Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Kramer vs. Kramer Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Robert Benton's Oscar-winning adaptation of Avery Corman's bestseller takes on contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles, as a jilted husband learns how to be a nurturing father. Manhattan housewife Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her workaholic ad man husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman), leaving their young son Billy (Justin Henry) in Ted's less than capable hands. Through trial and error, Ted learns how to take care of Billy, devoting more energy to his family than to his work, and finally losing his high-powered job because of his new priorities. When Joanna returns with her own lucrative job and the intent to take custody of Billy, Ted finds employment that won't interfere with his paternal duties. Even though he proves that he can do it all, Joanna still wins in court. Joanna, however, rethinks her desires when she finally grasps how close father and son have become. Addressing the male side of the self-actualization question, previously explored from the female perspective in such 1970s movies as An Unmarried Woman (1978), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), and The Turning Point (1977), Kramer focuses on Ted's evolution from absent parent to ideal father, as he learns to balance domestic and professional lives in the shifting late-1970s social landscape. Joanna's attempt to achieve the same, however, gets buried; only Streep's sensitive performance prevents Joanna from seeming an unsympathetic harridan. Critics praised the film's realistic depiction of Ted's travails, as well as the three lead actors' work; and audiences, perhaps facing the same questions of divorce and self-realization, turned it into a box-office smash. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:December 19, 1979

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Justin Henry New Star of the Year - Male 1979 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Justin Henry Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1979 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Justin Henry Best Supporting Actor 1979 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Dustin Hoffman Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1979 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Dustin Hoffman Best Actor 1979 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Dustin Hoffman Best Actor 1979 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Dustin Hoffman Best Actor 1979 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Dustin Hoffman Best Actor 1979 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jane Alexander Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1979 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jane Alexander Best Supporting Actress 1979 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Meryl Streep Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1979 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Meryl Streep Best Supporting Actress 1979 Winner
National Board of Review Meryl Streep Best Supporting Actress 1979 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Meryl Streep Best Supporting Actress 1979 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Meryl Streep Best Supporting Actress 1979 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle Meryl Streep Best Supporting Actress 1979 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Robert Benton Best Screenplay 1979 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Robert Benton Best Director 1979 Winner
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Robert Benton Best Screenplay 1979 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Robert Benton Best Director 1979 Winner
Directors Guild of America Robert Benton Best Director 1979 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Benton Best Director 1979 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Benton Best Adapted Screenplay 1979 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Robert Benton Best Director 1979 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Néstor Almendros Best Cinematography 1979 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Stanley Jaffe Best Picture 1979 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jerry Greenberg Best Editing 1979 Nominee

Cast

Dustin Hoffman
as Ted Kramer
Meryl Streep
as Joanna Kramer
Justin Henry
as Billy Kramer
Jane Alexander
as Margaret Phelps
Howard Duff
as John Shaunessy
JoBeth Williams
as Phyllis Bernard
George Coe
as Jim O'Connor
Bill Moor
as Gressen
Jack Ramage
as Spencer
Jess Osuna
as Ackerman
Nicholas Hormann
as Interviewer
Shelby Brammer
as Ted's Secretary
Joe Seneca
as Partygoer
Ellen Parker
as Teacher

Crew

Robert Benton
Director
Stanley Jaffe
Producer
Robert Benton
Screenwriter
Avery Corman
Book Author
Néstor Almendros
Cinematographer
Henry Purcell
Featured Music
John Kander
Composer (Music Score)
Antonio Vivaldi
Featured Music
Jerry Greenberg
Editor
Paul Sylbert
Production Designer
Alan Hicks
Set Designer
Ruth Morley
Costume Designer
Shirley Rich
Casting
Advertisement