7.7/10
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I Never Sang for My Father (1970)

GP | | Drama | June 1971 (UK)
A man who wants to move on with his life by moving to California and marry his girlfriend, finds it difficult as he still lives in the towering shadow of his aging father.

Director:

Gilbert Cates

Writers:

Robert Anderson, Robert Anderson (based on "I Never Sang For My Father" by)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Melvyn Douglas ... Tom Garrison
Gene Hackman ... Gene Garrison
Dorothy Stickney ... Margaret Garrison
Estelle Parsons ... Alice
Elizabeth Hubbard Elizabeth Hubbard ... Peggy
Lovelady Powell Lovelady Powell ... Norma
Daniel Keyes Daniel Keyes ... Dr. Mayberry
Conrad Bain ... Rev. Pell
Jon Richards Jon Richards ... Marvin Scott
Nikki Counselman Nikki Counselman ... Waitress
Carol Peterson Carol Peterson ... 1st Nurse
Sloane Shelton Sloane Shelton ... 2nd Nurse
James Karen ... Old Age Home Director
Gene Williams Gene Williams ... State Hospital Director
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Storyline

Hackman plays a New York professor who wants a change in his life, and plans to get married to his girlfriend and move to California. His mother understands his need to get away, but warns him that moving so far away could be hard on his father. Just before the wedding, the mother dies. Hackman's sister (who has been disowned by their father for marrying a Jewish man) advises him to live his own life, and not let himself be controlled by their father. Written by Kristian Krokfoss <krokus@online.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Strangers See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (still photograph)| Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As of 2018, the only Oscar nominated performance by Gene Hackman in a non-Best Picture nominated film. See more »

Quotes

Margaret Garrison: Look how he walks. Like a brigadier general. He may not always remember where he is going, but he always goes there with a firm step.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Strangers
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
Sung by Roy Clark
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still Remembered Thirty-Five Years Later
27 September 2005 | by tfbrown4See all my reviews

This is one film that has stayed with me since I first saw it; in spring, 1971; in a time before I had to shave everyday. The movie theater in which I saw it has long-since been turned into a touring-company playhouse...and the name of my date has long-since slipped my mind. Not really...but my wife might read this.

A friend of mine who is a physician told me that no one ages gracefully. As much as I value his friendship and judgment, Melvyn Douglas must be held as an exception to that dictum. Though his role here is little different from that of Paul Newman's father in "Hud," he plays it magnificently. One can scarcely imagine him as a romantic leading man, although he was...and opposite Greta Garbo, at that. His scene with Gene Hackman at the funeral home is too real and too devastating to pass off as "schmaltz." Gene Hackman has never given a bad performance, and his role here, as the dutiful, though semi-distant son, is (arguably) one of his best. He realizes he must live his own life...though, being a widower himself, he knows on an adult level what his father--suddenly all-too-human and frail--is suffering. He must choose between fealty to the man who gave him life and the woman who now gives his life meaning and passion. The bedroom scene, in which he discusses his doubts with her, is very real. Not every middle-aged adult has faced such choices.

I saw this film when I was 17 and have not seen it since. But as I grow older its meaning and significance grows ever-increasingly important. We, all of us, want to gain the approval of our father. Yet, our passions, those things that give meaning to our life, might not be what our father values...and so we share them with others and not with the one whose approval, love, and affirmation we most desire and most need.

Is it schmaltzy, as some have said?....Is life?


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