7.7/10
8,457
145 user 84 critic

The Swimmer (1968)

Approved | | Drama | 9 August 1968 (Finland)
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

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A documentary about the making of the cult film The Swimmer (1968).

Director: Chris Innis
Stars: Michael Hertzberg, Ted Zachary, Bob Horn
Castle Keep (1969)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Patrick O'Neal, Jean-Pierre Aumont
The Swimmer (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Irakli Kvirikadze
Stars: Elguja Burduli, Ruslan Mikaberidze, Baadur Tsuladze
Elmer Gantry (1960)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A fast-talking traveling salesman with a charming, loquacious manner convinces a sincere evangelist that he can be an effective preacher for her cause.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Arthur Kennedy
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Forced to trade his valuable furs for a well-educated escaped slave, a rugged trapper vows to recover the pelts from the Indians and later the renegades that killed them.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas
The Train (1964)
Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Arthur Penn
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A D.A. investigates 3 white teenagers accused of murdering a blind Puerto Rican kid.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
Edit

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
Edit

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:

When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1968 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Schwimmer 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The source short story by John Cheever that has a length of just a dozen pages was written from a manuscript of notes that totaled 150 pages. See more »

Goofs

At the Biswangers, when he is pushed, Ned's positioning in the close-up does not match the other shots. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in La Controfigura (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The American nightmare!
4 February 2007 | by unreasonableboySee all my reviews

What can you say about the swimmer that hasn't already been said. On reflection you have to feel sorry for Ned Merrill, certainly you can't have any sympathy for any of the characters he meets on his way! If he has suffered some sort of mental breakdown the question is why? This movie was set in the civilized environment of New England, Connecticut to be precise and it highlights the cozy drinks around the swimming pool and lavish dinner party Scean that is part and parcel of American culture.

It's perplexing to me that people would put so much expenditure and effort in putting in a pool something that you can only use in New England for about 5-6 months of the year. (Although in the Bizwangers case they added a sliding roof whereby at least they could use the pool all year round!) However the real reason for a pool in New England is to have your friends around, show off your pool and drink and eat to excess. However you can't be satisfied with that, in addition you have to have a pig roast with professional caterers and bar tenders to boot with a band playing in the back ground, thats real living. Material possessions are not just something to show off but are part of what is required to achieve status, without status in the US you have achieved nothing.

So how did Ned Merrill find himself in this predicament? In a conversation with Julie Ann Hooper he recalls that while on a transatlantic ship down in steerage he saw his wife to be, up in first class, he climbed over the barriers wooed her with his charm and that was the beginning of a whirlwind romance. So Ned Merrill found the inside track to achieve high social status. Next comes the huge wedding no expense spared, the grand house and soon the family. Status is not just 6 figure salary, but the house, the cars, the family, the job, throwing wild parties and being a member of an influential committee that's doing charity work. That's not it, being seen at $10000 plate political fund raisers, being a church deacon and basically rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers in your suburban community is a requirement. At one scene at the Graham's Betty says to her husband "I wish we couldm travel more!" A bemused looking Howard says" why we have everything we want right here? That just sums up the attitude that the whole world evolves around their neighborhood. It epitomizes the culture of contentment and it's world of self importance.

Yet Ned Merills found to his cost that when his wife left him, or threw him out he found that everything else became very imbalanced and just like a house of cards once one falls the rest all comes down. Well you can figure out all of the sordid scenarios in sequence, many reviewers have tried but the bottom line is that your life and status can nose-dive into a downward spiral with marriage and work upheaval i.e. friends suddenly don't return calls, invitations to regular events don't turn up but worse you find that you are tapped of favors from colleagues and employment prospects start to very look bleak.

For people who live in such circles this must be their worst nightmare because you lose one you can lose it all. How do you adjust to such a dramatic change! In Ned Merrills case he became so obsessed in pursuing his American dream and totally absorbed in what he regarded as important that he fell into a state of self-propelling delusion.

Shallow, selfish people who put so much emphasis on status and material possessions as a sign of success find it hard to cope with such misfortunes . Why didn't Neddy just pack his bags and move to the west coast and start again? He can't, partly because of his pride and the fact that he was handed a lot probably makes it all the more harder. But the answer to the question is that he was conditioned to believe in a certain way and that without all of the above he was nothing, and he can't accept it?

All in all Ned Merill made things worse for himself, nothing to fall back on, nothing for a rainy day,no safe deposit box full of gold Krugerrands or cash. He threw everything into his lifestyle took himself too seriously and found very little sympathy from former friends, colleagues and acquaintances when the tide turned! Burt Lancaster was proud of this movie and so he should. His performance is very believable, he exuded confidence, happiness and the American spirit. Interestingly at the beginning of the movie he in no way portrayed a middle aged man on skid row which makes the ending even more disturbing when you see the state of him at the end. It could happen to the best of us, Was this what Cheever was trying to portray?


43 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 145 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed