6.7/10
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23 user 37 critic

Death Watch (1980)

La mort en direct (original title)
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2:19 | Clip
In a future where dying of illness is exceedingly rare, a terminally ill woman becomes a celebrity and a man with camera implants goes to secretly record her for a morbid TV show.

Director:

Bertrand Tavernier

Writers:

David Compton (novel), David Rayfiel | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Romy Schneider ... Katherine Mortenhoe
Harvey Keitel ... Roddy
Harry Dean Stanton ... Vincent Ferriman
Thérèse Liotard ... Tracey
Max von Sydow ... Gerald Mortenhoe (as Max Von Sydow)
Caroline Langrishe ... Girl in the Bar
William Russell ... Dr.Mason (as William Russel)
Vadim Glowna ... Harry Graves
Eva Maria Meineke ... Dr. Klausen
Bernhard Wicki ... Katherine's Dad (as Bernard Wicki)
Freddie Boardley Freddie Boardley ... Technician
Robbie Coltrane ... Limosine driver
Julian Hough Julian Hough ... Young doctor
Peter Kelly Peter Kelly ... Technician
Boyd Nelson Boyd Nelson ... Policeman
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Storyline

Roddy has a camera implanted in his brain. He is then hired by a television Producer to film a documentary of terminally ill Katherine, without her knowledge. His footage will then be run on the popular television series, "Death Watch". Written by Philip Brubaker <coda@nando.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's the target of every eye...including eyes only science could create.

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | West Germany

Language:

French | English | German

Release Date:

April 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Watch See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point of the film, Gerald Mortenhoe (Max von Sydow) tells some historical facts about the Medieval French Composer Robert De Bauleac, while listening to one of his works on a record player. When the film was released, numerous music lovers tried to get a copy of the same record in specialized stores, which could never provide any for a very good reason: Robert De Bauleac has never existed, and the composition heard in the film is Antoine Duhamel's work. However, the concerned piece of music, "Robert De Bauleac's Lament", has been since available as part of the complete movie soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

Vincent Ferriman: Look how shy we've become about death. It's the new pornography.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Harvey Keitel wears a Seiko watch. See more »

Connections

References The Masque of the Red Death (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Robert De Beauleac's Lament
Written by Antoine Duhamel, Produced by Gabriel Boustiani
Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Harry Rabinowitz
See more »

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User Reviews

 
sci-fi without the hardware
13 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

Science fiction films in recent years have been noticeably lacking both credible science and original fiction, but this multi-national production is a startling exception, presenting a complex tale of emotional manipulation that engages the imagination without the crutch of special effects. The intriguing plot, set in a recognizable near future where medical advances have completely eliminated the threat of natural death, follows a young volunteer (Harvey Keitel) who after having experimental micro-cameras implanted into his eyes agrees to follow a woman known to have a rare, incurable disease, in order to record on video her final days for the entertainment of a desensitized and nostalgic TV audience. Despite the morbid premise (anticipating by two decades the current glut of tacky, ersatz 'reality TV' programming) it's a surprisingly life-affirming movie, maintaining a mood of cautious optimism even while prophesying dark days just around the corner.


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