63 user 65 critic

Bad Timing (1980)

A psychiatrist, living in Vienna, enters a torrid relationship with a married woman. When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, an inspector becomes set on discovering the demise of their affair.


Nicolas Roeg


Yale Udoff (screenplay)
3 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Art Garfunkel ... Alex Linden
Theresa Russell ... Milena Flaherty
Harvey Keitel ... Inspector Netusil
Denholm Elliott ... Stefan Vognic
Daniel Massey ... Foppish Man
Dana Gillespie ... Amy Miller
William Hootkins ... Col. Taylor
Eugene Lipinski ... Hospital Policeman
George Roubicek ... Policeman #1
Stefan Gryff Stefan Gryff ... Policeman #2
Sevilla Delofski Sevilla Delofski ... Czech Receptionist
Robert Walker Robert Walker ... Konrad
Gertan Klauber ... Ambulance Man
Ania Marson ... Dr. Schneider
Lex van Delden Lex van Delden ... Young Doctor


The setting is Vienna. A young American woman is brought to a hospital after overdosing on pills, apparently in a suicide attempt. A police detective suspects foul play on the part of her lover, an American psychology professor. As doctors try to save her life, the detective interrogates the professor, and through flashbacks we see the events leading up to the woman's overdose; her stormy and intensely sexual relationship with the professor, her heavy drinking and numerous affairs, and her estrangement from her Czech husband. A darkly erotic study of several rather unsympathetic characters. Written by Marty Cassady <martyc@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His terrifying obsession took them to the brink of death and beyond. [Video Australia] See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The credits feature paintings of the influential Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. See more »


Near the beginning of the movie, when the Czechoslovakian border guard checks the names on his list, the list contains several Czech swear words instead of personal names and occupations ("Mrdac", "Kurevnik", "Prdelac"...). See more »


Milena Flaherty: I'll be dead in a minute; just wanted to say good-bye.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The BBFC made one cut to the film in the UK before theatrical release. The cut footage juxtaposes an image of lovemaking with a shot of a child. This was re-edited into separate shots due to concerns about the Child Protection Act, and all versions available worldwide are the re-edited version. See more »


Featured in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


Dreaming My Dreams
Sung by Billy Kinsley
Written by Allen Reynolds (uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

My Life
12 August 2013 | by FrostyChudSee all my reviews

I've just returned after seeing this movie and it has messed your dude up. This was my life for the two years I spent with my Milena. The parallels are uncanny. I am kind of nerdy just like Garfunkel...same pathetic physique...but like Garfunkel I have a certain magnetism. Garfunkel's not exactly a wimp...there's some steel in his gaze. My Milena was just as magnetic and beautiful as Theresa Russell...really. My Milena also lived in a sordid, messy, sexy aerie with a big bed, overfull ashtrays, half-read books everywhere. The alcohol? Check. The infidelity? Check. The suicide attempts? Check. The much older other man? Check. The sleazy, disgusting party friends? Check. The late-night drunk calls that may or may not have been suicide attempts? Check. The intense sex that regularly turned into something twisted? Check. Just like Garfunkel I was hooked...just like Garfunkel I had a "together" life...my God, I even study psychoanalysis...and just like Garfunkel there was more than a hint of bad faith in the togetherness I opposed to my Milena's sloppiness. Like Garfunkel, the idea that Milena had other lovers made me crazy...like Theresa Russell, my Milena needed secrets...lies...she couldn't breathe without her lies and secrets.

The scene where she sets Garfunkel up with her fake suicide attempt only to loose the full force of her hysterical cruelty on him...check...down to the blows and the broken bottles...and it marked the moment our love died, even if things dribbled on for a while after that.

Anyway...you get the picture. You know a movie is good when it shows you things about YOUR OWN life that you hadn't noticed before. That's the secret of a great movie: you feel like it's talking to you and to you alone. I have a feeling I'm not the only person who walked out of the cinema feeling like he had just seen his own life on the screen. Almost everything is perfect. This film is even more disturbing than DON'T LOOK NOW. That is saying a lot. The one wrong note for me was Harvey Keitel. I liked the contrast of his healthy virility with Garfunkel's nerdiness...but Keitel got something wrong. Not sure what...it was certainly a tricky role, and he wasn't exactly bad, but something was wrong.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 63 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | German | Czech | French

Release Date:

25 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Timing See more »

Filming Locations:

Austria See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed