10 user 2 critic

Second Serve (1986)

Fact-based story about tennis pro Renee Richards, whose player status was challenged in 1976 when it was revealed that she was a transsexual. Flashback to 1964 and meet Richard Radley, a ... See full summary »


Anthony Page


John Ames (book), Gavin Lambert | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Richard Radley / Renee Richards
Martin Balsam ... Dr. Beck
William Russ ... Josh
Alice Krige ... Gwen
Kerrie Keane ... Meriam
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Dr. David Radley
Reni Santoni ... Dr. Roberto Granato
Louise Fletcher ... Dr. Sadie M. Bishop
Jeff Corey ... Dr. Harry Benjamin
Alan Feinstein ... Bill
Nina van Pallandt ... Danielle (as Nina Van Pallandt)
Michael Cavanaugh ... Gene Scott
Kenneth Tigar ... Ross
Alison La Placa ... Nightclub Singer
Ray Girardin Ray Girardin ... Grigsby


Fact-based story about tennis pro Renee Richards, whose player status was challenged in 1976 when it was revealed that she was a transsexual. Flashback to 1964 and meet Richard Radley, a successful New York doctor with a great lifestyle, a flashy girl friend, and a secret life. Seems like the good doctor likes to dress up in women's clothes and visit Manhattan. His psychiatrist mother refuses to deal with him and sends him to a colleague who diagnoses with a psychotic gender confusion, which he says can be unlearned. After a failed marriage and fatherhood, he gives in to the transsexual operation and becomes Renee for good with a new life in California. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Vanessa Redgrave stars as Dr. Renee Richards. The man who became a champion female tennis player. A true story. See more »


Biography | Drama | Sport







Release Date:

13 May 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Change My Life See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Telepictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Vanessa Redgrave, Martin Balsam and Louise Fletcher. See more »


Referenced in Ugly Betty: Brothers (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

You'll be hooked
28 February 2004 | by pete3194See all my reviews

This is a telemovie, but make no mistake about its quality. There are better production and performance values here than in many big screen Hollywood flicks.

Get it if you can! I'm lucky enough to have found an ex-rental copy many years ago.

Vanessa Redgrave delivers a performance characteristic of her extraordinary body of work - stirring, believable, assured, compelling - in fact you will wonder where the 90 minutes went as she takes you on an incredible trip through the life of an extraordinary individual.

Redgrave is totally convincing as a man, and as the movie progresses she remains totally convincing as a woman who was once a man. She clearly has enormous empathy for the difficulties faced by Richard Radley in his long and arduous quest to live the life he wants, as Renee Richards.

There are some other fine performances in this film (Louise Fletcher, however, is surprisingly stilted) but it is Vanessa Redgrave's breathtaking portrayal that makes this movie unmissable, and will make you forgive the glib, all-too-convenient telemovie-style moments of plot development, of which there are mercifully few.

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