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A Voyage Round My Father 1983

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(16) IMDb 7.7/10
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An autobiographical story that follows John Mortimer's (Alan Bates) discovery of his father, the eccentric lawyer, Clifford (Laurence Olivier). John must deal with his father's decreasing ability to look after himself after being struck by blindness in middle age; and whilst he seeks his father's love and respect and, at the same time, John discovers how to love himself.

Starring:
Jane Asher, Elizabeth Sellars
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 20 minutes
Starring Jane Asher, Elizabeth Sellars, Alan Bates, Laurence Olivier
Director Alvin Rakoff
Genres Drama
Studio REVELATION FILMS
Rental release 28 July 2003
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Numero Uno on 2 May 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Based on the true-life story of John Mortmer's barrister father who was blinded in an accident, everything is first-rate about this production: casting, acting and filming - all done with loving care.

When he was no longer able to act onstage, Olivier did his finest work for TV (most cinema films he appeared in were mediocre). He portrays to perfection the waspish, cynical, difficult, eccentric father who thus hides the agony of losing his sight in middle age and acts as if all was normal. He can on occasion be surprisingly helpful and understanding towards his son. All these facets of character are conveyed to perfection by Olivier, who has mastered the art of understatement so necessary for television performance. His performance is often extremely funny too, as when he sings "Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green" while the other parents sing a hymn at a school speech day. Physically, his performance is outstanding: he gradually ages from robust middle-age to sunken-cheeked, dying old man and his portrayal of blindness is uncannily realistic.

The filming of the English countryside and the gently nostalgic atmosphere add to the delights of "A Voyage Round My Father".

Not to be missed, for a witty, perceptive film and for the chance of seeing a truly great actor at his peak.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. Buisseret on 20 Feb. 2008
Format: DVD
I first saw the play at Her Majesty's Theatre with Alec Guiness and was bowled over by its brilliant writing and by Alec Guiness' performance. Then I have watched it several times on the video which stars Laurence Olivier. I find it impossible to say which was the better. Olivier is enchanting in the lead role. Sadly,I missed the recent revival which starred Derek Jacobi. Bet he was good. I'm even told that John Mortimer once played the father! This is a wonderful play and piercingly witty. You musn't die without seeing it, either on stage or on the (grotesquely expensive) DVD.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Simon Kroussier on 3 Oct. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This TV film is a wonderful example of the genre - subtle, low-key, unsentimental, yet emotionally compelling for all of this. Olivier and Alan Bates have a very well developed onscreen understanding (they had worked together twice before); Olivier, in the Father role, invests his performance with marvellous feeling and nuance. The music is another great asset. The film has very quickly become one of my favourites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leonida on 21 May 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This, for those who are too young to know about it, is John Mortimer's tribute to his father, also a lawyer, who suddenly went blind but refused to refer to it. I saw this back in the '80's and vaguely remembered enjoying it, but had largely forgotten how it went. This time round, I loved it and appreciated far more (or maybe for the first time!) its wisdom and its heartfelt tolerance of - and delight in - eccentricity. There were also unanswered questions asked about the father, why he decided to be the way he was. What a relief there was no psychobabble, no self-pitying rationale; rather, the fact that these questions went unanswered was deeply satisfying, pointing to the impossibility of knowing someone absolutely, and also indicating an open-minded tolerance and good will, by not attributing malice. It is a generous, poignant portrait beautifully acted by all the cast, especially Laurence Olivier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 42again on 5 Jun. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Laurence Olivier is brilliant as the father. Elizabeth Sellars is extremely good in an appropriately undersated way as the mother. Jane Asher is very good as the wife. And there is a host of excellent British character actors in the small parts (esp Michael Aldridge as the headmaster).
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This is a nice little play. A gentle story of a man and his relationship with his eccentric domineering father. Olivier is brilliant as the father and dominates the whole story. It is a bit bitsy as the viewer is pulled backwards or forwards in time. While I still strongly remember the father and also his long suffering wife the rest of the cast has long since faded from memory and I think that is because I did not really relate to them. The story ends with the father's death but in many ways it sort felt like a story going nowhere so I felt vaguely unsatisfied by the end.
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Format: DVD
For anyone who had a father like mine (and some who didn't) this is a lovely piece about a talented, obstinate and crotchety old man - a fantastic performance by Laurence Olivier. Son and daughter-in-law have to put up with his put-downs (sorry!) but it's a loving group, for all that.
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This film adaptation of John Mortimer's play expands his memories of his youth and his relationship with a very eccentric and demanding father. It is an interesting insight into the later development of "Rumpole of the Bailey" on TV.
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