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Somewhere in Time (1980)

Trailer
1:59 | Trailer
A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time and meet the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director:

Jeannot Szwarc

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Richard Matheson (novel)
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Popularity
4,593 ( 608)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Reeve ... Richard Collier
Jane Seymour ... Elise McKenna
Christopher Plummer ... William Fawcett Robinson
Teresa Wright ... Laura Roberts
Bill Erwin ... Arthur Biehl
George Voskovec ... Dr. Gerald Finney
Susan French ... Older Elise
John Alvin ... Arthur's Father
Eddra Gale ... Genevieve
Audrey Bennett Audrey Bennett ... Richard's Date
William H. Macy ... Critic (as W. H. Macy)
Laurence Coven Laurence Coven ... Critic
Susan Bugg Susan Bugg ... Penelope
Christy Michaels Christy Michaels ... Beverly
Ali Marie Matheson Ali Marie Matheson ... Student (as Ali Matheson)
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Storyline

Young writer Richard Collier is met on the opening night of his first play by an old lady who begs him to "Come back to me". Mystified, he tries to find out about her, and learns that she is a famous stage actress from the early 1900s, Elise McKenna. Becoming more and more obsessed with her, he manages, by self hypnosis, to travel back in time where he meets her. They fall in love, a matching that is not appreciated by her manager. Can their love outlast the immense problems caused by their "time" difference? And can Richard remain in a time that is not his? Written by Rhino <rhino@blueyonder.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He sacrificed life in the present... to find love in the past. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bid Time Return See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,203,011, 5 October 1980

Gross USA:

$9,709,597

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,709,597
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rastar Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film got made because the Universal Pictures studio owed director Jeannot Szwarc a favor because Jaws 2 (1978) had been the studio's biggest box-office performer of 1978. Somewhere in Time (1980)'s budget was originally set at US $8 million but the studio cut it in half to US $4 million and would only green-light the film with such a reduction due to a belief and resistance by studio executives that the film had limited appeal - the time-travel aspect of the film had no visual effects or time-machine, the picture being made in the genesis of the post Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) special and visual effects boom era. See more »

Goofs

In the book of biographies Richard reads at the library it states that Elise McKenna was born on November 11, 1885. Later on in the film, Robinson states that he's been working with Elise since she was sixteen-years-old in March of 1903. Either she was actually seventeen or she was born in 1886 rather than 1885. So, either Robinson was misremembering or the biographer screwed up/was unable to find accurate documents. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[various snippets in crowd chatter]
Richard Collier: I got some news. There was an agent in the house tonight, and he said he thinks this play might be good enough for Broadway.
[cheers from crowd]
Richard Collier: Fingers crossed, who knows? Come on, let's all have some cake.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The new 20th anniversary edition DVD and video have been digitally remastered for better clarity, and include a new documentary on the making of "Somewhere In Time" (60 minutes on DVD, 30 minutes on video) featuring current interviews with the cast and crew, as well as a running commentary from director Jeannot Szwarc. They also include new, never-before-released stills from the film, and a documentary on the fan organization INSITE: The Int'l Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts (rare for a studio to acknowledge). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later: Reunion (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

You Made Me Love You
(uncredited)
Written by James V. Monaco and Joseph McCarthy
Performed by Jane Seymour
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most achingly beautiful movies ever
3 December 2002 | by kanerazorSee all my reviews

Somewhere in Time is a movie any sensitive person with a heart will love, I guarantee you. From the opening at the theater to the unbelievably moving final scene, I have never seen a film so passionately and yet so innocently depict the power of absolute, all-encompassing, unconditional love.

The story is so simple, yet therein lies the beauty. Richard Collier, a man with no love in what otherwise seems like a nice enough life, becomes enchanted at the sight of Elise McKenna's painting and with only the power of his heart travels back to her time. Once there, he looks for Elise, and finds her. Elise is confused and does not immediately respond because of her manager W.F. Robinson, but she quickly returns Richard's love. I will not say anymore, other than that the ending made me feel so warm and yet made me want to cry. You will be hard pressed to find a movie lighter on plot, and there are many questions left unanswered, but that's perfect because Somewhere in Time is very surreal, and dreamlike even. The emphasis is not on watching events, but on simply feeling love, and this is as close as anyone has ever come to making a movie out of pure emotion.

Jane Seymour looks radiant while on screen but this is Christopher Reeve's movie. Reeve, after amazing everyone with his talent, good looks, and charisma in one of the biggest blockbusters ever, could have become one of Hollywood's all-time great leading men. Instead, a series of horrible decisions about what roles to take and not take made it so that he had to do TV movies to pay the bills by the late 1980s. To this day, to 99% of the public he is the paralyzed Superman and nothing more. But this is the one movie that shows what should have been. He very convincingly depicts Richard first as goofy kid, then as empty older man, then as someone simply awestruck by love and determined to let nothing stop him from getting the breathtaking Elise. Then, in the final scenes, he portrays his anguish so remarkably it is wrenching to watch.

Also deserving of special mention is Christopher Plummer, who seems to be an extraordinary actor on the basis of the two films I've seen him in (the other is The Insider). A lesser actor would have made Robinson into a mustache-twirling villain, and brought the whole production down to the level of a soap opera. Plummer, however, with his nuanced performance, makes us hate Robinson, but also makes us his feel his pain. Through his subtle mannerisms, we see that Robinson himself deeply longs for Elise's love, but has probably never been loved and never will be loved by anybody. We thus realize how incredibly lucky Richard is. I personally saw Robinson as perhaps someone whose father never loved him and whose mother died when he was very young, and he has spent his whole life wanting to truly take care of someone like Elise but it is as if he has been rendered incapable. He is still contemptible for the things he does to Richard, but he is also a tragic figure, and the script has nothing to do with that-it's all Christopher Plummer.

John Barry's score is also among the most enchanting in movie history, in my opinion. I have never heard a score which so wonderfully conjured up feelings of timeless love. Jeannot Szwarc may not be a well known or otherwise accomplished director, but he does this one perfectly. This movie in the wrong hands could so easily come across as corny and trite, but instead it is such an absorbing masterpiece. Every element in this movie is just perfect, and it should be universally considered one of the greatest love stories of all time (if not the greatest, like I think it is).

As it is most people have never heard of it, but it is nice to know that a small devoted following gives it the recognition it deserves. I hope it continues to win people's hearts for generations to come.


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