Boudoir
Murray Hamilton ... Charlie
Thom Conroy Thom Conroy ... Dayroom Attendant
Jeff Corey ... Mr. Ruby
Will Geer ... Old Man
Richard Anderson ... Dr. Innes
Rock Hudson ... Antiochus Wilson
Khigh Dhiegh ... Davalo


Middle-aged banker Arthur Hamilton is given the opportunity to start a completely new life when he receives calls from his old friend Charlie. The only problem is that Charlie is supposed to be dead. Hamilton is eventually introduced to a firm that will fake his death and create an entirely new look and life for him. After undergoing physical reconstruction surgery and months of training and psychotherapy, Hamilton returns to the world in the form of artist Tony Wilson. He has a nice house in Malibu and a manservant, a company employee who is there to assist him with his adjustment. He finds that the life he had hoped for isn't quite what he expected and asks the company to go through the process with surprising results. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not for weak sisters! May not even be for strong stomachs! See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Initially director John Frankenheimer was reluctant to cast Hudson, who he felt was a lightweight actor in comparison to Laurence Olivier and Kirk Douglas, other actors he wanted for the lead part. It was only after Hudson's agent convinced him at a party that Hudson could do the role that he went ahead with Hudson. He has later gone on to praise Hudson's work in the film and felt he was impeccably cast. See more »


At the beginning, when Arthur Hamilton is on the train, he gets his newspaper and starts doing crosswords with a pen in his right hand. Later on he signs the contract at the clinic with his holding the pen in his left hand. See more »


[first lines]
Man in Station: Mr. Hamilton?
Arthur Hamilton: Yes?
[Man in train station hands Hamilton a folded sheet of paper and turns to walk away; Hamilton stares after him, then opens the folded paper to find an address, with no explanation]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The re-released version in 1996 (originally debuting on laserdisc) restores various shots of nudity to the "orgy" sequence involving crushing wine grapes. This was how John Frankenheimer originally shot the scene but the MPAA refused to allow the nudity to pass so the theatrical release was re-edited to remove all nude shots. See more »


Love Is Just around the Corner
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Lewis E. Gensler
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played at the party
See more »

User Reviews

Convincing, noiresque, nightmare of modernity. Superlative camera work and probably Rock Hudson's best performance.
21 February 2015 | by babblon26See all my reviews

Just had to add a note of admiration for this greatly overlooked masterpiece of modern angst. I saw it when a student in Glasgow in 1969. That is probably why it has stayed to haunt me - possibly to the grave. Beyond that, I really don't know.

I'm no film critic but like several of the cinema cognoscenti, I was surprised Rock had a movie like this in him. Probably his best. The camera work takes you right in. You don't remember willingly suspending disbelief. It is as plausible and convincing as a good nightmare. Bleak, black and white, terse like John Boorman's Point Blank. Round about the same time as Blow Up appeared. Also a surprisingly mature performance from David Hemmings, matched the mood of powerlessness and fatalism that pervades Seconds.

A little further off it recalled the Incredible Shrinking Man. The same mood of fatalism pervades but from a different perspective. In the latter, the isolated individual is redeemed by some metaphysical union with the universe. In Seconds the isolated, narcissistic self implodes.

John Frankenheimer's modern Frankenstein. Or another parallel universemight be Dorian Grey. It is a multi layered movie.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 151 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

2 October 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seconds See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-release: 1996)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed