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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

PG | | Drama | 19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

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(from the novel by), (written for the screen by)
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3,502 ( 154)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Ted Kramer
... Joanna Kramer
... Margaret Phelps
... Billy Kramer
... John Shaunessy
... Jim O'Connor
... Phyllis Bernard (as Jobeth Williams)
Bill Moor ... Gressen
Howland Chamberlain ... Judge Atkins
Jack Ramage ... Spencer
Jess Osuna ... Ackerman
... Interviewer
Ellen Parker ... Teacher
Shelby Brammer ... Ted's Secretary
Carol Nadell ... Mrs. Kline
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Storyline

Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted, however, refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are three sides to this love story!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kramer Versus Kramer  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$106,260,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The length of time that the marriage between Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) and Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) had gone for was a duration of around eight years. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Kramer's lawyer tells him that, if he wishes to appeal the decision granting custody to his ex-wife, his son would have to take the stand. On an appeal, no new evidence is called, and therefore the son would not be called as a witness. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joanna Kramer: I love you, Billy.
Billy Kramer: I love you too, Mommy.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in What a Year: 1980 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gordian Knot Untied 3. Rondo Minuet
Henry Purcell
Adapted by John Kander
Conducted by Paul Gemignani
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Intelligent and Solid Film About Divorce
9 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

After a decade of turbulent unrest, American movies began to switch gears and turn their cameras away from war-torn battlefields, political corruption, and general social unease to the more intimate world of family dysfunction. The toll the selfish Baby Boomers began to take on the American family as they grew up and had kids of their own was making itself felt.

"Kramer vs. Kramer" is one of the first of these dysfunctional family dramas that would continue to be so popular throughout the 1980s, and it's one of the best. It gets a rather bum rap now, because it's known as the film that beat "Apocalypse Now" for the 1979 Best Picture Academy Award, but comparing these two films is like comparing a banana to a marinated chicken breast: they're not remotely the same, but can't we enjoy them both? Director/writer Robert Benton doesn't try to do anything fancy with his movie; its strength lies in its performances, those of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep particularly, playing a divorced couple fighting childishly and selfishly over their son. The courtroom scene in which they duke it out for custody, and in which each is forced to hurt the other in terrible ways, is devastating, and feels authentic. The movie doesn't present Hoffman's solid dad as a hero, or Streep's straying mom as a villain. They're neither good or bad as people -- they're simply bad at being married.

The film is tear-jerky at the finale, but not in a manipulative way. It earns its right to elicit sobs.

Grade: A


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