Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, 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.

Director:

Robert Benton

Writers:

Avery Corman (from the novel by), Robert Benton (written for the screen by)
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Popularity
1,892 ( 606)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 34 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Ted Kramer
Meryl Streep ... Joanna Kramer
Jane Alexander ... Margaret Phelps
Justin Henry ... Billy Kramer
Howard Duff ... John Shaunessy
George Coe ... Jim O'Connor
JoBeth Williams ... Phyllis Bernard (as Jobeth Williams)
Bill Moor Bill Moor ... Gressen
Howland Chamberlain ... Judge Atkins
Jack Ramage Jack Ramage ... Spencer
Jess Osuna ... Ackerman
Nicholas Hormann ... Interviewer
Ellen Parker Ellen Parker ... Teacher
Shelby Brammer Shelby Brammer ... Ted's Secretary
Carol Nadell 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Meryl Streep was heavily pregnant in the final scene, hence the reason why Joanna is wearing a raincoat. See more »

Goofs

After Ted drops Billy at school, Joanna's hand position on the window changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joanna Kramer: I love you, Billy.
Billy Kramer: I love you too, Mommy.
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Alternate Versions

When aired on commercial TV, the shots of Phyllis naked, and her unexpected interaction with Billy, are darkened completely. Most commercial prints also omit the sound of Billy urinating. See more »

Connections

Featured in Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto in C Major for Mandolin and Strings: 1. Allegro
Antonio Vivaldi
Adapted and Conducted by Herb Harris
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User Reviews

 
Benton's greatest Writing and Directing, his achievement in film winning all the top major Oscars of 1979
27 February 2010 | by CihanVercanSee all my reviews

Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer is a character based story just like his "Human Stain(2003)" and "The Late Show(1977)". 2 of his 3 Oscar awards are belong to Kramer vs. Kramer, for his success on directing and writing; thus making his film bringing a real life drama with the real life characters so close to us. It's all about ordinary people with our problems. What's different and catchy about Robert Benton's film-making was here we are not trying to put ourselves in the actors' shoes, the actors are trying to put themselves in our shoes.

The story is about the Kramer family which is broken, father and mother are separated, and they have to fight for their son's custody in court against each other. After his wife walks out on him, Ted Kramer's life completely turns upside down. He has to take care of his son, Billy; but at the same time he's very busy with his position in an advertising company. Soon, he loses his job; Billy has an accident; his wife wants Billy to live with her. Against all the problems Ted is facing, he always fought with his heart. Ted's a very emotional and sensitive man, but a strong person at the same time.

Ted Kramer character was a new model for Dustin Hoffman. But since the late 1950s' Elia Kazan's pioneer approach of modern drama making on film, with the basic instalment of the leading actor into a conflict, Ted Kramer's strong character raised Dustin Hoffman's acting to become a legend ; just like it did to Marlon Brando, Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson with 1970s'.

Something more about the movie; the linear cut has been 43 minutes longer than the theatrical release. Most of this cut has included Meryl Streep's deleted scenes. Also Meryl Streep has been originally cast in the role of Ted's one night stand, eventually played by second supporting actress Jobeth Williams. Meryl Streep's role as Joanna Kramer has been primarily offered to Kate Jackson; but due to her contract rules with the TV-series Charlie's Angels, she hasn't been able to accept this role. Joanna Kramer character has been designed to be the leading actress and subject to have more scenes, before director Benton making the last decision of the plot's focus point.

Both Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman today have splendid fame on movie career, and Kramer vs. Kramer was an important milestone for both of their careers. Dustin Hoffman's Oscar speech winning the best actor at the 1979 Academy Awards ceremony is one of the best Oscar speeches of all Academy Awards history; like the movie Hoffman's Oscar speech is also available to watch on Youtube.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kramer Versus Kramer See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$106,260,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$106,260,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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