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A Voyage Round My Father (1982)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 19 April 1984
Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey (1978), writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between ... See full summary »


Alvin Rakoff


John Mortimer (play), John Mortimer (screenplay)
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Olivier ... Clifford Mortimer
Alan Bates ... John Mortimer
Jane Asher ... Elizabeth
Elizabeth Sellars ... Mother
Michael Aldridge ... Headmaster
Alan Cox ... Son as a Boy
Norman Bird ... Ham
Albert Welling ... Japhet
James A. Downer James A. Downer ... Reigate
Susan Littler Susan Littler ... Miss Cox
Gay Wilde Gay Wilde ... Miss Baker
Anthony Sharp ... Film Director
Ann Davies Ann Davies ... A.T.S. Girl
Judy Riley Judy Riley ... A.T.S. Girl
Jonathan Newth ... Boustead


Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey (1978), writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid twentieth century Britain. Screen legend Sir Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch, a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Sir Alan Bates (Gosford Park (2001)) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited (1981)) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer and filmed largely on-location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable, but ultimately unbreakable.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les lumières de la nuit See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The house in which the family lived is the house in which author John Mortimer and his parents lived, and where the author lived until his death in 2009. The gardening hat that Sir Laurence Olivier wore belonged to John Mortimer's father. See more »


Headmaster: Remember, the only real drawback to our great public school system is unsolicited cake.
See more »


Featured in Great Performances: Laurence Olivier: A Life (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

What a Wonderful Elegy He Made for Himself
5 May 2000 | by alicecbrSee all my reviews

Sir Laurence Olivier, the magnificent!! What a sweet comedy and the line to best ALL lines: "I ALWAYS get angry when I'm dying!" and he does. This was his swan song a few years before he died.

And how great it was to see two Anthonies play opposite on another, Alan Bates and Laurence Olivier. Father and son, it was so wonderfully sweet and funny. Of course, the beautiful English countryside wasn't half-bad either.

I love observing the native habits of the English. They are so funny and so well educated...at least they were back in those times before the fall of the Empire. To watch all the goings-on in the courtroom was well worth the price of the movie. U.S. courtroom behavior is so much more cut and dried with none of the unmeant and deliberate humor that was injected in this movie.

See this one, and understand that it can well be a primer for dying the good death.

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