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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Poster

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The strength of the performances of the two leads can be at least partly attributed to what was going on in their private lives at the time. Dustin Hoffman was in the midst of a messy divorce, while Meryl Streep was still recovering from the death of her lover, John Cazale.
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The famous ice cream scene, where Billy challenges his father by skipping dinner and going straight for dessert, was completely improvised by Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry. Writer and Director Robert Benton liked the scene so much, that he decided to keep it in the film.
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Dustin Hoffman planned the moment when he throws his wine glass against the wall during the restaurant scene with Meryl Streep. The only person he warned in advance was the cameraman, to make sure that it got in the shot. Streep's shocked reaction was real, but she stayed in character long enough for Writer and Director Robert Benton to yell cut. In the documentary on the DVD, she recalls yelling at Hoffman as soon as the shot was over for scaring her so badly.
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When Justin Henry was nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Academy Award, Henry, at the age of eight, became the youngest person to be nominated for this award, as well as the youngest Oscar nominee in any category, a record which still stands today (2018).
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The stenographer in the courtroom scenes was a real one. In-between takes, Dustin Hoffman would chat with her and he asked her if she worked on many divorce cases. She replied that she used to, but was burnt out by the experience, as she found them to be too emotionally painful. Instead she had moved to homicide cases, which she said were much easier to handle.
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Meryl Streep wrote her own courtroom speech upon Writer and Director Robert Benton's suggestion, after she told him she wasn't satisfied with the way it was originally written.
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Dustin Hoffman, who was going through a marital separation and who divorced his first wife soon after filming ended, contributed many personal moments and dialogue. Writer and Director Robert Benton, offered shared screenplay credit, but Hoffman turned it down.
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Meryl Streep was originally cast in the role of Ted's one-night-stand, eventually played by JoBeth Williams. When Kate Jackson was contractually unable to accept the role of Joanna, it was offered to Streep.
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Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep would often, jokingly, try to get Justin Henry to pick one of them over the other. One day on the set, Hoffman asked Henry who he'd rather be with. Henry said, "Her. She's nicer", to which Hoffman replied, "Oh yeah? Work with her five weeks then see what you say."
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Dustin Hoffman worked extensively with Justin Henry on each scene, discussing them at length to put him at ease.
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JoBeth Williams's funny nude scene was optically darkened for the film's theatrical run, to avoid an R rating. The un-darkened version frequently appears in some television prints.
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Meryl Streep requested changes to her character, as she felt that the story was relying on the audience to understand why Joanna left without letting Joanna express it for herself. It was her belief that the character as written, in both the screenplay and the book, was too one-dimensional, an obvious villain for Ted and Billy to react to and change their lives accordingly.
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Meryl Streep left her just-claimed Oscar for the film on the back of a toilet during the 1980 festivities.
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The final courtroom scene had one important re-write: Joanna's explanation of why she left. Robert Benton feared major delays but, in fact, Meryl Streep had in mind what she wanted, and quickly re-wrote the monologue. Benton said, "Well, the scene is brilliant. I cut only two lines. What you see there is hers."
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The highest-grossing movie of 1979.
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The woman that Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) suddenly kissed at the party was Ingeborg Sørensen, a former Miss Norway and Playboy Playmate.
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There was initially tension between Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. Hoffman was hearing lots of advance publicity about newcomer Streep and how she was mastering the role and Hoffman felt he was being upstaged. When Streep wanted to change around the dialogue in the restaurant meeting scene, Hoffman became furious. As Hoffman recalled, "I hated her guts. Yes, I hated her guts. But I respected her." He accepted that Streep wasn't arguing for what was best for her character, but what was best for the movie.
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Meryl Streep was pregnant during the filming of the movie.
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Meryl Streep was heavily pregnant in the final scene, hence the reason why Joanna is wearing a raincoat.
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Meryl Streep said that after Dustin Hoffman hit her to get her into character, she decided she never wanted to work with him again.
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Joanna (Meryl Streep) states in court that her salary is thirty-one thousand dollars in 1979; this is the equivalent of roughly one hundred three thousand seven hundred dollars in 2017.
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The scene between Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the restaurant was filmed at J.G. Melon's, on East 74th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. A framed still from the film hangs on the wall next to the table where the scene was shot.
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Al Pacino turned down the role of Ted Kramer.
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When Néstor Almendros found out they were planning on decorating Billy's room with Disney figures, he objected. Not because of anything having to do with lighting and camerawork, rather, he felt it would be intrusive. He said, "I thought that would be like inviting a third character into the intimate scenes between the child and mother and father." He suggested painting clouds on the walls instead. Robert Benton liked and approved the idea.
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Meryl Streep shot her scenes for Manhattan (1979) during breaks in filming.
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The first cut ran forty-three minutes longer than the final cut.
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The set for the apartment was designed to fit exactly within the size of the apartments in the building used for exteriors.
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The music played during the opening credits is Antonio Vivaldi's Mandolin Concerto.
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At the Governor's Ball held after the The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) Ceremony, Meryl Streep left the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar she had won for this movie in the ladies' room.
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Dustin Hoffman offered the part of Ted's one-night-stand to Joan Lunden, who was a news reporter at the time, after seeing her on WABC Eyewitness News. Lunden turned the part down when she learned that the role required some nudity.
