9 user 22 critic

A Bigger Splash (1973)

Semi-fictionalized documentary biopic of British artist David Hockney. After a difficult break-up, Hockney is left unable to paint, much to the concern of his friends. Titled after Hockney's pop-art painting 'A Bigger Splash.'.


Jack Hazan
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hockney ... Self
Peter Schlesinger Peter Schlesinger ... Self
Celia Birtwell Celia Birtwell ... Self
Henry Geldzahler Henry Geldzahler ... Self (Collector)
Mo McDermott Mo McDermott ... Self (Friend)
Kasmin Kasmin ... Self (Dealer)
Mike Sida Mike Sida ... Self
Ossie Clark Ossie Clark ... Self (Dress Designer)
Susan Brustman Susan Brustman ... Self
Patrick Procktor Patrick Procktor ... Self
Betty Freeman Betty Freeman ... Self
Nick Wilder Nick Wilder ... Self
Joe McDonald Joe McDonald ... Self
Edward Kalinski Edward Kalinski ... Self (as Eddie Kalinski)
Gregory Gregory ... Self


When David Hockney's beautiful lover, Peter Schlesinger, breaks up with him, it leaves David a complete emotional wreck. An artist, he suddenly finds himself unable to create anything, and is awash in depression and loneliness. After a time, David is able to find inspiration in his backyard swimming pool, and he begins a portrait of it. This unique docudrama presents a semi-fictionalized account of the story behind one of Hockney's most popular paintings. Written by Polly_Kat

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Referenced in Cinemania (2002) See more »

User Reviews

Brilliant, Beautiful and Genuinely Unusual Documentary
28 February 2006 | by cllrdr-1See all my reviews

Artist David Hockney is such a lively colorful figure that one might expect a film about his life and art to be a bubbly romp. But Jack Hazan takes quite a different route. He followed Hockney and his circle of friends around for quite a considerable amount of time -- shooting in 35mm, rather than 16mm as was popular for documentary films at this time. Moreover, rather than aim for a "cinema verite" styled "truth," Hazan deals in fantasy and melodrama. The action covers a period in which Hockney and his lover and model, Peter Schlesinger, are breaking up. Hockney is having what appears to be a somewhat difficult time finishing a large canvas for which Schlesinger was the subject, and Hazan suggests that the end of the relationship played a part in this difficulty. But he only suggests. He doesn't offer a set conclusion. What he does do is utilize film as means of entering Hockney's visual world. Many of his close friends and associates, including Ozzie Clark, Celia Birtwell, Patrick Procktor and Henry Geldzahler make appearances conversing with Hockney -- whose verbal wit is everywhere apparent. Most daring of all is scene in which Schlesinger and another young man make love.

When he finally saw the results Hockney was both surprised and slightly appalled. "Two hours of weeping music," he called it. No surprise as "A Bigger Splash" gets a lot closer to Hockney's inner and outer life than he probably imagined it would.

A very important film for art lovers, and a very important piece of gay cinema.

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Release Date:

10 April 1975 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bigger Splash See more »


Box Office


GBP20,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,000, 23 June 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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