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Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

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A light-hearted picture of middle-aged love and friendship.

Director:

Paul Mazursky
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Bob and Carol Sanders are a young couple who are definitely part of the hip generation. Their slightly older friends Ted plus wife Alice Henderson are a little stodgy and shocked by things like swimming in the buff.

Stars: Robert Urich, Anne Archer, David Spielberg
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Wood ... Carol Sanders
Robert Culp ... Bob Sanders
Elliott Gould ... Ted Henderson
Dyan Cannon ... Alice Henderson
Horst Ebersberg ... Horst
Lee Bergere ... Emilio
Donald F. Muhich Donald F. Muhich ... Psychiatrist
Noble Lee Holderread Jr. Noble Lee Holderread Jr. ... Sean Sanders
K.T. Stevens ... Phyllis
Celeste Yarnall ... Susan
Lynn Borden ... Cutter
Linda Burton Linda Burton ... Stewardess
Greg Mullavey ... Tim - Group Leader
Andre Philippe Andre Philippe ... Oscar
Diane Berghoff Diane Berghoff ... Myrna
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Storyline

Documentary-filmmaker Bob Sanders and his wife Carol attend a group-therapy session that serves as the backdrop for the film's opening scenes. Returning to their Los Angeles home, the newly "enlightened" couple chastise their closest friends, Ted and Alice, for not coming to grips with their true feelings. Bob insists that everyone "feel" rather than intellectualize their emotions, and Carol pronounces "that's beautiful" after anyone says anything even remotely personal. Ted and Alice humor their friends, but a good-natured sexual tension is obviously at work among the foursome. Written by filmfactsman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Consider the Possibilities See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the film's commentary, Paul Mazursky considered this film his finest. See more »

Goofs

When Ted is in the pool talking to Bob, he says "I called home to make sure the kids were okay," using the plural "kids" - but they only have one child. See more »

Quotes

Bob Sanders: What do you feel about - my hair?
Ted Henderson: Your hair? Well, eh, your hair? I don't want to offend you; but, a majority of my day isn't spent in ruminating about your hair.
Carol Sanders: Be honest, Ted.
Ted Henderson: Your hair looks very good on you.
Carol Sanders: You're full of crap.
Bob Sanders: Cop out. That's what we call a cop out.
Carol Sanders: Yeah. That's a cop out, Ted.
Bob Sanders: Can't you feel? How do you feel about it?
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Carol Burnett Show: Episode #3.9 (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Burbank Brown
by Ray Greathouse and Morris Bachemin
Instrumental by Sweet Progress
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant timepiece well worth re-visiting
31 October 2010 | by Raph770See all my reviews

I watched this film again having first seen it on late night TV in the mid 1980s when I was twenty. I thought it would be unintentionally funny, expecting it to have dated badly. How wrong I was! This film is an important timepiece, a fascinating insight in to hip west coast middle class life at a time when America was still on top of the world, yet to realize it would all be downhill from there. The film has stood up remarkably well, it's subject matter still poignant. The cultural and social concepts of fidelity are forever shifting, often turning full circle making films like B&C&T&A relevant and thought provoking some forty years after release. The film is beautifully directed by Mazursky, and is arguably the finest work ever done by all four leads in the film. I found it fascinating observing each performance closely – noting how the actors juggled their obvious affection for their character, while at the same time being true to Mazursky's raison d'être – a gentle dig at the new social mores of the wealthy west coast hip set. Delicately picking at the counter-culture as if choosing hors d'oeuvres from a waiter at a cocktail party, Bob and Carol experiment with dope, extra marital sex and new age group therapy. The dialogue sparkles, the actors so in tune with Mazursky's vision they breathe life in to what are essentially caricatures. At times the film is laugh out loud funny, though not unintentionally as I had expected. I was surprised to realize the film was released in 1969, thinking it was more an early 70s creation, so ahead of its' time does it seem even today. It was years before other artists dared tackle the difficult subject of middle class vacuity, and rarely with the eloquence and humour of this film. The film is also sumptuous to look at, Bob and Carol's elegant faux Spanish villa positively luxurious even by today's standards. The scene of the foursome cruising to Las Vegas in Ted's convertible Cadillac is an elegiac vision, a scene of America that no longer exists. A time when wealthy Americans still bought Cadillacs, when Las Vegas was seen as a place of glamor and fun and despite the social unrest and Vietnam, America was still big, brash and confident. The greatest civilization in the history of the world, all there to see as the white ragtop barrels down the highway, the foursome laughing and in high spirits – a scene that in some ways summed up the theme of the movie. With so much at their fingertips, the luckiest people to have ever lived, but they don't know what to do with the privilege. They are lost, their search for sexual and emotional fulfillment nothing more than a desperate search for meaning, a sad attempt to fill a nagging void. In the mid 1980s, former Eagle front man Don Henley had his last big hit with 'The Boys Of Summer', in which he sings of his dismay at seeing a new Cadillac pass him on the LA freeway, a Dead-head sticker on the bumper. The former hippies, the baby boomers, had sold out. Mazursky was telling us the same thing fifteen years earlier. Perhaps Pete Townsend of the Who summed it up best in his anthemic Won't Get Fooled Again – 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss' A highly thought-provoking experience seeing this film again, and for those interested in culture, counter or otherwise – this is a must.


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