7.8/10
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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
1,481 ( 659)
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:

Everything is in its proper place... Except the past. 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

Robert Redford's directorial film debut. See more »

Goofs

When Karen and Conrad are at the restaurant and Karen is leaving, the glass of Coke that Conrad ordered but never touched has disappeared from where it was on the table. See more »

Quotes

Conrad "Con" Jarrett: I made a 74 on a trig quiz.
Beth Jarrett: Oh really? Gosh I was awful at trig.
Conrad "Con" Jarrett: Oh. Really? You took trig?
Beth Jarrett: No... wait a minute... ha, did I take trig? Huh... anyway, I bought you two shirts they're on your bed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in House M.D.: We Need the Eggs (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by all at the party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Family Drama
20 July 2005 | by qdude440See all my reviews

This is a powerful directing debut from Robert Redford, a great family drama that goes every which way but down. By the end, our thoughts have been altered a bit and its a film that leaves you thinking.

Conrad, played brilliantly by Timothy Hutton in an Oscar winning role, is the depressed suicidal son of a couple struggling to cope with their son's drowning death. Conrad of course feels responsible, and has already tried to take his own life once before.

Reluctantly, he begins to see a shrink at the advice of his father. Dr. Berger, also played brilliantly by Judd Hirsch {though there are no slouches in the cast}, helps Conrad through thick and thin. By the end of the movie, the audience truly feels for all characters to some degree.

As has been stated, the acting is magnificent. The story may seem simple but this type of film really doesn't need a heavy plot. Its an excellent look at the problems we all face. When I first saw this at a young age I related completely to Conrad's character. When I saw this tonight, I related more to the adults and could really feel for them a lot more than I remembered. Each character has a unique sense of reality to them. The actors really carry the film, making the characters seem like real people we've known for years.

Unfortunately this movie has received somewhat of a bad reputation over the years as the film that beat Raging Bull in 1980 for the Best Picture and Director Oscars. While both movies are excellent, its sad that one has to be better than the other and people just don't enjoy both movies for what they are. Many people have preconceived opinions about this 'small' film they have not heard of. After all, Raging Bull is an all time classic. Just watch this movie with an open mind, because it really works on every level as a powerful family drama detailing the persona of many different types of people.


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