7.8/10
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298 user 62 critic

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
3,288 ( 168)
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 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

This film was made and released about four years after Judith Guest's source novel was published in 1976. Director Robert Redford read the novel when it was still in galley proof form, met with Guest, and purchased the film rights prior to publication. The book has also been adapted into a stage play. See more »

Goofs

While Conrad is watching the swim meet and fighting outside of school, he has a red plaid shirt under a gray sweater. When he arrives back at his grandmother's house and the subsequent scenes, he has a white with thin blue stripes shirt and a beige sweater. This second outfit is what he wore for his date with Jannine, so the sequence at his grandmother's may originally have been intended to occur in the film between the date and the swim meet but later was moved to occur after the swim meet. See more »

Quotes

Conrad "Con" Jarrett: [about Karen's suicide] I feel bad about this! I feel really, really bad about this! Just let me feel bad about this!
Dr. Berger: Okay. I feel bad about it, too.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rain Man (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Canon in D major
Composed by Johann Pachelbel
Arranged for mixed voices by Noel Goemanne
Additional arrangement by Jean-François Paillard (as Jean-Francois Paillard)
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User Reviews

 
This movie saved my life
8 October 2004 | by will1410See all my reviews

I was 16 years old in 1984 when I first saw this movie. I was also clinically depressed and suicidal. I had been on antidepressants for about a year (in the pre-prozac days) and I happened to see this movie on Showtime or HBO - almost by accident. Timothy Hutton perfectly captures what it's like to be depressed as a teenager. And Judd Hirsch and Hutton perfectly capture the patient/therapist relationship. There are also a few perfect little scenes that capture the problems of a family that can't communicate. Especially memorable is the scene where Calvin tells Beth about the shoes he wore to Buck's funeral. This film captures all of the important moments like this that truly demonstrate the problems the family is having. After seeing it, I read the book and I knew that if Conrad could go on, so could I. I watch this movie once every few years. It really means a lot to me.


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