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A Family Upside Down (1978)

An elderly married couple find that as their physical and mental health deteriorates, they find themselves dependent more and more upon their grown children.


David Lowell Rich


Gerald Di Pego
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Hayes ... Emma Long
Fred Astaire ... Ted Long
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Mike Long
Pat Crowley ... Carol Long
Patty Duke ... Wendy (as Patty Duke Astin)
Brad Rearden ... Scott Long
Ford Rainey ... Mr. Case
Kim Hamilton ... Paula
Phillip R. Allen Phillip R. Allen ... Dr. Russo
Karl Held Karl Held ... Al
Lanna Saunders Lanna Saunders ... Mrs. Lovell
Belinda Palmer ... Rhonda
Miiko Taka ... Mrs. Taka
David Haskell David Haskell ... House Painter
R. Norwood Smith R. Norwood Smith ... Wes Allen


An elderly married couple find that as their physical and mental health deteriorates, they find themselves dependent more and more upon their grown children.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

9 April 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Solange wir leben See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Elizabeth Brady Cabot Winslow claims this she is basis of the lead character in this film, but that she was not credited for it because of her corrupt agent. See more »

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User Reviews

Yes, this is definitely a box of Kleenex film!
12 February 2017 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In many ways, "A Family Upside Down" reminds me of the great but super-depressing film "Make Way for Tomorrow". It's a brutal and honest look at aging...and it's certainly NOT a movie to watch if you are seriously depressed. Regardless, it's a film that you should watch with some Kleenex nearby...you may well need them.

Emma and Ted Long (Helen Hays and Fred Astaire) are an elderly couple. However, Ted's health has taken a recent turn for the worse. Following a heart attack, he's unable to do many of the things he loves and refuses to change his lifestyle. His attitude is that if he does, he may as well be dead...something I can definitely understand. This also brings on many challenges...especially when the couple becomes separated and Ted is forced to go into nursing care. How they as well as their families deal with it is what make this film interesting...as well as brutal to watch.

The two best things about this movie are the casting of Hays and Astaire as well as how it faces these end of life decisions honestly...something you rarely see in films or television. In general, you don't see a lot of older people in the media or if you do their problems are often sanitized. This one, however, really makes you think...especially about the quality of life versus the quantity.

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