Family on Screen: Classic Films about Family Life–Divorce

Four interesting films about divorce, made by different directors and representing different countries, were made in late 1970s and early 1980s.

Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979), US, Robert Benton, Best Picture Oscar

Ordinary People (1980), US, Robert Redford, Best Picture Oscar

Shoot the Moon (1982), US, Alan Parker, starring Albert Finney and Diane Keaton

Smash Palace (1982), New Zealand, Roger Donaldson


The narrative and tone of these pictures are different, but they share significant similarities, especially in the ways that they depict the father figure, often  patriarchs, or initially insensitive fathers.

Some of these tales contain similar incidents and melodramatic crises, particularly the rage and violence expressed by the fathers when they are deprived by their wives of seeing their children.