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Ordinary People (1980)

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The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director:

Robert Redford

Writers:

Judith Guest (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,359 ( 401)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Calvin
Mary Tyler Moore ... Beth
Judd Hirsch ... Berger
Timothy Hutton ... Conrad
M. Emmet Walsh ... Swim Coach
Elizabeth McGovern ... Jeannine
Dinah Manoff ... Karen
Fredric Lehne ... Joe
James Sikking ... Ray (as James B. Sikking)
Basil Hoffman ... Sloan
Quinn K. Redeker ... Ward (as Quinn Redeker)
Mariclare Costello ... Audrey
Meg Mundy ... Grandmother
Elizabeth Hubbard Elizabeth Hubbard ... Ruth
Adam Baldwin ... Stillman
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Storyline

Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

some films you watch, others you feel. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 February 1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Gente como uno See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$54,800,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lee Remick and Ann-Margret were both suggested for the role of Beth, but Redford said in interviews that he had seen Mary Tyler Moore, alone on the beach that bridged their properties one morning. He said that Moore, who looked like she was in a contemplative, stricken state, was precisely who he envisioned when he read the book. And while he considered other actresses, he was never able to shake that image, and eventually offered Mary Tyler Moore the role. Ironically, Moore's son Richie Meeker died shortly after the film wrapped, from an accidental discharge from a gun he was holding, not unlike the death of her character's son in the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Karen and Conrad at the restaurant, the straw in Karen hands starts unwrapped, then becomes wrapped, and then suddenly jumps into the Coke. See more »

Quotes

Conrad "Con" Jarrett: It's impossible after all the shit I've pulled.
Dr. Berger: What shit have you pulled?
[pause]
Dr. Berger: Hey, remember, I'm talking proportion here, now what shit?
[pause]
Dr. Berger: C'mon, you must be able to come up with at least one example.
[pause]
Dr. Berger: And don't give me, "I tried to kill myself." That's old turkey.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in House: House Divided (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden
(1969) (uncredited)
Written by Joe South
Sung a cappella a bit by Judd Hirsch
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unforgettable
12 December 2004 | by triple8See all my reviews

I saw Ordinary People when I was very young and had a very difficult time with the storyline.However, even then I think I knew I was watching something simply remarkable. Even after all these years, it's impact has not lessened, which I guess is a mark of an incredible movie. The movie is among the most disturbing I've ever viewed and the performances, at least to me, are among the best. I can't imagine viewing this movie without feeling absolutely drained afterwards and I think I may have been a bit to young to fully appreciate it, but I can't imagine giving this anything but a 10, it was absolutely flawless in it's storytelling.

I do think though, that a certain element of maturity is needed to view this, there are few I know who have not been touched or upset by the story and if one is to young or just not in the right mood to handle the heaviness(as I wasn't at the time),they may not be able to fully appreciate it. I still know people who cannot sit through this and I understand why but I hope this movie will be viewed by many who can handle it, it's impact is fierce, all the performances are incredible and Mary Tyler Moore's performance is among the best of any female lead ever.


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