6.9/10
14,034
138 user 64 critic

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

Not Rated | | Biography, Comedy, Drama | 1 October 2004 (UK)
Trailer
1:01 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

The feature adaptation of Roger Lewis' book about the actor best remembered as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.

Director:

Stephen Hopkins

Writers:

Roger Lewis (book), Christopher Markus (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 29 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Activists arrive in Seattle, Washington en masse to protest a meeting of the World Trade Organization. Riots and chaos ensue as demonstrators successfully stop the WTO meetings.

Director: Stuart Townsend
Stars: André Benjamin, Jennifer Carpenter, Isaach De Bankolé
Sleepwalking (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The drama follows a twelve-year-old girl's struggle to come to terms with her mother's abandonment.

Director: Bill Maher
Stars: Charlize Theron, Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An actor poses as a lawyer to help his sick friend, and problems develop.

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Michael Richards, Jeff Daniels, Charlize Theron
Trapped I (2002)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The Jennings' fight for their daughters life after she is kidnapped by an experienced gang of thieves.

Director: Luis Mandoki
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Charlize Theron, Courtney Love
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A romantic comedy about two trashy couples travelling to Reno to see a monster truck show.

Director: Jordan Brady
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Charlize Theron, Patrick Swayze
15 Minutes (2001)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A homicide detective and a fire marshal must stop a pair of murderers who commit videotaped crimes to become media darlings.

Director: John Herzfeld
Stars: Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

From the roaring 1920s to the ruinous Spanish Civil War and Adolf Hitler's rise into power, the lives of an Irish schoolteacher, a provocative heiress and her Spanish muse are intricately interlaced, sharing the same destiny and passion.

Director: John Duigan
Stars: Charlize Theron, Stuart Townsend, Penélope Cruz
You Kill Me (2007)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

While drying out on the West Coast, an alcoholic hitman befriends a tart-tongued woman who might just come in handy when it's time for him to return to Buffalo and settle some old scores.

Director: John Dahl
Stars: Ben Kingsley, Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An insurance investigator and an efficency expert who hate each other are both hypnotized by a crooked hypnotist with a jade scorpion into stealing jewels.

Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Greg Stebner, Woody Allen, John Tormey
Shine (1996)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Pianist David Helfgott, driven by his father and teachers, has a breakdown. Years later he returns to the piano, to popular if not critical acclaim.

Director: Scott Hicks
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drama with a two-tiered storyline concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood.

Director: Guillermo Arriaga
Stars: Charlize Theron, John Corbett, José María Yazpik
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To prove that he still is strong and powerful, Philippe Douvier decides to kill Clouseau. Once news of his "death" has been announced, Clouseau tries to take advantage of it and goes undercover with Cato to find out who tried to kill him.

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geoffrey Rush ... Peter Sellers
Charlize Theron ... Britt Ekland
Emily Watson ... Anne Sellers
John Lithgow ... Blake Edwards
Miriam Margolyes ... Peg Sellers
Peter Vaughan ... Bill Sellers
Sonia Aquino ... Sophia Loren
Stanley Tucci ... Stanley Kubrick
Stephen Fry ... Maurice Woodruff
Henry Goodman ... Dennis Selinger
Alison Steadman ... Casting Agent
Peter Gevisser ... Ted Levy
David Robb ... Dr. Lyle Wexler
Edward Tudor-Pole ... Spike Milligan (as Edward Tudor Pole)
Steve Pemberton ... Harry Secombe
Edit

Storyline

The professional and personal life of actor and comedian Peter Sellers was a turbulent one. His early movie fame was based primarily on his comic characterizations, often of bumbling and foreign-accented persons, characters which he embodied. As his movie fame rose, he began to lose his own personal identity to his movie characters, leading to self-doubt of himself as a person and a constant need for reassurance and acceptance of his work. This self-doubt manifested itself in fits of anger and what was deemed as arrogance by many. In turn, his personal relationships began to deteriorate as his characterizations were continually used to mask his problems. His first wife, Anne Howe, left/divorced him and his relationships with his parents and children became increasingly distant. His relationship with his second wife, Swedish actress Britt Ekland, was based on this mask. In his later life, he tried to rediscover himself and his career with what would become his penultimate film role, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Never judge a man by his cover. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 2004 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Moi, Peter Sellers See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£125,748 (United Kingdom), 1 October 2004, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the scenes featuring Emilia Fox's performance as Peter Sellers' fourth wife Lynne Frederick were left out of the final cut, Fox is still visible in the background of the scene showing the filming of a scene from Being There (1979). She is the blonde woman standing behind the cameraman and crew behind Peter Sellers (Geoffrey Rush). In a deleted scene on the DVD, there is a continuation of this scene. After the take is over, Lynne tries to talk to Sellers, but he remains in character as the simpleton Chance. See more »

