Salesman Willy Loman is in a crisis. He’s about to lose his job, he can’t pay his bills, and his sons Biff and Happy don’t respect him and can’t seem to live up to their potential. An acclaimed version of Arthur Miller’s play, starring Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Kate Reid, and Charles Durning.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
No local high school production could have ever prepared me for the emotional core that this story gets to deliver here in Schlöndorff's adaptation. Staged like a top shelf theater production but with the intimacy only a camera can give you. We are given the opportunity to see every ounce of fear and memory grace Willie's face. Every bit of anxiety and conflict fall upon Biff. Something very unique was blended here.
Stunning on all fronts. Of course Miller's play is absolutely astounding. One of the great American playwrights with probably the ultimately great American play. This play is so satisfying on so many fronts it's staggering. Then the performances, the direction, the honoring of the script by maintaining a stage-like feeling--Malkevoich and Hoffman are incredible, and Kate Reid is heart breaking. Nothing better.
This film adaptation of Death Of A Salesman proves to be a difficult watch, though it is just as it is with the stage version. The characters endure so much throughout the runtime, but the audience is brought right in thanks to marvelous performances by Hoffman and Malkovich. A truly classic film made from an all-time classic play.
The great American play is brought to vivid life with this adaptation of the Broadway remounted production starring Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman. All four principal parts are exceptionally cast especially a young John Malkovich as Biff. The stage bound conceit of the production however works against it and perhaps opening the production up would have worked in its favour.
I saw 'Death' when I was 18 at Arena Stage with the amazing Bob Prosky and Bruce Weitz. It was incredibly moving. I was trying to keep from crying because I was out with my friend and his parents. I kept saying, "This is not actually happening." At the end I cried so hard and loud that the actors looked at me and smiled. Probably the best acting I've ever seen. This version is OK.
How do I rate this? As a film, I mean, cinematically, it's mediocre. And you don't get credit for Miller's genius. But man, it's a powerful play, and Hoffman's a devastating Willy Loman, and you've gotta get points for making such an accessible adaptation... Still, theatre's theatre, and I'd rather see it on stage. Ideally with a heartbreakingly beautiful 32-year-old Malkovich. But you can't have everything.
i like dustin hoffman a lot but he's just terribly miscast here. willy loman is a blowhard and a liar who cows his wife and family with his explosively violent temper; hoffman plays him like a rather cute mentally deficient weakling. he acts his ass off and it is impressive in a way, but still he robs the play of much of its danger and power.