The Swimmer

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 21


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,083
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Movie Info

In this film, Burt Lancaster plays a wealthy, middle-aged advertising man, who embarks on a revelatory journey through suburban Connecticut. Lancaster slowly makes his way to his split-level home by travelling from swimming pool to swimming pool. At each stop, Lancaster faces an incident from his past.


Burt Lancaster
as Ned Merrill
Janice Rule
as Shirley Abbott
Kim Hunter
as Betty Graham
Janet Landgard
as Julie Hooper
Tony Bickley
as Donald Westerhazy
Marge Champion
as Peggy Forsburgh
Nancy Cushman
as Mrs. Halloran
Bill Fiore
as Howie Hunsacker
John Garfield Jr.
as Ticket Seller
Rose Gregorio
as Sylvia Finney
Charles Drake
as Howard Graham
Bernie Hamilton
as Chauffeur
House Jameson
as Mr. Halloran
Jimmy Joyce
as Jack Finney
Michael Kearney
as Kevin Gilmartin
Richard McMurray
as Stu Forsburgh
Jan Miner
as Lillian Hunsacker
David Garfield
as Ticket Seller
Dolph Sweet
as Henry Biswanger
Louise Troy
as Grace Biswanger
Diana Van der Vlis
as Helen Westerhazy
Lisa Daniels
as Matron at the Biswangers' Pool
John Gerstad
as Guest at the Bunkers' Pool
Marilyn Langner
as Enid Bunker
Ray Mason
as Bunkers' Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for The Swimmer

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (21)

Audience Reviews for The Swimmer

  • Nov 30, 2015
    A buff Burt Lancaster is nearly naked the whole film as a upscale businessman swimming through the pools of his neighbors in a circuitous route home one evening. I wouldn't watch this for years as I took it merely as a Lancaster vanity project, but now I guess I'm old enough to see that that actually plays an important part in the story, his vanity, undercutting what is seen versus what is real. There's a Twilight Zone twist telegraphed throughout, but nonetheless its a cool piece about the difference between who we think we are and who we are in fact.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2014
    Observing that all his neighbors have swimming pools, an indefatigably cheerful man out for a morning jog decides to "swim" his way home; at each stop he talks to a new neighbor, slowly painting a picture of his life. Based on a John Cheever short story, this odd concept works surprisingly well as both a suburban satire and (thanks to an excellent performance by Burt Lancaster) a touching character study of a man who doesn't realize the American dream has passed him by.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2013
    The Swimmer is an extraordinary bit of a cinema that for some reason does not get a lot of airplay. Lancaster is at his best as a person who has conveniently forgotten about his recent past and interacts with those who love and hate him as he swims through suburban pools on his way home. Gripping.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2009
    an offbeat, even absurd suburban drama that sees burt lancaster fighting to preserve his illusions while swimming home through his neighbor's pools. burt is the force that holds this film together. a little dated but also well ahead of it's time
    Stella D Super Reviewer

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