6.3/10
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18 user 9 critic

Divorce American Style (1967)

Approved | | Comedy | 21 June 1967 (USA)
After 17 years, things have got too predictable and stale. They argue, they visit a marriage counselor, Richard (drunk) visits a prostitute. They split up. After meeting other people, they ... See full summary »

Director:

Bud Yorkin

Writers:

Robert Kaufman (story), Norman Lear (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Stars: Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Pat Boone
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dick Van Dyke ... Richard Harmon
Debbie Reynolds ... Barbara Harmon
Jason Robards ... Nelson Downes
Jean Simmons ... Nancy Downes
Van Johnson ... Al Yearling
Joe Flynn ... Lionel Blandsforth
Shelley Berman ... David Grieff
Martin Gabel ... Dr. Zenwinn
Lee Grant ... Dede Murphy
Pat Collins Pat Collins ... Pat Collins
Tom Bosley ... Farley
Emmaline Henry ... Fern Blandsforth
Dick Gautier ... Larry Strickland
Tim Matheson ... Mark Harmon (as Tim Matthieson)
Gary Goetzman ... Jonathan Harmon
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Storyline

After 17 years, things have got too predictable and stale. They argue, they visit a marriage counselor, Richard (drunk) visits a prostitute. They split up. After meeting other people, they are re-united at a night club where they realize that their marriage was better than their divorce. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Is Marriage Dead? See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Divorce à l'américaine See more »

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

Tim Matheson and Gary Goetzman again played brothers in the 1968 release Yours, Mine, and Ours. See more »

Goofs

When Richard goes to Nancy's house the night after he finds out that Barbara is dating Al, the angle of Richard's shadow on Nancy's door changes between the long shots and the close-up shot. See more »

Quotes

Nelson Downes: I can imagine how anxious you must be to find the right woman. Your present wife a blonde maybe?
Richard Harmon: Ya, ya.
Nelson Downes: Well sir, a nice cool brunette would be just what the doctor ordered.
See more »

Crazy Credits

SPOILER: Opening credits (and the musical score) begin when a conductor - having just walked across a field and set up a music stand - raises his baton, gives a downbeat, and "cues" the sounds of husbands and wives arguing from the houses in the neighborhood below. At the end of the picture, the conductor again appears in the field above the neighborhood and begins conducting the final musical score through the closing credits (and drowning out the sound of arguing). See more »

Connections

Featured in Film Review: Film Review (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Fall in Love
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ted Koehler
Sung partially by Pat Collins
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stuck in the Sixties...
2 December 2009 | by fung0See all my reviews

It's amazing how preconceptions can affect a movie's popularity. Multiple reviewers seem to feel Divorce American Style should be "funnier," because they've apparently decided it's a comedy. (And one of a particular type, presumably.) Unfortunately, this isn't a film that fits into any such predefined mold. It's a dark satire, dealing with the insane approach to divorce current at the time of its making (especially in California). And it succeeds splendidly on that level.

No, we're not expected to guffaw as we watch Dick Van Dyke being first railroaded into divorce, then reduced to poverty by punitive alimony payments. We're expected to shake our heads and smile wryly at the folly of the times. And to walk out just a little more determined to push for true equality of the sexes, and a truly rational legal framework for their relations.

We're not there yet, but things have moved forward so unimaginably far that today's viewers may not understand the attitudes in this film. To put it in context, compare it to The Dick Van Dyke Show. Divorce was utterly unthinkable in the cozy world of Rob and Laura Petrie. Yet here, just a few years later, we see Van Dyke and Reynolds playing essentially the same Rob and Laura roles, and not only admitting the possibility of divorce, but tackling some of its uglier ramifications. It was a huge leap forward, for Van Dyke, for Hollywood, and for society as a whole.

Of course, on a dramatic level, Divorce American Style still has a lot of that old-time Dick Van Dyke Show sensibility. But it's sharper than many similar films of the time (courtesy of Norman Lear, no doubt), and benefits from some great performances (especially by Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds and Jason Robards). The conditions it dissects may no longer exist, but that doesn't have to spoil our enjoyment.


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