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Swimmer [DVD] [1968] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Burt Lancaster , Janet Landgard , Frank Perry , Sydney Pollack    DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
Price: £58.95
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Swimmer [DVD] [1968] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Sweet Smell Of Success [DVD] + Elmer Gantry [DVD]
Price For All Three: £73.85

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Product details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule, Tony Bickley, Marge Champion
  • Directors: Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack
  • Writers: Eleanor Perry, John Cheever
  • Producers: Frank Perry, Roger H. Lewis
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Georgian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 29 April 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKQ6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,442 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Burt Lancaster gives one of his most daringly complex performances in The Swimmer, a fascinating adaptation of John Cheever's celebrated short story. At first it seems that middle-aged businessman Ned Merrill (Lancaster) is merely enjoying a spontaneous adventure, swimming from pool to pool among the well-tended estates of his affluent Connecticut neighbourhood. But as Ned encounters a variety of neighbours, we see from their reactions that he's on an entirely different kind of journey, balanced on the edge of some mysterious psychosis that we can't fully understand until the film's final, devastating image.

A compelling portrait of loss, refracted memories, and deep-rooted emotional denial, The Swimmer sprung from the same late-60s soil that yielded similarly ground-breaking literary films such as The Graduate and Goodbye, Columbus. It's an egotistical showcase for the physical prowess of its 55-year-old star, but Lancaster turns it into something deeper, more disturbing, and completely unforgettable. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking 7 Jan 2006
By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
On a sunny autumn afternoon in a wealthy New England suburb, Burt Lancaster appears at a friend's garden wearing nothing but a pair of swimming trunks. Jumping into their pool, he announces that he has decided to swim home in a journey that will include his friends' and neighbours' swimming pools.
Burt Lancaster was in his mid-fifties when this film was made, but has the body of a man half his age and at first the character he plays seems the model of success. However, as the film progresses it becomes clear that all is not what it seems and the film's climax is both shocking and heartbreaking.
This is one of the finest and most underrated American films of the 1960's. Burt Lancaster gives a mesmerising performance and it is nice to see Kim Hunter as well. From the beautiful opening, with its haunting score by Marvin Hamlisch, to the powerful climax, this is a wonderful film that deserves greater recognition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, odd, quite brilliant and unique 27 Jan 2013
The swimmer is a film which provokes mixed reactions from some viewers possibly down to not quite understanding what the film "means" or what it conveys.
When I first saw the film I was a teenager and did not really grasp the full impact of the story being told. I don't usually go into more depth on a film plot/story, not wanting to spoil it for those who have not yet seen it.

But to get the full enjoyment of this film some explanation is required.

The theatrical poster is probably the best place to start it states: When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself?

Adapted from a short story written by John Cheever, the swimmer successfully translates into a thought provoking film. A good case study for story writers and English students the Swimmer is quite a lot more than it first appears. It is far more than a man simply visiting people and swimming in their pools.

Lancaster described the film as one of his favourite roles, even putting his own money into production to fund additional shooting. Frank Perry (and Sydney Pollack) direct a deep and traumatising film that is a long way off of conventional (and all the better for it)

Burt Lancaster (at the time in his mid 50's) looks in fantastic shape every bit the powerful fit swimmer you would expect. He plays the seemingly well liked Ned Merrill who on a bright sunny day decides to "swim home" through his neighbours pools. We quickly see that this is merely a symbolic representation, the day is really a journey through a man's life, with each pool we learn something new about Ned, as the day progresses the reception he receives is more hostile. The film starts in bright sunshine on a perfect day, and transitions to a dark and wet downpour.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How anyone can lose the plot ... 2 Jan 2008
This is a psychological 'day in the life' drama of a man not on the edge of a nervous breakdown - but, instead, in the denial stage after a nervous breakdown. You can't help but feel sorry for 'the swimmer' as deep down in all of us is a need to be socially accepted by our peer group despite the blows which life may inflict upon us.

I first saw this in my childhood and the closing scene stuck in my mind for a very long time.

Great perfomance by Burt Lancaster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moment of Truth 9 May 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An original story but a very sad one. The swimmer,Ned Merill wants to swim to his home by way of swimming through the swimming pools of his neighbours and friends. So he starts swimming from the pool of one friend,walks further to the next house,swims throught the pool and runs further to the next pool and so on and so forth.

The originality of the story lies in the unfolding of the personal story of Ned merill with each new pool he swims through. With each pool we come to know something more about him and his life until the moment of truth comes. This happens when he reaches his own house.

The story is set in a verdant suburban America.

This must be the best role of Burt Lancaster's film career.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic movie 6 Feb 2003
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviewers but would go further and say that this is one of the best films of all time. The visual imagery was enough to inspire a recent Levis jeans ad, and the colour and photography are simply breathtaking. Burt Lancaster's acting is tense and taught, and hints at hidden depths and dark secrets that slowly unravel as you watch the film. Very much about the shallowness of suburban life and disappointments of the American Dream, the film argues that it really does matter how you treat people along the way and that the means of getting somewhere are rather more important than the end itself. A thought-provoking and classical piece of film-making that would never be funded it it were proposed today. It is sad yet humane and full of feeling.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We Had Nice New Pink Lungs In Those Days" 2 Jan 2010
I was 9 or 10 when I first saw this movie. Not the best age to watch a film about a middle age man's breakdown perhaps, but Boy am I glad I did. Alongside Ray's "In A Lonely Place", I had been immediately cursed with a passion for film that my young brain could not fathom. It was purely intuitive. The curse eventually led me to become a screenwriter. But back then, in the 1980's when Eddie Murphy and Police Academy films were most popular, my 9 year old eyes could not believe what I was watching. I simply could not take my eyes off the screen. The Swimmer is sinister in a subtle kind of way. It starts in the woods with the sound of branches being broken by naked feet. An owl hoots and a deer flits away. Someone's running fast, but from what or whom? Then before we know it we're by the pool with a host of characters drinking hangover cocktails discussing how beautiful the weather is. The Swimmer is one of the most haunting American movies ever made. Some might say "Sweet Smell Of Success" is Burt's finest hour, but for my money, Neddy Merrill is his greatest performance. He lends sadness, madness, despair, joy and optimism with melancholic pessimism. I don't think DeNiro or even Pacino have the range that Lancaster displays here. It's outstanding. The whole film has the sense of a man's life slipping away. It's poetic in the way that Burt seems to be unaware that he's no longer in the prime of his life. He defiantly swims on against the tide of time, desperately trying to cling onto the happier times. There's one scene where Burt's pool to pool odyssey threatens to be undone. An empty swimming pool with no water to swim through brings him to an almost full stop. But somehow, Burt does every stroke without. He does it because he wants to ignite the imagination of a sad young child. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by suresh levin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film
This is a film of a John Cheever short story. It is thought provoking and an interesting film of the period.
Published 9 months ago by Mutti
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully photographed but too depressing
My husband and I are great Burt Lancaster fans but found this movie disappointing. It is permeated by an air of unreality. To begin with, everything seems perfect. Read more
Published 10 months ago by V.J.B. VAN DER PLUYM
5.0 out of 5 stars American Dream gone wrong
This is a beautiful film to look at and I was a fan. Came well packaged as usual though the disc inside rattled cos it had come loose. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Steven Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling yet dark gem
sparkling pools with hidden depths. Burt Lancaster excels in this role as the eponymous hero(?) of this salutary tale of the collapse of a life. A clever allegorical classic.
Published 12 months ago by Poodle
4.0 out of 5 stars watch it
At the beginning I wondered why I was watching it, but it is quite a powerful film if you don't give up, a sad reflection on life.
Published 12 months ago by karen heward
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark side of the American Dream
"The Swimmer" is a one of a kind movie, adapted from a John Cheever short story.

The Film opens with the sound of footsteps moving through the woods accompanied by a low... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Sourmashontherocks
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film
This is a great, unique film. Burt Lancaster plays Ned Merrill, who turns up one morning at the house of a couple of friends, clad only in swimming trunks, and announces that he is... Read more
Published 18 months ago by mirih
5.0 out of 5 stars good film
I bought this as a present for a friend. Very good film. I'd not heard of it before. Tough topic.
Published 19 months ago by Vee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Masterpiece
'The Swimmer' is a film I can see myself coming back to over and over again, which is not something I do too often with films like this one which, on it's base level, is a simple... Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2012 by Mr. S. G. Ryder
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