7.2/10
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The World According to Garp (1982)

A struggling young writer finds his life and work dominated by his unfaithful wife and his radical feminist mother, whose best-selling manifesto turns her into a cultural icon.

Director:

George Roy Hill

Writers:

John Irving (novel), Steve Tesich (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Williams ... Garp
Mary Beth Hurt ... Helen Holm
Glenn Close ... Jenny Fields
John Lithgow ... Roberta Muldoon
Hume Cronyn ... Mr. Fields
Jessica Tandy ... Mrs. Fields
Swoosie Kurtz ... The Hooker
James McCall James McCall ... Young Garp
Peter Michael Goetz ... John Wolfe
George Ede George Ede ... Dean Bodger
Mark Soper ... Michael Milton
Nathan Babcock Nathan Babcock ... Duncan
Ian MacGregor Ian MacGregor ... Walt
Warren Berlinger ... Stew Percy
Susan Browning Susan Browning ... Midge Percy
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Storyline

Based on the John Irving novel, this film chronicles the life of T S Garp, and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a "serious" writer, Jenny writes a feminist manifesto at an opportune time, and finds herself as a magnet for all manner of distressed women. Written by Tony Bowden <t.bowden@qub.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Robin Williams is Garp. He's got a funny way of looking at life.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name of the vicious dog that bit Garp's ear and later got its own ear bitten off by Garp was Bonkers. See more »

Goofs

As Garp is chasing the errant truck driver for the second time, as they run around the front of the truck the boom mic is seen in the windshield of the truck and it is partly disguised with leaves to look like a branch. It comes down from the upper right of the windshield and wiggles a bit. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Fields: [first lines] Garp? Garp?
Jenny Fields: Yes, Garp.
Mr. Fields: Garp. Garp?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The "co-starring" end credits state: "Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn Appear as a courtesy to The MacDowell Colony" See more »

Alternate Versions

In the theatrical release, when Roberta Muldoon is talking with Garp's mother Jenny about the accident, she says "...to have it bitten off in a Buick." The reference to Buick was subsequently removed, so Roberta now just says "...to have it bitten off." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Human Duplicators (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

When I'm Sixty-Four
Written by John Lennon (uncredited) and Paul McCartney (uncredited)
Performed by The Beatles
Courtesy of EMI Records, Limited
See more »

User Reviews

 
Episodic. Like life itself.
18 May 2008 | by TOMASBBloodhoundSee all my reviews

The World According to Garp is an unconventional film, to say the least. Not so much in the sense of how it looks, or how it is acted. More than anything the film stands out because it is a human drama that doesn't take a stance or one particular point of view. T. S. Garp is simply a man trying to live his life amongst all manner of eccentric characters and unlikely situations. And like life, things happen. People grow old. There are moments of joy. There are moments of tragedy. And people die.

Robin Williams plays the title character known by most as simply "Garp". His mother, played with dignified enthusiasm by Glenn Close, has brought him up all by herself. She is a nurse and during WWII, she used the sperm of a dying tail gunner who she happened to be caring for in his final moments. To call this woman a feminist would be a magnificent understatement. Her sexuality is never made that clear to the viewer but is is inferred by some around her that she is in fact a lesbian. Her only relationship with a man that we learn of is the encounter that produced her son, and she spends much of the film condemning the lusty ways of men and boys. As the film goes on, she becomes a famous writer and feminist leader. Garp spends much of his life trying to be a successful writer himself and raising a family, but he never seems to escape his mother's shadow.

The plot simply follows the life of Garp and his family members. A great many things happen to these people over the span of many years. Careers are made, children are born, affairs are had, and the joys of life are often shattered by terrible tragedies. Williams is decent enough as Garp. He maybe acts a bit too zany in the light-hearted scenes, but he nails the more dramatic ones pretty well. That's the amazing thing about Robin Williams. The guy is an absolute nut most of the time he's in front of a camera, but when he bears down and plays something serious, it's stunning to see how great his range can be. He is an undervalued actor. Glenn Close steals this film though in terms of acting. She owns every scene she's in much like how her domineering character towers over that of her son's. The supporting cast is more than adequate with John Lithgow getting major props for his daring turn as a transsexual with a heart of gold. The film seems to take its share of jabs at radical feminism as it depicts a sect of women knows as the Ellen Jamsians. These women cut out their own tongues to protest the similar fate of a rape victim. And boy do these ladies HATE men. An act of violence in one of the final scenes shows how fanatical they can be. (as if cutting out their tongues wasn't bad enough!) Each person who views this film will probably see something different in it, and those are my favorite kinds of films. There are moments of definite humor, surprise, hope, and tragedy. You will not be bored. The film is based on a popular novel by John Irving and is worth 9 of 10 stars.

The Hound.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The World According to Garp See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,902,088, 25 July 1982

Gross USA:

$29,712,172

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,712,172
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pan Arts, Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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