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Right of Way (1983)

A dying woman and her husband agree to a joint-suicide pact, whether others like it or not.


George Schaefer


Richard Lees, Richard Lees (play)
3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bette Davis ... Mini Dwyer
James Stewart ... Teddy Dwyer
Melinda Dillon ... Ruda Dwyer
Priscilla Morrill ... Mrs. Finter
John Harkins ... G. Clayburn
Jacque Lynn Colton Jacque Lynn Colton ... Mrs. Belkin
Louis Schaefer Louis Schaefer ... Kahn
Charles Walker Charles Walker ... Kahn's Assistant
Ismael 'East' Carlo ... Gardener (as East Carlo)
Jane Kaczmarek ... TV Reporter
Mark L. Taylor ... Paramedic (as Mark Taylor)
John Ratzenberger ... Policeman
Edith Fields ... Saleswoman
Paco Vela Paco Vela ... TV Cameraman
Michael Canavan ... Process Server (as Michael V. Murphy)


Miniature Dwyer is named after her mother, who was making miniature doll houses when Minnie was born. Minnie, too, has built doll houses for years, and when she learns that she is terminally ill, she and her husband Teddy begin planning their joint suicide. She makes sure that her dolls are placed with people who will appreciate and cherish them. The couple refuse to allow their grief-stricken daughter or the solicitous social worker or anyone else to forestall the death they are determined is right for them. Written by alfiehitchie

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Did You Know?


The first and only film to co-star Hollywood legends Bette Davis and James Stewart. See more »


Teddy Dwyer: We've lived together and we want to die together.
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Alternate Versions

HBO reportedly filmed three alternate endings for this made-for-television movie about an elderly couple that wants to end their lives together, and their adult daughter who wants to stop them. In the original scripted ending, the daughter finds the garage sealed and hears the car running inside, but decides not to interfere. She walks into the house, answers a phone, and looks the at the dolls her mother has left behind. In another ending that was filmed, a news crew visits the home and hears the car inside. They break in and the daughter finds here parents in the house being treated by paramedics. The daughter is told they are technically under arrest and the bewildered father is led away by a policeman while his wife is being treated on a couch. In a third version it reportedly is a passerby who notices the fumes coming from the garage rather than a news crew. When originally broadcast on HBO the original ending was used in which the couple died, but the other endings have appeared in other formats and in other markets. See more »

User Reviews

What about forgotten men?
6 September 2005 | by Josep PararedaSee all my reviews

Ruda is a single daughter near to reach forty that truly love her old parents. She has her own business making clay pots, as she did as a hobby when she was a child. Their parents asked her to visit them to make her know their determination to end their lives together because of an illness from the mother. Her father told that she has a blood disease whose strange name he feels unable to remember. The mother said she is allergic to her own blood. Ruda send people to their house to try to convince their parents reconsider their decision. Mr. Dwyer (Jimmy Stewart) has an original desk and his wife (Bette Davis) create lovely dolls. They feed lots of cats whose preferred ones are named Robert DeNiro, Paul Newman and Jimmy Cann... Sometimes some of the cats does an incursion into the next house neighbor woman whose children seem countless. One day a man must deliver them a package and ask Mr. Dwyer if he is Mister or Mistress Dwyer! The film has plenty of comical and tender moments. Once, Mr. Dwyer ask a man in the street about what means the sentence: "Que pasa con los hombres olvidados?" from Pablo Neruda, for who he feels a strong admiration.

I'm delighted to see working together two of the greatest stars ever in one of their last performances.

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Release Date:

21 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Right of Way See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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