An extraordinary motion picture, Ordinary People is an intense examination of a family being torn apart by tension and tragedy. Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore star as the upper-middle-class couple whose ordinary existence is irrevocably shattered by the death of their oldest son in a boating accident. Timothy Hutton is the younger son, struggling against suicide and guilt left by the drowning. Judd Hirsch is the empathetic psychiatrist who provides his lifeline to survival. Mary Tyler Moore gives a riveting portrayal of the inexplicably aloof mother. Robert Redford's achievement as director, after more than twenty years as a superstar in front of the camera, earned him an Oscar. Superb performances and masterful direction complement the award-winning screenplay, based upon the novel by Judith Guest.

  • 2 hr 4 minRHDSD
  • Sep 19, 1980
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Basil HoffmanActor

  • Elizabeth McGovernActor

    Daughter of a law professor at Northwestern University, she moved with her family to Los Angeles when he transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). She began acting in school plays at North Hollywood High, graduated from The Oakwood School and then continued her stage training at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and the drama division of The Juilliard School in New York. Following a pleasant screen debut in Robert Redford's Oscar-winning Ordinary People (1980), McGovern gave a great performance as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime (1981) for which she earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She has continued performing on stage between film assignments rather than concentrate on being a film star.
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  • Donald SutherlandActor

    The towering presence of Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is often noticed, as are his legendary contributions to cinema. He has appeared in almost 200 different shows and films. He is also the father of renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland, among others. Donald McNichol Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, to Dorothy Isobel (McNichol) and Frederick McLea Sutherland, who worked in sales and electricity. He has Scottish, as well as German and English, ancestry. Sutherland worked several different jobs - he was a radio DJ in his youth - and was almost set on becoming an engineer after graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in engineering. However, he also graduated with a degree in drama, and he chose to abandon becoming an engineer in favour of an actor. Sutherland's first roles were bit parts and consisted of such films as the horror film Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) which starred Christopher Lee. He was also appearing in episodes of TV shows such as "The Saint" and "Court Martial". Sutherland's break would come soon, though, and it would come in the form of a war film in which he was barely cast. The reason he was barely cast was because he had been a last-minute replacement for an actor that had dropped out of the film. The role he played was that of the dopey but loyal Vernon Pinkley in the war film The Dirty Dozen (1967). The film also starred Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Telly Savalas. The picture was an instant success as an action/war film, and Sutherland played upon this success by taking another role in a war film: this was, however, a comedy called MASH (1970) which landed Sutherland the starring role alongside Elliott Gould and Tom Skerritt. This is now considered a classic among film goers, and the 35-year old actor was only getting warmed up. Sutherland took a number of other roles in between these two films, such as the theatrical adaptation Oedipus the King (1968), the musical Joanna (1968) and the Clint Eastwood-helmed war comedy Kelly's Heroes (1970). It was Kelly's Heroes (1970) that became more well-known, and it reunited Sutherland with Telly Savalas. 1970 and 1971 offered Sutherland a number of other films, the best of them would have to be Klute (1971). The film, which made Jane Fonda a star, is about a prostitute whose friend is mysteriously murdered. Sutherland received no critical acclaim like his co-star Fonda (she won an Oscar) but his career did not fade. Moving on from Klute (1971), Sutherland landed roles such as the lead in the thriller Lady Ice (1973), and another lead in the western Alien Thunder (1974). These films did not match up to "Klute"'s success, though Sutherland took a supporting role that would become one of his most infamous and most critically acclaimed. He played the role of the murderous fascist leader in the Bernardo Bertolucci Italian epic 1900 (1976). Sutherland also gained another memorable role as a marijuana-smoking university professor in Animal House (1978) among other work that he did in this time. Another classic role came in the form of the Robert Redford film, Ordinary People (1980). Sutherland portrays an older father figure who must deal with his children in an emotional drama of a film. It won Best Picture, and while both the supporting stars were nominated for Oscars, Sutherland once again did not receive any Academy Award nomination. He moved on to play a Nazi spy in a film based on Ken Follett's book "Eye of the Needle" and he would star alongside Al Pacino in the commercial and critical disaster that was Revolution (1985). While it drove Al Pacino out of films for four years, Sutherland continued to find work. This work led to the dramatic, well-told story of apartheid A Dry White Season (1989) alongside the legendary actor Marlon Brando. Sutherland's next big success came in the Oliver Stone film JFK (1991) where Sutherland plays the chilling role of Mister X, an anonymous source who gives crucial information about the politics surrounding President Kennedy. Once again, he was passed over at the Oscars, though Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for his performance as Clay Shaw. Sutherland went on to appear in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Shadow of the Wolf (1992), and Disclosure (1994). The new millennium provided an interesting turn in Sutherland's career: reuniting with such former collaborators as Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, Sutherland starred in Space Cowboys (2000). He also appeared as the father figure to Nicole Kidman's character in Cold Mountain (2003) and Charlize Theron's character in The Italian Job (2003). He has also made a fascinating, Oscar-worthy performance as the revolutionist Mr. Thorne in Land of the Blind (2006) and also as a judge in Reign Over Me (2007). Recently, he has joined forces with his son Rossif Sutherland and Canadian comic Russell Peters with the new comedy The Con Artist (2010), as well as acting alongside Jamie Bell and Channing Tatum in the sword-and-sandal film The Eagle (2011). Sutherland has also taken a role in the remake of Charles Bronson's film The Mechanic (1972). Donald Sutherland has made a lasting legacy on Hollywood, whether portraying a chilling and horrifying villain, or playing the older respectable character in his films. A true character actor, Sutherland is one of Canada's most well-known names and will hopefully continue on being so long after his time.
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  • Judd HirschActor

    Judd Hirsch was born on March 15, 1935 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Judd Seymore Hirsch. He is known for his work on Taxi (1978), Independence Day (1996) and Ordinary People (1980). He was previously married to Bonni Chalkin and Elisa Sadaune.
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  • MARY TYLER MOOREActor

  • TIMOTHY HUTTONActor

    Timothy Hutton was born in Malibu, California, one of three children born to Maryline (Poole), a teacher, and actor Jim Hutton (Dana James Hutton). He burst onto the acting scene in the late 1970s. After only a few significant roles in TV movies, he bagged the part of Conrad in the Robert Redford-directed Ordinary People (1980). His performance as a troubled teenager trying to deal with the death of his older brother, won him the 1980 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making him the youngest actor to date to win that award. With over 70 film, TV, and stage appearances (including an impressive 15 features films between 2006-08), Hutton headlines the television series Leverage (2008) as insurance investigator Nate Ford. He starred in the acclaimed Roman Polanski film The Ghost Writer (2010). Hutton made his Broadway debut in 1989 in "Love Letters".
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