The Swimmer 1968 PG CC

Amazon Instant Video

(92) IMDb 7.7/10
Available in HD
Watch Trailer

In an affluent Connecticut suburb, Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) decides to "swim" home via the pools of his wealthy friends. Along the way he encounters several women from his past: a tempestuous teenage girl; his embittered ex-mistress; and the sensual wife of an old friend. Ned's journey is one of embarrassments, humiliation and steamy passion.

Starring:
Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard
Runtime:
1 hour 36 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Swimmer

By placing your order, you agree to our Terms of Use. Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Additional taxes may apply.

Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack
Starring Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard
Supporting actors Janice Rule, Tony Bickley, Marge Champion, Nancy Cushman, Bill Fiore, David Garfield, Kim Hunter, Rose Gregorio, Charles Drake, Bernie Hamilton, House Jameson, Jimmy Joyce, Michael Kearney, Richard McMurray, Jan Miner, Diana Muldaur, Keri Oleson, Joan Rivers
Studio Columbia Pictures
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

The film becomes a powerful allegory about disillusionment and tragedy, without being the least heavy-handed about it.
R. W. Rasband
It is through these visits, on his way home, that Lancaster's character, values,and how life's fates have treated him are revealed.
perry ander
See it for yourself in order to understand why the majority of people that have reviewed this film think so highly of it!
D. S. HARDEN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 126 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on February 1, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
It really is amazing how unknown this movie still is. If you are unfamiliar with it, you are in for a real experience. It is based on a classic short story by John Cheever, and it works like an extended, lost episode of the old "Twilight Zone" television series. A middle-aged suburban man (Burt Lancaster) decides to swim across his wealthy Connecticut county, through all the swimming pools of his neighbors back to his own home. As he makes his journey you gradually become aware that he is not all that he seems. Dark secrets keep getting revealed and it soon becomes apparent that we are witnessing a telescoping of the man's entire adult life into a few afternoon hours of an early autumn day. The film becomes a powerful allegory about disillusionment and tragedy, without being the least heavy-handed about it. Like Cheever's other great short story "The Enormous Radio", "The Swimmer" can be interpreted as a religious parable about the self-deception of fallen humanity. The comeuppance Lancaster receives is almost too intense to watch. This is a genuinely shattering movie that will stay with you.
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Fennessy on September 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Odd, unsettling film, based on a short story by John Cheever (from his Pulitzer Prize winning collection), about a middle aged man who swims from one end of suburban Westport, Connecticut to the other. Wearing only a snug pair of swim trunks, Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) swims in each of his neighbors' pools until he reaches his home which, as he tells almost everyone he encounters, has a tennis court rather than a pool. Along the way, the sky turns from blue to black (both literally and metaphorically), and he realizes his life isn't quite what he thought it was.

Despite the presence of Lancaster, who was still in terrific shape at the time (he was 55 in 1968), Frank Perry's film was far from successful. And it isn't hard to see why--this isn't a happy tale and there's barely even a glimmer of hope or redemption at the end. Nonetheless, it's powerful and original stuff and, although you might imagine otherwise, doesn't really have much in common with the suburban melodramas of the 1950s, like "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit," or the suburban black comedies of the 1990s, like "American Beauty."

Granted, "The Graduate," which was released only a year before, was just as cynical towards the Left Coast's version of swimming pool and cocktail culture, but that cynicism was leavened by humor and the point of view was, even more significantly, that of the young characters in the film rather than their parents. That isn't the case with "The Swimmer," which is more like a condensed version of "The Great Gatsby" or "Death of a Salesman." In other words, it's a fully realized character study and minor classic about the failure of the American Dream. Not to all tastes, but easily as relevant today as it was in 1968.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Matluck on February 2, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Or not so plain and hardly simple.
My admiration for the shorter fiction of John Cheever knows no bounds, but this movie goes an already great short story one better. Great movies, of course, are made of very different stuff than great fiction. How, for example, to turn "Citizen Kane" into a great novel or "Ulysses" into a great film? Yet the reason this film works is "time"...
The story itself is well known: At the home of some friends one "midsummer Sunday," a successful, middle-aged advertising executive named Neddy Merrill decides, peculiarly perhaps (though with much symbolism, Freudian and otherwise), to swim the length of suburbia, from one friend's pool to another, until he reaches home, where his wife and daughters (he believes) are waiting for him. At each pool, however, his friends appear a little less friendly (and, by the end, downright hostile), and we begin to see that time is passing a little too quickly, that midsummer is turning into late fall, that there is a chill in the air and storm clouds in the sky, and that, by the time Ned reaches the end of his journey, his life is in ruin, and that his entire existence has been "drained" in the course of a single afternoon. Funny how realizations of a wasted lifetime creep up on us that way.
So here, perhaps, is the rub. In Cheever's story, a whole lifetime passes in one day, which passes in eight pages. In Frank Perry's movie, a whole lifetime passes in one day, which passes in about an hour and 40 minutes. The fifteen minutes or so required to read the original is too short, the time goes by too swiftly.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By THE BLUEMAHLER on September 23, 2010
Format: DVD
When Burt Lancaster began his career as an actor, it appeared this was going to be a career in the mold of Errol Flynn or Randolph Scott. In films like The Flame and the Arrow, Jim Thorpe-All American, The Crimson Pirate, Vera Cruz, Ten Tall Men, From Here to Eternity, The Kentuckian, Trapeze, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Run Silent, Run Deep, Lancaster seemed to personify and embody the American ideal hero.

However, behind those swell guy teeth and that brandished chest was a shrewd actor, who, as he seasoned, made increasingly interesting choices. In the second half of his career, Lancaster often played off that earlier, heroic persona with admirable risk taking. If Elmer Gantry and Seven Days in May might be aptly described as loudly presenting the dirty underbelly of Americana, then The Swimmer intimately one-ups them.

In 1968 director Frank Perry with writer/wife Eleanor Perry adapted John Cheever's acclaimed allegorical New Yorker short story, The Swimmer, and brilliantly cast the iconic Burt Lancaster as the pathetic hero. The Perrys had previously teamed for the equally disturbing David and Lisa (1962) and made quite a splash on the art film circuit. Surprisingly, that film even garnered a couple of Academy Award nominations, which enabled the team to make The Swimmer.

The Swimmer begins on an absurdly bright, sunny day. Ned (Lancaster), the epitome of a tanned, virile, soulless suburbia, decides he is going to enthusiastically embark on a strange, epic, connect-the-dot journey by "swimming" home through the neighborhood swimming pools. He takes along a nubile girl (Janet Langard), but at each pool he encounters facets of his failed life and the crack in his facade slowly begins to expand until the inevitable, tragic conclusion.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews