7.7/10
9,951
163 user 80 critic

The Swimmer (1968)

M/PG | | Drama | 9 August 1968 (Finland)
Trailer
2:43 | Trailer
A man spends a summer day swimming as many pools as he can all over a quiet suburban town.

Directors:

Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack (uncredited)

Writers:

Eleanor Perry (screenplay), John Cheever (story)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Ned Merrill
Janet Landgard ... Julie Hooper
Janice Rule ... Shirley Abbott
Tony Bickley Tony Bickley ... Donald Westerhazy
Marge Champion ... Peggy Forsburgh
Nancy Cushman Nancy Cushman ... Mrs. Halloran
Bill Fiore Bill Fiore ... Howie Hunsacker
David Garfield David Garfield ... Ticket Seller (as John Garfield Jr.)
Kim Hunter ... Betty Graham
Rose Gregorio Rose Gregorio ... Sylvia Finney
Charles Drake ... Howard Graham
Bernie Hamilton ... Chauffeur
House Jameson ... Mr. Halloran
Jimmy Joyce Jimmy Joyce ... Jack Finney
Michael Kearney Michael Kearney ... Kevin Gilmartin
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Storyline

Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friend's pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim across the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Burt Lancaster hits the screen with a bolt of personal drama as "The Swimmer" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M/PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Burt Lancaster paid for the US $10,000 cost for the one extra day's shooting for the last day of filming. See more »

Goofs

Julie's hair goes from brushed to windblown and back again several times in the same sequence. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Donald Westerhazy: Where have you been keeping yourself?
Ned Merrill: Oh, here and there. Here and there.
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Connections

Featured in The Story of the Swimmer (2014) See more »

User Reviews

 
Wonderfully Sad Portrait of Suburban Loneliness
2 June 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Frank Perry's screen adaptation of the achingly sad John Cheever short story gets the tone of Cheever's story just right, even if the movie itself doesn't have quite the same impact.

There have been countless strong and powerful films made around the theme of suburban loneliness, and this movie belongs to that genre. There's something so poignant about the idea that someone can exist in a world that's manufactured for the sole purpose of providing its inhabitants with luxury, pleasure and convenience, and still be miserable. You'd think people would have gotten the point by now, and figured out that privilege, wealth and materialism have virtually nothing to do with ultimate happiness, but if our own consumerist culture is any indication, they haven't.

What helps "The Swimmer" to stand out from other similarly-themed films is the way the story is told. It's only through the reactions of others that we begin to sense what's wrong with Burt Lancaster's character. To us, he looks the picture of middle-aged robustness and health. Lancaster became a much better actor as he aged, and he gives a wonderful performance here, as his bravado and macho virility (the strutting and preening of a man on top of the world) slowly dissolves into a lost insecurity, until the film's final devastating moments leave him as forlorn as a baby.

What a sad, sad movie.

Grade: A-


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1968 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Swimmer See more »

Filming Locations:

Westport, Connecticut, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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