Goofs

When they are filming the scene in the war room in _Dr. Strangelove (1962)_ (q), you can see that the table is blue. However on the real set of "Dr. Strangelove" the table was covered in green fabric. See more »

Quotes

Peter Sellers: [Talking to Ann about Britt] She's the most extraordinary girl... like a tulip about to bloom... phenomonal in bed. It is funny, isn't it? I keep saying that I'll never get hooked again. I'm tired of having my heart bleed, yet here I am. I think I want to marry her... that's if you think it's OK.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The frame freezes and the end credits start. After some informations about the last part of life of Peter Sellers have scrolled up the screen, the credits stop and the camera suddenly pulls back, revealing Geoffrey Rush watching the end titles sitting in front of a monitor on a studio set. He turns toward the camera, waves, gets up, leaves the set and walks to a trailer. The camera tries to follow him inside, but he turns and says "You can't come in here". The door closes, and the camera zooms in on the sign with the name "Peter Sellers". The film again fades to black and we see the rest of the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The BBC broadcast a version with some scenes rearranged, some scenes shortened and a few other edits:
  • The montage of Peter Sellers' earlier films is cut together with the scene where he moves into a big new house with Anne and the children. Also the song 'I Haven't Told Her, She Hasn't Told Me' sung by Peter is played instead of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me to the Moon'.
  • The first Maurice Woodruff scene and the car showroom scene are moved ahead to after Peter's father's death scene, swapping places with the scene where he phones Harry Secombe asking if he wants to come over for a beer. The car showroom scene also replaces the Shirley Bassey song 'Big Spender' with incidental music composed for the film.
  • The first Maurice Woodruff scene begins with a shot of Peter smoking a cigarette in the waiting room before cutting to a shot of Woodruff's book, which is where this scene begins in the original version.
  • The Harry Secombe phone call scene is shortened, cutting out the bit where Peter tells his son to go to his room.
  • A shot of Peter as Dr. Strangelove saying "Boom" is added after the Dr. Strangelove filming scenes.
  • Peter and Britt Ekland's wedding reception scene is shortened slightly, the shots of the children on the carousel are cut out.
  • The scene where Peter drives Britt to the hospital to give birth is shortened, cutting out footage of the car going past a church, pulling out in front of another car and Peter telling Britt to keep breathing.
  • The very brief scene of Peter seeing a plastic surgeon followed by shots of him in a makeup chair and taking pills is cut out.
  • The scene where Maurice Woodruff tries to get Peter to do another Pink Panther film is shortened, the bit where he channels Peter's mother and tells him to do the film is cut out. Also a different take is used when Maurice gets out the film script, instead of saying "Are you absolutely sure about that?", he says "Are you sure about that?".
  • The scene of Peter in his trailer dressed as the old salty sea dog is moved back to in between the scenes of him agreeing to make The Pink Panther Strikes Again and the film's premiere, making it look as if this character is part of that film when actually he appears in Revenge of the Pink Panther. In the original version this scene takes place later on, after a shot of Peter picking up a Revenge of the Pink Panther script. Whereas this version changes this shot to show a Being There script.
  • The scene of Peter in character as Blake Edwards is shortened. The line at the end of the scene "What did he do after me? The only thing he never gave up on" is cut out.
  • The montage of Peter doing character preparation for Being There and burning his old movie stuff is arranged differently. The overlaid shots of him doing The Goon Show and playing Strangelove, Clouseau are removed, although a shot of him burning a photo of President Merkin Muffley and a shot of the Being There novel in his pocket are added.
  • In the first shot of Blake Edwards waiting for Peter at the restaurant, instead of starting with a close up of the script for The Romance of the Pink Panther and cutting just before a waiter pours water into a glass, it starts with the water pouring into the glass, using a different part of this same take.
  • At the ending, when after the closing text it zooms out to show Peter watching it on a monitor and getting up to go to his trailer after which the end credits roll, this version inserts after the text another shot of Peter standing in the snow, then the cast list rolls before the zoom out to Peter watching it on a monitor. Also in this version The Kinks' song 'A Well Respected Man' starts playing as Peter gets up to go to his trailer, in the original version incidental music is played here instead and 'A Well Respected Man' doesn't start playing until the credits roll.
See more »

