7.8/10
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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

PG | | Drama | 19 December 1979 (USA)
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, 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

Writers:

Avery Corman (from the novel by), Robert Benton (written for the screen by)
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Popularity
2,689 ( 15)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Ted Kramer
Meryl Streep ... Joanna Kramer
Jane Alexander ... Margaret Phelps
Justin Henry ... Billy Kramer
Howard Duff ... John Shaunessy
George Coe ... Jim O'Connor
JoBeth Williams ... Phyllis Bernard (as Jobeth Williams)
Bill Moor Bill Moor ... Gressen
Howland Chamberlain ... Judge Atkins
Jack Ramage Jack Ramage ... Spencer
Jess Osuna ... Ackerman
Nicholas Hormann ... Interviewer
Ellen Parker Ellen Parker ... Teacher
Shelby Brammer Shelby Brammer ... Ted's Secretary
Carol Nadell Carol Nadell ... Mrs. Kline
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Storyline

Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted, however, refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are three sides to this love story!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kramer Versus Kramer See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$106,260,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$106,260,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy's crying is real. Robert Benton asked Justin Henry to think of a saddening memory before the take. Reportedly, at The 37th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1980), when Ricky Schroder won the Best New Male Star of the Year award, according to the book "The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History", Henry "threw a raging tantrum". See more »

Goofs

When Ted goes to apply for a job, the date is Friday, December 22. Near the end of the film when Ted's lawyer reads the court ruling, the ruling is dated Monday, January 23. If December 22 was a Friday (as it was in 1978), then it's impossible that January 23 fell on a Monday. In fact, the next time January 23 fell on a Monday wasn't until 1984. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joanna Kramer: I love you, Billy.
Billy Kramer: I love you too, Mommy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When aired on commercial TV, the shots of Phyllis naked, and her unexpected interaction with Billy, are darkened completely. Most commercial prints also omit the sound of Billy urinating. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bob's Burgers: The Laser-inth (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Sung a cappella by Justin Henry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Great End to a Great Decade of Best Picture Winners.
15 March 2002 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

"Kramer vs. Kramer" is probably the weakest winner of the Best Picture Oscar in the 1970s, but that does not mean that this it is not an excellent film that more than delivers. The film deals with a career man (Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman) who must rear his young son (Justin Henry, the youngest Oscar-nominee ever) after his wife (Oscar-winner Meryl Streep) leaves them with no real explanation. What follows is a heart-touching story about the man who finally learns what it means to be a father and a boy who learns who his father really is. Of course the film becomes heart-rending later as Streep returns after a long absence and wants to take Hoffman to court for custody of their son. "Kramer vs. Kramer" then becomes an intense courtroom drama that has few equals. Robert Benton's Oscar-winning direction and screenplay could have fallen flat several times, but he stays focused throughout and his plan works to near perfection. Of course the aforementioned performances and the performance of Oscar-nominee Jane Alexander are the primary calling cards of the film. Hoffman and Streep are at the top of their careers here and their acts are electric and thunderous from start to finish. All in all, "Kramer vs. Kramer" could have been unintentionally funny or even down-right dull, but the film is so well-made and acted that it succeeds with stunning results. 5 stars out of 5.


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