Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Drama
  • 1977
  • 104 mins




Resnais' first English-language film is a complex but not especially rewarding exercise. Gielgud plays an old man lying ill in bed, drunk and dying, who desperately attempts to complete his last novel. He imagines or remembers stories of his family - you are never quite sure whether these are real encounters or the product of a bitter man's vindictive mind. Memory and fantasy have long been Resnais trademark themes, so it is easy to see why this material appealed to him.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Ellen Burstyn, John Gielgud, Denis Lawson, David Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Elaine Stritch
  • Director: Alain Resnais
  • Writer: David Mercer
  • Producer: Yves Gasser, Yves Peyrot, Klaus Hellwig
  • Photographer: Ricardo Aronovich

In a nutshell

Mercer's script is dense and difficult to penetrate, and only the exceptional cast save it from getting bogged down in its own pretensions.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4


    AnnaLynne McCord stars as a teenager with an unhealthy fascination with gore and surgery.

  • Film4

    100 Bloody Acres

    A gloriously gory, side-splittingly funny horror from Down Under.

  • Film4

    FilmFear on Film4

    This Halloween, Film4 becomes FilmFear. Join us for seven nights of petrifying premieres and classics from the crypt.

  • Film4

    Black Mountain Poets on Film4

    Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells star in writer-director Jamie Adams' hilarious improvised comedy-drama

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register