Devastated by the loss of their older son, well-to-do suburban couple Calvin (Donald Sutherland) and Beth (Mary Tyler Moore) are trying to rebuild their lives after their younger son, Conrad (Timothy Hutton), attempts suicide. While Beth, who always favored the elder son, retreats into an icy, emotionless shell, Calvin tries to draw Conrad back into the family and into life as a teenager. Conrad sings in the choir and returns to the swim team, but both his brother's death and his own experiences traumatize him. Conrad reluctantly begins therapy sessions with Berger (Judd Hirsch), which allow him some respite from the unbearable grief and guilt he carries with him. As Conrad makes strides, Calvin realizes that he no longer knows his wife and is both saddened and angered by how seemingly emotionless she has become. A classic portrait of family life in the face of tragedy, Robert Redford's award-winning directorial debut is moving and thought provoking. Based on the novel by Judith Guest, the film features the debuts of Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern as well as breakthrough performances from Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland.
1980 - Academy Awards - Best Picture Winner
1980 - Academy Awards - Best Supporting Actor Winner
1980 - Academy Awards - Best Director Winner
1980 - Academy Awards - Best Adapted Screenplay Winner
Robert Redford - Actor/director/producer
Charles Robert Jr. Redford - Actor/director/producer
Marvin Hamlisch - Legendary film composer
Judd Hirsch - American Actor, TAXI
Donald Sutherland - Canadian Actor
Timothy Hutton - American Actor "Ordinary People"/Son Of Actor Jim Hutton
Tim Hutton - American Actor "Ordinary People"/Son Of Actor Jim Hutton
Basil Hoffman - American Character Actor
Mary Tyler Moore - American TV/Film Actress
Elizabeth McGovern - American Actress
Ronald Schwary - Producer (ORDINARY PEOPLE)
With the pain from the death of their older son still fresh, Calvin and Beth try to help their remaining son, Conrad, recover from a suicide attempt. Overcome with guilt and grief related to his brother's death, Conrad tries to return to the life of a normal high school student but finds it difficult, with memories of his brother surrounding him and the coldness his mother exhibits almost unbearable.
ORDINARY PEOPLE marked the film debuts of actors Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern. This film marked Robert Redford's film-directing debut. Redford bought Judith Guest's first, unpublished novel for this film. Mary Tyler Moore's son committed suicide a month after the film's release. Patrick Markey (now a producer) was location manager.
"...A moving, intelligent and funny film....Moore is remarkably fine..." - 09/19/1980 New York Times, p.C6
Included in the New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1980" - 12/28/1980 New York Times, p.II:15
"...It's still a fine movie..." - 08/17/2001 USA Today, p.6E
"...The actor's first -- and best -- film behind the camera won Best Picture and netted him a directing Oscar..." - 01/11/2002 Entertainment Weekly, p.37