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Kate Jackson was the original choice for Joanna Kramer. She had to decline due to her commitment to Charlie's Angels (1976), although an alternative reason has also been reported. According to the book "The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History", Sherry Lansing of Columbia Pictures "insisted on her (Streep) over Kate Jackson".
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(June 2008) Ranked number three on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Courtroom Drama".
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Billy's crying is real. Robert Benton asked Justin Henry to think of a saddening memory before the take. Reportedly, at The 37th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1980), when Ricky Schroder won the Best New Male Star of the Year award, according to the book "The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History", Henry "threw a raging tantrum".
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Goldie Hawn turned down the role of Joanna Kramer.
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Dustin Hoffman treated Meryl Streep horribly on-set. Aside from hitting her and the infamous wine glass scene, he reportedly whispered John Cazale's name to her in order to get a reaction from her. Cazale, Streep's lover, had died in 1978 of cancer and Streep was still recovering at the time of filming.
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As of 2018, the only film in which Meryl Streep won the Academy Award for her acting performance, and the film won Best Picture.
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Writer and Director Robert Benton advised Cinematographer Néstor Almendros to base the look and color of the film on the paintings of Piero della Francesca. Almendros also used the work of David Hockney as an inspiration, and designed a realistic look, using source lighting in rooms with ceilings and available light in exteriors.
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French Director François Truffaut was asked to direct the film, even with his regular cinematographer hired in anticipation, but Truffaut was busy with other projects, and turned down the movie, recommending the movie's screenwriter to direct.
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Susan Sarandon was up for the role of Joanna Kramer.
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Meryl Streep joked that she was sure once Billy became a teenager, Ted would send Billy back to Joanna.
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This film was one of several movies in a 1980s Hollywood cycle of pictures about divorce. Initiated by this Best Picture Oscar winning film, the cycle included this movie, as well as, Shoot the Moon (1982), The Champ (1979), Author! Author! (1982), Table for Five (1983), Heartburn (1986), Irreconcilable Differences (1984), Enemies: A Love Story (1989), The Good Mother (1988), The War of the Roses (1989), and The Last Married Couple in America (1980).
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This was the first of two consecutive films concerning interpersonal relationships and family bonds to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The next year's winner was Ordinary People (1980).
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Even though she is a supporting character, Joanna only appears for about a quarter of the film (which is why she's a supporting character, and not a lead character).
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Jon Voight turned down the role of Ted Kramer.
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Diane Keaton was considered for the role of Joanna Kramer.
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Jane Fonda turned down the part of Joanna Kramer.
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Debut theatrical movie of Justin Henry (Billy) and JoBeth Williams (Phyllis Bernard).
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Is the only Oscar for Best Picture winning film from the 1970s not to be inducted into the National Film Registry.
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One of three 1979 movies starring Meryl Streep. The movies are Manhattan (1979), this movie, and The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979).
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In the famous "fight scene", where Ted and Billy fight over the ice cream, the flavor is "chocolate chocolate chip". This is the same flavor that Dustin Hoffman, brings to his date with Teri Garr, in Tootsie (1982).
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Justin Henry was encouraged to improvise to make his performance more natural.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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James Caan was offered the role of Ted Kramer, but turned it down.
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Features Justin Henry's only Oscar nominated performance.
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This movie was released two years after its source novel by Avery Corman was published.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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The book Ted is shown reading to Billy after the scene where he spots Joanna watching them, is an English translation of "Le Trésor de Rackham le Rouge" ("Red Rackham's Treasure") from "Les Adventures de Tintin" ("The Adventures of Tintin") comic series by Hergé.
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In the movie, Ted and Joanna were married on April 4, 1969. During filming, Dustin Hoffman was divorcing his first wife, whom he had married on May 4, 1969.
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The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep; and three Oscar nominees: Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, and JoBeth Williams.
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The date that Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) and Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) were married was April 4, 1969.
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From the minute that Producer Stanley R. Jaffe and Writer and Director Robert Benton first read Avery Corman's source novel, the only actor envisioned in the lead was Dustin Hoffman.
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Justin Henry received an "introducing" credit.
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The only film that year to be Oscar nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
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The cast is headed by two people who have won two Best Leading acting Academy Awards. Dustin Hoffman won for Rain Man (1988) and this movie. Meryl Streep won for Sophie's Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011). Streep also won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this movie.
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First of two collaborations between Meryl Streep and Writer and Director Robert Benton. The other being Still of the Night (1982).
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George Hamilton was considered for Ted Kramer.
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Robert Benton considered Roy Scheider for the role of Ted Kramer.
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The length of time that the marriage between Ted and Joanna Kramer had gone was a duration of around eight years.
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First of two collaborations of Dustin Hoffman and Writer and Director Robert Benton. The movies are this movie and Billy Bathgate (1991). Hoffmann played a title character in each of the two films. Billy is also the first name of Hoffman's character's son in this movie.
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In the novel, Joanna Kramer's maiden name is Joanna Stern.
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Many People saw this as an unofficial sequel to "The Graduate." They even considered casting Katherine Ross (Elaine from the Graudate) in the Elaine Robinson role.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The primary drama in "Kramer vs. Kramer" revolves around the custody battle between Ted (Dustin Hoffman) and Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep). Streep's character initiates the proceedings, the same way her character Mary Louise does in Season 2 of "Big Little Lies". The storylines overlap in many different ways.
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