7.8/10
38,181
294 user 54 critic

Ordinary People (1980)

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,634 ( 662)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Won 4 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Marty (1955)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love meet at a dance and fall for each other.

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Patton (1970)
Certificate: GP Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Swim Coach
...
...
Karen
...
Joe
...
Ray (as James B. Sikking)
...
Sloan
...
Ward (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Audrey
Meg Mundy ...
Grandmother
Elizabeth Hubbard ...
Ruth
...
Stillman
Edit

Storyline

Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything is in its proper place... Except the past. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1981 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Gente como uno  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$54,800,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Redford decided to do the film because the story's family reminded him of his own in the way it talked around issues. See more »

Goofs

Before and after Beth gives candy to the trick-or-treaters, the reflection of a moving boom mic is visible in the glass covering the face of the clock near the door. See more »

Quotes

Calvin "Cal" Jarrett: He just wants to know that you don't hate him.
Beth Jarrett: Hate him! How could I hate him? Mothers don't hate their sons! Is that what he told you? You see how you believe everything he tells you? And you can't do the same for me, you can't! GOD I DON'T KNOW WHAT ANYONE WANTS FROM ME ANYMORE!
Ward: Beth, we don't want anything from you; Audrey, Cal, Connie and Me, we just want you to be happy.
Beth Jarrett: Happy! Ward, you tell me the definition of happy. But first you better make sure your kids are good and safe, that they ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Killing of John Lennon (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Canon in D major
Composed by Johann Pachelbel
Arranged for mixed voices by Noel Goemanne
Additional arrangement by Jean-François Paillard (as Jean-Francois Paillard)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
SHATTERING
22 October 2004 | by (Elberon, NJ) – See all my reviews

The perfect life of the perfect family is destroyed when the older of 2 sons dies in a sailing accident, leaving the parents and his younger brother to grieve, pick up and carry on. But how they accomplish this makes this movie a shattering but ultimately uplifting (in parts) experience.

Buck Jarrett drowns after he and his younger brother, Conrad, go sailing on a questionable day. Later, Conrad, feeling the guilt of his brother's death, tries to commit suicide by slashing his wrists. This turns out to be a blessing in disguise because the true personalities of his parents, Cal and Beth, as well as his own ability to grow are revealed when Conrad returns from the psychiatric hospital after a 4-month stay.

Conrad is given the name of Dr. Tyrone Berger, a psychiatrist (marvelously played by Judd Hirsch) who is unconventional to say the least. He dresses casually, drinks coffee he makes in his office and smokes incessantly (this is pre anti-tobacco). And he doesn't buy into the psychobabble practiced by many psychiatrists. At first, Conrad tells Dr. Berger he wants to gain control but what he really wants is to not feel - not feel the pain of his brother's death and what he believes is his part in it. But that unravels through a series of experiences he endures as the movie proceeds. In choir practice, Conrad is smitten with Jeannine Pratt (beautifully played by Elizabeth McGovern), a fellow singer who has an ability to recognize Conrad's pain without being amazed, horrified or judgmental. And Conrad also has a friend, Karen, (played nicely by Dinah Manoff)whom he'd met in the hospital and who can relate to his experiences there.

Donald Sutherland as Cal, Mary Tyler Moore as Beth and Timothy Hutton as Conrad give outstanding, Oscar-caliber performances. Cal tries to keep his feelings hidden by wearing a mask of bravado, carrying on and functioning in a world that has taken his son away. He loves Conrad and also recognizes his pain and his alienation fom his mother though he realizes he can't "fix it." But it's Mary Tyler Moore's performance as Beth that is so amazing. She is plastic through and through and it gets to the point of being downright annoying and yet MTM's portrayal is perfect. Of all the characters, hers is really the most disturbed. She wants to have things exactly as they were even though she mourns the loss of her firstborn son. She can't love Conrad because he committed the one unforgivable sin - he survived while her favorite did not.

Timothy Hutton, sadly, has never had a movie to top "Ordinary People." He has done other work, of course, (most notably in my opinion, "Taps") and can be seen currently as Archie in "Nero Wolf" on A&E. But his role as the troubled surviving son who rises from the pain in "Ordinary People" is truly magnificent and shattering. He earned the Oscar and he truly deserved it. And as he accepted his Academy Award, he remembered his father, actor Jim Hutton, who had died from liver cancer shortly before Timothy got the award. That was a classy thing to do. I hope Mr. Hutton gets another plum role like this one; everything else he has done since pales in comparison.


113 of 137 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?