Connections

References The Muppet Show: Peter Sellers (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Close My Eyes
Written by Buddy Kaye and Billy Reid
Performed by Cannonball Adderley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Rush is mind-blowing... but which Rush?
20 July 2005 | by pyrocitorSee all my reviews

Let there be no doubt that Peter Sellers would be an enormously difficult part to play. He has to be one of the few actors in film history who is more complex than the characters he played. (unless one considers actors such as Paul Walker... let me rephrase that, one of the few TALENTED actors) And it would be hard to imagine the man who is still infamously remembered as Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series being played in as flawless a manor as by Geoffrey Rush here. He wasn't the most obvious choice to play Peter Sellers, but he proved to be the wisest one. The man deserves countless praises, not only for playing Sellers himself to perfection, but also for flawlessly re-creating pretty much every film and radio role Sellers ever played, from Dr. Strangelove to Chance the gardener to Clouseau himself. (beginning in a hilarious sequence on an airplane when Sellers hassles an airline stewardess in Clouseau character) But it doesn't stop there - all throughout his life (or at least so shown here) Sellers struggled with the notion that despite the rampant personalities of his screen personas, Peter the man never really had much of a personality himself. To show this, Sellers reenacts sequences of his real life with himself playing different characters. It is in these delusional sequences that Rush shows his true mastery - he doesn't give us "Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers' mother", he gives us "Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers as Peter Sellers' mother". Words can't describe the amount of recognition Geoffrey Rush deserves, and a solitary Golden Globe simply doesn't do him justice.

Despite the fact that virtually the whole show centers around Rush and his masterful performance, he is backed up by a strong supporting cast and crew. Director Stephen Hopkins was also an odd choice for the project, given his past credentials ("Lost in Space"? "Predator 2"?)but he proves to have the cheeky sense of humour the film needed to be taken seriously, starting off with a surreal 60's style animation sequence with Sellers showing clips from his own life. And it's nice to see some higher profile actors taking the back seat here, such as Charlize Theron, delightfully ditzy and yet not quite a parody as Sellers' airheaded second wife Britt Eckland. Emily Watson brings class and understated strength to her role as Ann, Sellers' first wife, and, as we are led to believe, the only woman he ever truly loved. (despite the fact he left her and their children to pursue a relationship with Sophia Loren which never happened) Stanley Tucci plays Stanley Kubrick in a brief yet important role during the filming of Dr. Strangelove - his eyes showed what his words could not: how irresponsible and hazardous to he production he perceived Sellers to be. Miriam Margoyles, better known as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter series is formidable as Peter's domineering, manipulative mother, portrayed as the main reason for Sellers' fractured state of reality. And John Lithgow is an excellent Blake Edwards, blending his eternal optimism and energy with a sense of self pride, which he is forced to swallow, asking Sellers to return for numerous Pink Panther sequels. Lithgow, with his obnoxious laugh, is a constant high point throughout the film.

Yet, after the viewing is finished, the watcher feels strangely empty. Sure it looked classy, and it felt classy to watch, so why shouldn't it be classified as a great movie? Perhaps it's because 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers' feels more like a series of snapshots, and not like a proper biography. We are presented with WHAT Sellers did in his lifetime, but never really shown WHY. There's an irritating lack of depth, which the viewer fails to notice during the movie, so captivated are we with Rush's wonderful acting. But when we reflect on the film afterwards, we realize that we still don't really know who Peter Sellers is. We know what he did, but not why he did it. This may be an intentional decision on Hopkins' part, because, as we are led to believe, Sellers didn't really understand himself that well. So no one really knew who Peter Sellers was... not even himself. And we should be content with that.

-8/10


93 of 101 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 138 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed