Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Script

I love you, Billy.

I love you too, Mommy.


Sleep tight.

Don't let the bedbugs bite.

I'll see you in the morning light.

I love you.

They're going to make me an assistant art director. So Kenny says:

"You get yourself a Burberry coat.

If you're gonna be Madison Avenue, you have to look it."

Saturday afternoon, I go out, and it's cold.

I go to this place that specializes in Burberrys...

...and say, " I want a Burberry coat, 37 short."

They put it on, and I look beautiful in it.

I say, " I'll buy it."

And right then, I start to sweat.

I take my checkbook out, start to sign the check, and my hand shakes...

...because I'm so scared.

Good night. Where you going?

I gotta get home. Oh, Jesus, I gotta go.

Okay, so let me finish.

So I sign it, and my hand starts shaking...

Who is this? Danny, right? Taxi!

Come on, I gotta tell you something. I can't. I gotta get home.

Gotta talk to you about something important.

I'm putting you in charge of the Mid-Atlantic account.

By the end of the year, we'll have them up to 10 million.

If this campaign works out the way I know it will...

...they'll offer me a partnership.

That's terrific!

When that happens, I just want you to know I'm taking you along.

Wow! Wow! That's terrific.


I'm home.

I forgot my keys. I gotta call the office before they go.

Jo, you're gonna be real proud of me. I got good news.

Ted. One second. Let me just do this.

You know Jack Edwards in accounting? He committed suicide.

Yeah, hi. Ted Kramer.

I gotta get those photos from the retoucher by tomorrow morning.

I'm leaving you. Honey, please. I can't hear.

Okay, you too. Thanks a lot. See you tomorrow.

Did you guys eat?

I'm leaving you.

Here are my keys.

Here's my American Express, my Bloomingdale's card... checkbook. I've taken $2000 out of our savings account.

That's what I had when we got married.

Is this a joke? Here's the cleaning, laundry ticket.

You can pick them both up on Saturday.

You. You have to pick them up. What's wrong?

I paid the rent, the Con Ed bill, and the phone bill, so...

You really pick your times to...

I'm sorry I was late, but I was busy making a living, all right?

Come on, okay? Can we stop now?

So that's everything.

Enough, enough. All right?

What are you doing?

Where are you going? Just tell me what I did that's so terrible.

It's not you. Then what?

It's me. It's my fault.

You married the wrong person.

I can't hack it. Let's just go inside.

I can't, I tried. I swear...

Joanna, please, just... I'm sorry.

No, please don't make me go in there. I just want to talk.

If you do, I swear, one day...

...l'll go right out the window. Oh, please.

Come on, now. What about Billy?

I'm not taking him with me. I'm no good for him.

I'm terrible with him.

I have no patience.

He's better off without me.

Joanna, please.

And I don't love you anymore.

Where are you going? I don't know.

Hi, Margaret. This is Ted. Is my wife there?

Yeah. Joanna come in?

We had a little fight. I thought she might have stopped by.

If she comes in, tell her to come up or just give me a ring.

Don't worry. She didn't take her suitcase. She won't get very far.

I got work to do. If she comes in, tell her to call me.

It's about time.

Joanna, that's the most insensitive... Hi, Margaret.

She packed a suitcase? Look, it's nothing serious, really.

She tell you where she was going?

You tell me. How would I know? I wasn't here.

Clearly, you two had many talks about my shortcomings...

...which I haven't been privy to. And I'd love to talk...

...but I have a major presentation in the morning...

...and I gotta get my work done. So please allow me...

You don't realize we have a serious problem.

Wrong. Me. I got the problem. All you gotta do is...

...go out the door and go back to bed.

The fact is... For six months...

...l've been spitting blood to get this agency its biggest account.

And at five, we got it.

At eight, the vice president tells me I'll be the next creative director.

I come through this door to share with my wife... of the five best days of my life, and she looks at me...

...and tells me she doesn't want to live with me!

Can't you understand what she's done to me?

She loused up one of the five best days of your life.

You're terrific. Boy, you're...

Thanks very much, really.


Thank you for coming to cheer me up, but...

I didn't come to cheer you up.

I'm concerned about Joanna.

Maybe you can be concerned in the privacy of your own apartment.

Joanna and I never had any problems until you and Charley split up.

Oh, I don't believe you.

Just tell me the truth, okay?

Did you set her up to this?

No, I didn't put her up to this.

Give her a little pep talk? No, I didn't.

Joanna and I talk a great deal.

And Joanna is a very unhappy woman.

And it took a lot of courage for her to walk out of here.

How much courage does it take to walk out on your kid?

Where's Mommy?

What? Where's Mommy?

What time is it?

The little hand's on the 7, the big hand's on the 9. Where's Mommy?

Oh, God. Okay, I'm gonna tell you. You want to know where Mommy is?

She's supposed to take me to school. She told me to do it.

Okay, I'll tell you where she went.

You know when you and your friends don't get along and fight?

And you want to go and be alone for a while?

Sometimes Mommy and Daddy don't get along...

...and one of them wants to go and be by themselves for a while.

When is Mommy coming back? Soon.

Now we are gonna have breakfast! Okay? Just you and me.

What do you want? French toast.

You want French toast, you got it.

Put up a little water for Daddy to have some coffee.

We got how many eggs? Two for you and two for me.

We got milk.

We got butter.

We got $5.

I got $5. Here, you sit here.

Okay, can you be my number one helper?

Watch this. One hand.

Here we go.

Did you know that all the best chefs are men?

Isn't this terrific? We gotta do this more often.

You dropped some shell in it. That's okay.

Makes it crunchier. You like it crunchy, don't you?

Why don't you beat them, and I'll get everything else going.

What time is school? 8:30.

Gotta get the show on the road. I gotta shower, shave and shampoo.

I got people to see.

And Daddy's gotta bring home the bacon...

...and he's gotta cook it.

We're having a good time! Where does Mommy keep the...?

In the stove. The pan. The stove.

First, we need a nice fire.

No, you're not doing it right.

Look, you gotta do it fast. See? It's the wrist.

So the gucky part dissolves.

Then you take the bread, and we...


We fold the French toast. That's what we do.

I think you forgot milk. I didn't. Milk comes last.

When you're having a good time you forget things.

I just wanted to see if you're paying attention.

Fun, isn't it? When's the last time Mommy let you in the kitchen?

I don't like it in pieces.

It tastes the same whether it's in pieces or whole. Bread is bread.

Besides, French toast is always folded.

In the best restaurants, you see folded French toast.

You get more bites that way.

And while that's going, Daddy's gonna make coffee.

You having a good time?

I don't remember the last time I had such a good time.

Daddy's gonna make himself coffee.

That's too much! No, I like it strong.

Mommy always makes it too weak.

Can I have some orange juice?

Right. One OJ coming up for the kid.

Daddy, it's burning!

What? It's burning!

Damn it! Goddamn her!

Oh, shit.

Just take it easy. Everything is fine. We're terrific.


Just take it easy. Nothing is the matter.

What? Your hand's sweaty.

When's Mommy coming back? Soon. I told you.

Is she gonna pick me up? Probably. If she doesn't, I will.

What if you forget? I won't.

What if you get run over? Mommy will pick you up.

Miss! What grade are you in? First.

This is Billy Kramer. He's in first grade.

Take care of him. I gotta get a taxi, I'm late. Taxi!


Congratulations about Mid-Atlantic. Thanks.

Congratulations. Is the stuff back from the retoucher?

Great news, Ted. Thanks a lot.

Morning. 11:00, meeting with Airwick...

Where's the stuff from the retoucher? Right here.

Did my wife call? No.

You're gonna have to cancel the Airwick at 11:30.

She's never gone this far before, but in the past...

...l've known when she's upset because...

...she gets very quiet.

Our pattern has been that I've said, "What's the matter?"...

...and she'll kind of sit on it.

But in the last few weeks, maybe couple of months...

...since we've been going crazy with this account, I've been remiss.

And I just didn't look at the writing on the wall, so she's kind of...

I think this is a way of making me stop, look and say:

" I'm as important as your work."

Is there another guy?

I don't think so. She's not the type.

She's got this friend, Margaret, downstairs... know, women's lib. I think they may have cooked this up.

It worked.

I'm going crazy!

Look, not to worry.

She'll be back.

I didn't know it would happen to me!

Don't let it get you down.

I know she'll be back. I'm terrific, really.

You do have a problem, Ted. Yeah, what's that?

What are you gonna do about Billy?

This just happened last night. I'm sure when Joanna comes back...

It's none of my business. I'll butt out.

Listen, I want to hear your thoughts.

I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

May sound a little rough, but...

...I think you ought to send Billy away to stay with relatives for a while.

You mean, until Joanna comes back?

Suppose Joanna doesn't come back?

Gee, I don't know...

Ted, listen to me.

I just told the boys upstairs you're handling the Mid-Atlantic account.

You know? A gig like that comes along once every five, six years.

There's guys here eating their hearts out because I gave that spot to you.

This is important. Don't blow this.

I gotta depend on you. I gotta count on you for 110 percent...

...7 days a week, 24 hours a day. I gotta have that.

I can't be concerned about you worrying about a kid.

First, you can count on me 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

Because I'm not a loser, Jim.

I never let anything at home come into the office.

You asked me to unload in this office.

When I go outside, I'm on top of it. I want you to know that.

I'm a survivor.

You've given me a shot here. I'm not gonna let anything blow it.


Let's have a drink later. I'm all right. I gotta...

...blow smoke up Airwick's ass, 11:00.

I'm all right!

You don't worry.

Thank you.

I love you, you bastard.



Yeah, honey, just wait a second. I just want to finish this idea.

Let me get this copy done, and then I'll talk.

What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?

Time to get a new fence.

Honey, please... I just got this sentence.

Daddy! Daddy!

Goddamn it! Goddamn it!

Get over there and sit on that couch and don't move!

I knew this was gonna happen! I knew it!

Who told you not to drink this stuff here?

Sorry. Yeah, you're sorry.

Told you to keep that juice in the dining room!


Who took you to the park, gave you everything you wanted?

Who bought you an ice cream? You.

And who promised Daddy that when we got home, you'd let him work?

That's ruined. I can't fix that. Sorry.

It's past your bedtime. Why don't you go to sleep?

And brush your teeth and flush the toilet.

Paper towels. What else? We need detergent.

All right.

No, Mommy buys the kind with the orange circles on it.

There's no difference. Mom said it was the best.

Let's go. Get the pink stuff.

All right, come on.

Okay. That's it.

We need some cereal.

Okay, what colour?

Hey, Billy!

Billy! Told you Mommy would write before the week was up.

When is she coming back? That's what we're gonna find out now.

Okay. Let's read it.

" My dearest, sweet Billy."

That's you.

" Mommy has gone away.

Sometimes in the world...

...daddies go away...

...and mommies bring up their little boys.

But sometimes, a mommy can go away too...

...and you have your daddy to bring you up.

I have gone away because I must find...

...something interesting to do for myself in the world.

Everybody has to, and so do I.

Being your mommy was one thing, but there are other things too...

...and this is what I have to do.

I did not get a chance to tell you this...

...and that is why I'm writing you now.

I will always be your mommy...

...and I will always love you.

I just won't be your mommy in the house...

...but I'll be your mommy at the heart.

And now I must go and be the person I have to be."

We'll read this another time.

I don't care.

Good night, Jim. Come on in.

Have a drink. I can't, I'm late now.

What's the rush? We're having a party for Norman. Five years here.

Can you believe it?

Wish I could, but I'm late. I gotta pick up Billy.

You know Jerry Hoover, in media?

Tell you something funny.

Gotta go. See you Monday.



Here, keep the change. Thanks.

Hi, Mrs. Kline. I'm sorry I'm late.

That's all right, but Billy is upset.

Hey, how's it going, sport?

I had a little trouble getting away from the office.

Sorry. Come on, let's get going.

Thanks for coming, Billy. Oh, wait a minute.

Don't forget your goody bag. Thanks very much.

Bye. Thanks a lot.

So, did you have a lot of fun? You're late.

I'm not that late. Only 20 minutes. Want to bet?

All the other mothers were there before you.

Why are you making such a big deal of it? There was traffic.

If you want to be a big boy... learn that when somebody says they're sorry... don't hold a grudge and make them feel bad for...

...a long time afterwards.

Okay, go ahead.

Don't eat with your fingers. Come on, Billy.

You know better than that. Here.

Use a fork.

Come on, come on. Sit up, sit up, sit up.

How was school today?

Same as usual.

I see the Knicks finally won a game.

I don't care.

What do you mean?

I like Boston. Boston? Why do you like Boston?

Because Mommy's from Boston.

Sit up and try to eat. Come on.

Can I be excused? I want to go to bed.

Too much birthday cake?

Yeah, I guess.

I'm sorry. Excuse me.

Louise, give me a hand.

You're 15 minutes late.

Mr. O'Connor is very upset. This all of it?

Yes. Do you want your mail now? No, just give me the messages.

Remind me to get a Crying Chrissie doll at lunch.

Okay, okay.

Sorry I'm late.

And there's a PTA meeting at the school on Tuesday at 4.

Right, thanks.

Put the chicken in the refrigerator.

Know who Charley's seeing now?


A divorced woman with two little girls the same age as Kim and Petey.

Are you kidding? No.

How do you know?

I know.

How long has it been since you two broke up?

Year and a half.

That long?

Did I ever tell you how sorry... sad Joanna and I were when you guys split?

Look at that cute little boy over there.

You think you'll ever get married again?

I mean, to anybody. No.


Maybe it's different if you don't have children, but...

...even if Charley and I aren't living together, and even if we're...

...sleeping with other people, even if he were to get married again...

...he's still my husband...

...and he's still the father of my children and...

That stuff about "till death do you part," that's really true.

Let's say Charley finishes his midlife crisis...

...he's had it with his flings and comes asking for forgiveness.

What would you do?

I think that if he really loved me...

...he wouldn't have let me divorce him.

You still think about him, don't you?

Only all the time.

Think about Joanna? Never.


Some pair, boy.

I don't believe it.

You missed the closing. I'm sorry.

Look, I gotta tell you something. I'm getting very nervous here.

Ever since your wife left you. Is it eight months now?

You're not getting any better.

What do you mean?

Look, I can't let your family problems interfere with my responsibilities.

I got a shop to run.

I regret it, and I promise you it will never happen again.



Yeah, wait a minute.

It's for you, pick up 461. Who is it?

Pick up 461.


Oh, hi, Billy. What's up?

No, one hour of television a day. That's the rule.


I don't care what the other mothers do, Billy. We made a deal.

I can't talk now. I'm busy.

We will talk about it tonight when I get home, all right?

Double chocolate chip. I remember.

I'm getting very nervous.

Put that down and eat your dinner.

What is this crap?

It's Salisbury steak. I hate it.

You had it last week and you loved it.

No, I didn't. I hate the brown stuff. It's gross.

It's onions and gravy. I'm allergic to onions.

You are not. You had this last week...

...and I said it was my favourite and you said, " It's my favourite too."

I did not. Yes, you did.

It's regular hamburger.

Take a bite. It's delicious.

What's the matter?

I'm gonna throw up.

No, you're not. It's yucky.

It is not yucky, Billy. Eat it.

Did you bring the chocolate chip ice cream home?

Yes, I brought the chocolate chip ice cream home...

...and you can't have it until you eat all your dinner...

Where are you going? Get back here now.

Did you hear me?

You'd better not do that.

You'd better stop right there. I'm warning you.

Did you hear me?

Now, you listen to me. Don't be smart.

Put that back until you finish your dinner.

If you take one bite out of that, you're in trouble.

Don't you dare. Don't you dare do that.

You hear me? Hold it right there.

You put that ice cream in your mouth and you are in very big trouble.

Don't you dare go anywhere beyond that. Put it down.

I am not going to say it again. I am not going to say it again.

You're hurting me!

Don't you kick me.

I hate you! You're no bargain either, pal.

You are a spoiled little brat!

I hate you! I hate you back, you little shit!

I want my mommy! I'm all you've got.

I want my mommy!

I want my mommy!

I want my mommy!




Yeah? I'm sorry.

I'm sorry too.

I want you to go to sleep because it's really late.


Now what is it?

Are you going away?


I'm staying here with you. You can't get rid of me that easy.

That's why Mommy left, isn't it? Because I was bad?

Is that what you think?


That's not it, Billy. Your mom loves you very much...

...and the reason she left has nothing to do with you.

I don't know if this will make sense, but I'll try to explain it to you.

I think the reason why Mommy left...

...was because for a long time...

...I kept trying to make her be a certain kind of person.

A certain kind of wife that I thought she was supposed to be.

And she just wasn't like that. She was...

She just wasn't like that.

I think that she tried for so long to make me happy...

...and when she couldn't, she tried to talk to me about it.

But I wasn't listening. I was too busy, too wrapped up...

...just thinking about myself.

And I thought that anytime I was happy, she was happy.

But I think underneath she was very sad.

Mommy stayed here longer than she wanted because she loves you so much.

And the reason why Mommy couldn't stay anymore...

...was because she couldn't stand me.

She didn't leave because of you. She left because of me.

Go to sleep now because it's really late, okay?

Good night.

Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite.

See you in the morning light.

Daddy? Yeah?

I love you.

I love you too.

Ladies and gentlemen... Ladies and gentlemen...

...welcome to our Halloween Pageant.

...welcome to our Halloween Pageant.

With gruesome goblins. With gruesome goblins.

And ghostly ghosts.

And wicked witches and spooky spooks.

Tom, you and I both know it's a violation of privacy laws.

Look, it doesn't make any difference. It's name or likeness.

I don't care. Tell them if they want it, they have to pay for it.

All right, bye-bye.

Hello, Kramer.

Can you check the copy on Mid-Atlantic?

I think it's okay.


Yes, what?

I'll have dinner with you.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Oh, shit!

I gotta go. What's the matter?

I gotta go.

Want me to call a cab? No, I've got an 8:00 meeting.

Where you going? Bathroom.

That's a closet. Bathroom's over there.

Yeah, you're right.

These morons are violating the FTC regulations, and I have to make sure...


What's your name? I'm Phyllis Bernard.


I'm a friend, uh, business associate of your father's.

Oh, Jesus.

Do you like fried chicken? Fried chicken? Very much.

So do I.

Well, it's really...

It's nice seeing you and...

Bye. Bye.

Kramer, I just met your son.

Come on, you're never going to do this if you don't concentrate.

All right, come on. Thattaboy. Get your centre.

Okay? How's it feel?


Keep it going, keep it going! That's terrific!

Don't stop! Billy, keep your feet moving!

Oh, that's terrific. How do you feel?

Good! You look great!

Don't go too far!

Yeah? And so the dog really hurt Tom.

So Tom got so mad, he jumped in the potato salad...

...and he pushed over the table.


Then... Let me get your shoelace.

Then what happened?

The big dog kept chasing him, then he flipped the table.

With all the stuff coming down? Yeah.

Then what happened?

I don't want to be late for school.

Here's your homework. Give me a kiss.

Hi, Tommy. Hi.



Your babysitter answers, wouldn't say where you were.

Tell me where you were.

Well... French professor finally asked me out.

When? The other day.

You had a date.

I knew you were keeping something from me!

I thought he was a pretty neat guy. Right.

So we go to dinner. Yeah?

I find out he's married.

He's deep in analysis.

He's telling me his life story... Wonderful!

...and all I can think of while I sit there... that I'm paying a babysitter $3.25 an hour... listen to his problems.

Daddy! Daddy, look!

Take that out of your hand. I'll get him.

Did you hear me?

Hold it, hold it!

It hurts, Daddy.

Daddy, hurry. Okay.

I can't see, Daddy. Rest your head.

Watch it!

Daddy, please hurry.

We're almost there. Can't see in my eye.

Let me see. Where's the emergency room?!

How did this happen?

He fell off the jungle gym.

He had a plane in his hand.

I'm just about through.

Don't hurt him. I won't hurt him.

Mr. Kramer, can I talk to you outside?

Yeah. Can she come in?

Margaret, come in.

Stay, Daddy. I'll be right back.

Daddy, stay. I'm just outside.

It's all right, darling.

I'm just talking to the doctor.

He'll be right back.

I'm right here.

Will he lose his eye?

No, but I have to take some stitches.

How many?

About 10. What?

Don't worry. There won't be much of a scar.

This will take about 15 minutes, so step over here.

I want to be in there with him.

You don't need to be in there. He's my son.

If you're gonna do something, I'm gonna be with him.

Good boy. You're really brave.

That was a big one.

Stop it.

Okay, we're almost done now. We're almost done now.

How is he?

He's okay. He's sleeping.

It's okay. I can do that.

Ted, I'm so sorry. I feel responsible.

I don't know what happened.

One minute he was there and the next he was lying on the ground.

Come on, Margaret.

Now listen, I want to ask you a favour, okay?

It's a big favour.

If something happened to me... I'm not saying anything will...

...but if a building fell on me...

...would you consider taking care of Billy?

I want you to know that I put some thought into this...

...and I...

...can't think of anybody else I would trust with him.

I know you'd be okay with him because...'re a good mother.

You're a lousy dishwasher.

All right? Okay.

You're all right.

Louise, you want to get that?

Louise, it's ringing... Yeah, hello.

Yes, who is this?



Hi. How are you?

You look great.

How's your...? What?

I'm sorry. I was saying, how's your job?

Fine. Vice president of nothing.

No, really, it's great.

Would you like a drink? Whatever she has.

White wine. Wine.

How's Billy? He's terrific.

He had a little accident in a playground. He cut himself.

It was scary. I ran him to the hospital.

He has a little scar, but he'll be fine.

I've been worrying that it's my fault...

Don't do that. You can't even see it from a distance.

I sit in the coffee shop across from his school and watch him.

He got so big.

You've been watching him?

I've been in New York for about two months now.

I didn't know that.


That's why I wanted to talk to you today.

Last time you saw me, I was in pretty bad...

Shaky? Really bad shape.

Yeah, I was.

I was.

Well, you look lovely now.

What? I have a whole speech.

Go ahead.

All my life I've felt like...

...somebody's wife or mother or daughter.

Even when we were together I never knew who I was.

That's why I had to go away.

In California, I think I found myself.

I got myself a job.

I got myself a therapist, a really good one.

And I feel better about myself than I ever have in my whole life.

I learned a lot about myself.

Such as?

No, really, I'd really like to know what you learned.

I've learned that I love my little boy.

And that I'm capable of taking care of him.

What do you mean?

I want my son.

You can't have him.

Don't get defensive. Don't bully me.

I'm not getting defensive.

Who walked out 15 months ago?

I don't care. I'm still his mother.

From 3000 miles away.

Because you sent post cards gives you the right to come back?

I never stopped wanting him.

What makes you sure he wants you?

What makes you sure he doesn't?

We're gonna sit here and bat this back and forth.

It's like old times. You can't deny me...

Don't tell me what I can or cannot do.

Don't talk to me that way. I anticipated this.

Do what you have to. I'll do what I have to.

I'm sorry about this.

Do what you have to do.

I don't know the legal jargon for it, but I think it's "desertion. "

I don't mean to tell you your job, but I have an open-and-shut case.

There's no such thing as an open-and- shut case where custody is involved.

I'll bet your ex-wife has already found a lawyer...

...who's advised her to move back to establish residency.

The burden is on us to prove that your ex-wife is an unfit mother.

That means I'll have to play rough. If I play rough... can bet they will too. Can you take that?


And it's going to cost you $15,000.

That's if we win.

If we go to appeal, it'll cost you more.

I understand.

Now, how old is the child again?

My son is 7.

That's tough. Why?

In cases involving a child that young, the court tends to side with her.

She signed over custody.

I'm not saying we don't have a shot, but it won't be easy.

Do me a favour, will you?

There's something I find useful in matters like this.

I sit down and I write out all the pros and cons on an issue.

Write them and look at them.

I want you to do that, okay? Okay.

And after that...

...if you're really certain you want to retain custody...

...then we'll go in there and beat the pants off them. Okay?

I love you, Billy. I know you're sleeping and can't hear me.

I love you with all my heart.

Ted, you got a lunch?

Hi, Jim. I don't know. I was trying to work this idea out here...

Good. I'll pick you up at 1:00.

Okay, you got it.

So the other morning, I'm at the refrigerator...

...getting Billy ready for school.

I'm just in my underwear and he notices I've lost weight.

He comes in and pats me. He comes to here.

And he says, " Daddy, you've really lost a lot of weight. "

He looks up at me and he says, "And it's all gone to your nose. "

He was so cute. You know?

You know, kids.

It's delicious, want a taste?

I'm full. It's good.

Listen, Ted...

...I had a call from a friend of mine over at another agency.

The Mid-Atlantic people have invited them to pitch the account.


They're not happy with what we're doing.

I think you should have them over and I'll give a little tap dance.

I got Norman working on it.


You taking me off the account?

You don't like me anymore?

It's not quite that simple.

I think we're gonna have to make a few changes here.

You're firing me?

Yeah, I'm letting you go, yes.


Now, look, Ted, this is a very painful thing for me.

I've been getting a lot of pressure from the guys upstairs.

There wasn't anything I could do.

I think it's better this way.

If I took your stripes...

...if I put you on a schlock account, you'd hate it, and me for doing it.

This way it's a clean break. That's the best thing.

You know my wife is fighting for custody?

You know that we're going to court?

Do you know what my chances are if I'm out of a job?

I understand that you're upset...

I don't want to beg, but I'm asking you, please, as a friend.

I'm asking you.

You're an extremely bright guy. You've got a hell of a talent.

You're gonna land on your feet. You're gonna survive.

Teddy, look.

I know you may be short on cash.

No big hurry about paying this back.

Shame on you.

Daddy, the phone's ringing.

Mr. Kramer? Yes.

Hold on for Mr. Shaunessy. Ted.

John. What's happening?

They set the court date. I just heard today it's January 9th.

I gotta tell you something. I got fired today. They laid me off.

Yeah, I'm still here. Ted, I won't lie to you.

We don't have a hope of winning if you're out of work.

Yeah, listen, you tell that...

You tell that party and you tell that party's attorney...

...that I want a delay.

Sorry, it's really too late.

Fine. I'll have a job in 24 hours. How?

I'll have a job in 24 hours.

This is the worst time to look for work.

It's the holidays. We'll have something for you by mid-February.

March, at the latest. I can't wait.

Mr. Kramer, it's December 22.

If you could just look in your card catalogue.

I'll take anything.

There might be something at Norman, Craig and Kummel.

What is it?

Something in the art department.

You'd go back on the board.

It's really a step down, and a cut in salary of 5000.

You'll be happier if you wait.

Call them up, make an appointment for me today at 4:00.

It's the Friday before Christmas.

It's still a workday.

Nobody's gonna want to...

Either you call them or I do.

If I call them up, you don't get a commission. Right?

My, we are a hotshot, aren't we?

Yes, we are.

Good afternoon. I'm Kramer. I have an appointment.

I did all of the copy on that one.

That was the most successful ad campaign they ever had.

I did the idea, the layout and most of the copy on that one.

Mr. Kramer, I must say, this is very impressive.

I'd like to get back to you.

Is there someone I should see before you come to your decision?

Mr. Spencer, our creative director.

Why don't you let me see him now?

He's leaving on vacation. I'll set something up the moment he gets back.

I think... Have a nice holiday.

I'd like to see him before he leaves.

Mr. Kramer, I don't... I want this position very much.

Wait here.

Mr. Kramer, Mr. Spencer.

How do you do? You got 10 minutes.

You do understand that the salary is $4800 less than you were making?

Yes, I understand.

Why are you interested in a position for which you're overqualified?

I need the job.

Let me think. I'll let Jack know and he'll get in touch with you.

This is a one-day offer.

You saw my book, you know I can handle the work.

You're gonna have to let me know today, not at the end of the holidays.

If you want me, make a decision right now.

Could we talk privately for a moment?

Yes, sir.

Mr. Kramer, you got yourself a job. Congratulations.


Is he kidding? Welcome aboard.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks.

Merry Christmas.

Come on.

What do you think? It's neat.

I told you. Where is everybody?

It's Saturday, so very few people come in because it's a day off.

Okay, push " up. "

Push the top button. Very top button.

Go ahead, jump.

Look at that! Neat!

You didn't know you were so high.

What building is that? That has the pointy top.

That's the Chrysler.

You proud of me?

How'd you get this job?

I told them I wanted it. What's that say?

It says " Kramer. "

Kramer. Who's that?

That's us. That's right.

You want to see?


This is neat. You like it?

Careful, careful.

I'm okay. Scare me.

What's that building?

That's the U.N. building. That's the East River.

Look across there. You see that?

That's Queens. Look way, way down there.

Know what that is? What?

Brooklyn. Where you lived when you were a kid?

That's right, and this is where I work.

Is this really your desk?

Are you gonna get remarried?

I hadn't thought about it.

Are you gonna marry Phyllis?

No, we're just good friends.

Are you and Mom ever gonna get remarried?

No, Mommy and me will never be remarried.

I bet if she saw this, she'd remarry you.

You're a con artist. We made a deal.

You take a bath every night...

...and you wash that filthy hair twice a week, right?

Right? Yeah.


Promise, or you're not going.

Did I have to when Mommy was here?

I don't care what you had to do when Mommy...

Did I, Dad? Did I?

Are you listening?

We'll talk about it tonight when I get home, okay?

Come here, give me a kiss.

What? You're a terrific kid.

He says, "There's the unicorn. "

And he goes underneath there, and he says:

" Crumbs, what's happening?

The air supply has stopped.

Thundering typhoons, what are you doing?"

" Resting. It's tiring work, you know. "

What's the air supply?

When you got two tanks on your back and you can't get any air... can drown, so he's gotta have that.

Ted, John Shaunessy.

Hi, what's up?

I got a call from your wife's lawyer. She wants to see the kid.

She wants what? She's the mother.

She's within her legal rights.

How do I know she won't kidnap him? I don't think she'd bother...

...suing if she's gonna kidnap him.

Wait. I'm not so sure about her mental health.

What do you mean? She said she was seeing a shrink.

A psychiatrist.

Did you see her talk to walls?

I'm just saying, you know.

I'm just saying you don't have a choice.

Have Billy at the boat pond in Central Park, Saturday at 10.

Do I have to? Yes.

Thanks very much.

Daddy, will you come on and finish the story?

Okay, I'm coming. I'm coming.

What happens if the guy drowns? How do they find him?

When you die, there's bubbles that come up or something.

Where did I leave off?

You left off right there.

"Thundering typhoons... "

It's got an obstacle course and stuff.

The cars go really fast. How much?

It's really neat.

It's neat.

Come here, I want you to look... Okay, okay.

I'll have him back by 6.

You got so handsome.

Remember, we talked about it, keep your answers short and succinct.

Just tell the truth and it'll be all right. Believe me.

She's here. Yeah, I know. I saw her.

Whatever you do, try not to become emotional, no matter what he says.

You'll hear things that may upset you. I don't want you to react.

Persons having business with the Supreme Court, State of New York...

...special term part five, draw nigh and ye shall be heard.

This court is now in session. Judge Atkins presiding. All rise.

Is the petitioner's attorney ready? I am, Your Honour.

I would like to call Joanna Kramer.

Motherhood, going for the throat.

You swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?

I do.

Now, Mrs. Kramer, would you tell the court how long you were married?

Eight years.

And would you describe those years as happy?

The first two, yes.

But after that it became increasingly difficult.

Mrs. Kramer, did you hold a job before you were married?

Yes, I did. When I first got out of Smith...

...I worked in the art department of Mademoiselle magazine for years.

Did you continue to work after you were married?

No. I did not.

Did you wish to?

Yes, but every time I talked to Ted...

To my ex-husband about it, he wouldn't listen.

He refused to discuss it in any serious way.

He said that I probably couldn't get a job...

...that would pay enough to hire a babysitter.

Tell me, are you employed at the present time?

I'm a sportswear designer here in New York.

And what is your present salary?

I make $31,000 a year.

Mrs. Kramer, do you love your child?

Yes, I do, very much.

And yet you chose to leave him.


During the last five years of our marriage...

...I was becoming more and more unhappy.

More and more troubled.

And I really needed somebody to help me...

...but when I turned to Ted, he just...

...wasn't there for me.

So we became more isolated from one another...

...more and more separate.

He was very involved in his career.

And because of his attitude towards my fears...

...and his inability to deal with my feelings...

...I had come to have almost no self-esteem.

I was scared and I was very unhappy.

In my mind I had no choice but to leave.

At the time I left, I felt that there was something wrong with me...

...and that my son would be better off without me.

And it was only after I got to California that I realized...

...after getting into therapy, that I wasn't a terrible person.

And just because I needed some kind of creative or emotional outlet...

...other than my child, that didn't make me unfit.

I would like to submit in evidence a report by Mrs. Kramer's therapist...

...Dr. Eleanor Freedman.

Objection, Your Honour.

The report is irrelevant and not binding on the respondent.


Can you tell the court why you are asking for custody?

Because he's my child...

...and because I love him.

I know I left my son.

I know that that's a terrible thing to do.

Believe me, I have to live with that every day of my life.

But in order to leave him...

...I had to believe it was the only thing I could do...

...and that it was the best thing for him.

I was incapable of functioning in that home.

And I didn't know...

...what the alternative was... I thought it was not best that I take him with me.

However, I have since gotten some help...

...and I have worked very, very hard to become a whole human being.

I don't think I should be punished for that.

I don't think my little boy should be punished.

Billy's only 7 years old.

He needs me.

I'm not saying he doesn't need his father...

...but I really believe he needs me more.

I was his mommy for five and a half years...

...and Ted took over that role for 18 months.

But I don't know how anybody can possibly believe...

...that I have less of a stake in mothering that little boy...

...than Mr. Kramer does.

I'm his mother.

I'm his mother.

Thank you, Mrs. Kramer.

I have no further questions.

Now then, Mrs. Kramer... say that you were married for eight years, is that correct?

In all that time did your husband ever strike you or physically abuse you?


Did he ever strike or physically abuse his child in any way?

Would you describe your husband as an alcoholic?

A heavy drinker?

Was he unfaithful?

Did he ever fail to provide for you in any way?

I can certainly see why you left him.


How long do you plan to live in New York, Mrs. Kramer?


How many boyfriends have you had, permanently?

Objection on grounds of vagueness.

I'll allow it.

I don't recall.

More than three, less than 33, permanently?

Objection. Overruled.

The witness will answer, please.

Somewhere in between.

Do you have a lover now?

Your Honour, I would request a direct answer to a direct question.

Does she have a lover?

I'll allow that. The witness will answer, please.

Yes, I'm seeing someone now.

Is that... permanent?

I don't know.

We don't know when you say permanently...

...if you plan to live in New York, or keep your child, for that matter...

...since you've never done anything that could be regarded as permanent.

Objection. I request the counsel be prevented from harassing the witness.


I'll put it another way, counsellor.

What was the longest personal relationship in your life...

...outside of parents or girlfriends?

I suppose that would be my child.

Whom you've seen twice in a year.

Mrs. Kramer, your ex-husband...

...wasn't he the longest personal relationship in your life?

Would you speak up? I couldn't hear you.


How long was that?

We were married a year before the baby...

...and seven years after.

So you were a failure at the most important relationship in your life.

Objection. Overruled.

The witness's opinion on this is relevant.

I was not a failure.

What do you call it, a success? The marriage ended in divorce.

I consider it less my failure than his.


You've just rewritten matrimonial law. You were both divorced.


Your Honour, I would like to ask what this model of stability...

...and respectability has ever succeeded at.

Were you a failure at the one most important relationship in your life?

It did not succeed. Not it, Mrs. Kramer, you.

Were you a failure at the one most important relationship in your life?

Were you?!


Is that a yes, Mrs. Kramer?

No further questions.

Did you have to be so rough? Do you want the kid?



Yeah? What did you do when you were little?

The same things you do.

Did you watch The Brady Bunch?

No, we didn't have any television.

You didn't?

We listened to the radio.

What else didn't you have?

We didn't have lots of things.

Like? Like a lot of things.

What kind?

Come here.

We didn't have diet soda.

We had egg creams, which was chocolate syrup...

...seltzer water and a bit of milk and you went...

...and you drank it and it was delicious.

We didn't have the Mets, but we had the Brooklyn Dodgers.

We had the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field...

Boy, those were the days.

We didn't have the Volkswagens...

...but we had all those different cars with funny names on them.

We didn't have Burger King or McDonald's.

We had automats where you put a quarter in and you'd get...

...a piece of pie or a sandwich you could see through a window.

We didn't have graffiti, but we had this guy Kilroy...

Mr. Kramer is a very devoted father.

He spends a great deal of time with Billy.

He reads to Billy a lot.

They play together, they talk all the time.

He's a wonderful father.

Thank you. No further questions.

Mrs. Phelps, how long have you known Joanna Kramer?

About six years, ever since she and Ted moved into the building.

How often did you see Joanna Kramer and her son?

I haven't seen them together now for about a year and a half, but...

...back then I saw them two or three times a week.

My oldest daughter and Billy play together.

Can you describe the relationship between Joanna Kramer and her son?

It was good.

Joanna was a very good mother.

Both Ted and Joanna are very...

Did Mrs. Kramer discuss her relationship with her ex-husband?


Can you tell the court exactly what she said?

Joanna wasn't happy for many reasons...

Did you ever hear her say Mr. Kramer was insensitive to his son's needs?

Would you answer the question?

I didn't hear you. Yes, but that was before...

Did you ever encourage her to leave her husband?

No, I did not.

Several days before she left, did you say to her:

" If you're in this much pain, you owe it to yourself to leave"?

I didn't think Joanna... Did you say to her:

" If you're in this much pain, you owe it to yourself to leave"?

Yes, but she was my friend... No further questions.

Mrs. Phelps, you may step down.

Joanna, things are not the same now.

Ted is not the same man.

You don't know how hard he's tried... Mrs. Phelps!

They're beautiful together.

The witness is asked to step down.

If you could see them together...

...maybe you wouldn't be here now.

Mrs. Phelps, that will be all!

I'm sorry.

When you were talking...

When my ex-wife was talking about how unhappy she was during our marriage...

...most of what she said was probably true.

There's a lot I didn't understand.

There's a lot I'd do different if I could...

...just like there's a lot you wish you could change but can't.

Some things, once they're done, can't be undone.

My wife...

My ex-wife says she loves Billy and I believe she does.

But I don't think that's the issue here.

If I understand it correctly...

...what means the most here is what's best for our son.

What's best for Billy.

My wife used to say to me:

"Why can't a woman have the same ambitions as a man?"

I think you're right.

And maybe I've learned that much.

By the same token, I'd like to know...

...what law says a woman is a better parent simply by virtue of her sex?

I've had time to think about what makes a good parent.

It has to do with constancy. It has to do with patience...

...listening to him...

...or pretending to listen when you can't anymore.

It has to do with love, like she was saying.

I don't know where it says a woman has a corner on that market...

...that a man has any less of those emotions than a woman.

Billy has a home with me. I've made it the best I could.

It's not perfect. I'm not a perfect parent.

Sometimes I don't have enough patience and I forget that he's a little kid.

But I'm there.

We eat breakfast and he talks to me, and then we go to school.

At night we have dinner together and we talk and I read to him and...

And we built a life together and we love each other.

If you destroy that... may be irreparable.

Joanna, don't do that, please.

Don't do it twice to him. Thank you, Mr. Kramer.

No further questions.

How long have you worked in advertising?

Ever since I graduated high school.

College, I mean. I've been there about 15 years.

Would you say you've achieved a certain status in your profession?

Yes, I have a good reputation.

When you worked at Roth, Kane and Donovan, what was your salary?

Around $33,000 dollars a year when I left.

Now you work at Norman, Craig and Kummel?

Yes. What is your salary?

It's almost 29,000.

Could you be more specific?

I make $28,200.


You're the only person who's working his way down the ladder of success.

Objection. Your Honour, I ask that counsel's last remark be stricken.


Is it true you were fired from your previous job?

I was let go. Will you tell us why you were let go?

There was a difference of opinion in policy.

Is it true your agency lost a major account due to your negligence?


I'm trying to establish the witness's employment record.

He cannot hold a job.

I'll allow it, Mr. Shaunessy.

It's not unusual in advertising for a client... change his mind and go elsewhere...

Was it true you walked out on a client during a major presentation...

...saying that you had an appointment with a teacher?

My son was sitting next to a kid who was hitting and biting.

Yes or no? Yes, but he bit my kid.

Last spring, did you miss a deadline on the Mid-Atlantic account...

...causing your company a great deal of embarrassment...

...and considerable financial liability?

On that day I had to go home because my child was sick.

Did you or did you not miss a deadline?

My son was sick. Answer the question.

I'm trying to answer the question. It's not yes or no.

Yes or no? He had a 104 temperature!

He's lying there sweating! I go home to him!

Mr. Kramer, I urge you to stop or I'll have to hold you in contempt.

I missed the deadline.

Do you have a violent temper? No.

Objection. I withdraw the question.

Do you consider yourself a fit parent? Yes, I do.

Is it true your child nearly lost an eye while in your care?

Objection. Overruled.

Answer the question.

He was in the playground, on the jungle gym...

And fell and nearly lost an eye while in your care.

He fell and cut himself.

Is it true you told your ex-wife... were responsible for the injury that disfigured your child?

Did you tell her:

"When it happened I felt guilty. I felt it was my fault"?

Objection! I have concluded my questions.



I'm sorry. I mentioned the accident to him two months ago...

...and I never thought he would bring it up, never.

Believe me.

I never would have mentioned it if I thought he'd pull a thing like that.

I'm sorry.



Hi. Hi. Here, let me help you.

Heard anything yet?

Any day. My lawyer says no news is good news.

Guess what. What?

Charley and I are talking about getting back together.

Really? Did he finally call you?

No, I called him.

How come?

I don't know. I got to thinking about a lot of things since the trial.


I don't think it'll work out, but he seems to want it.

That's terrific. How do you feel?

I don't know. I feel scared, I guess.

Hi. Hi.

I lost.

I can't tell you how sorry I am.

What happened?

The judge went for motherhood right down the line.

"Ordered and decreed that the petitioner be awarded custody...

...effective Monday, the 23rd of January...

...that the respondent pay for the support of the child, $400 a month.

The father shall have the following visitation rights:

Every other weekend, one night a week to be mutually agreed upon...

...and one half of the child's vacation period. "

That's it. What if I fight it?

I can't guarantee anything.

I'll take my chances.

It'll cost you. I'll pay anything.

Look, Ted, I have to tell you something.

This time it'll be Billy that pays.

I'll have to put him on the stand.

I can't do that.

No, I don't want to do that.

Thanks very much for your time. I'm gonna take a walk.

Ted? It's me.


I just heard.

Please go away.

Are you okay?

I just have to be by myself for a while, Margaret.

I don't understand.

The problem is your mom and I both want you to live with us.

So that's why we decided to go see this man, who is the judge...

...and we let him decide because he's very wise and experienced.

We talked to him for a few days and then asked what he thought.

You know what? He agreed with Mommy.

He thought it'd be terrific if you lived with her from now on.

I'm lucky because I get to have dinner with you once a week.

And twice a month we spend the weekends together.

Where's my bed gonna be? Where am I gonna sleep?

Mommy's figured that all out. You have your own bedroom at her place.

Where will all my toys be? At Mommy's.

We're gonna take all your toys over there.

If you play your cards right, she'll buy you some new ones.

Who's gonna read me my bedtime stories?

Mommy will.

You're not gonna kiss me good night anymore?

No, I won't be able to do that.

But, you know, I get to visit.

It's gonna be okay. Really.

If I don't like it, can I come home?

What do you mean?

You'll have a great time with Mommy.

Really. She loves you so much.


Don't forget, once, if you can just call me up, okay?

We're gonna be okay.

Let's go get some ice cream.

Come on, let's get this show on the road.

Let's get a little hustle now, okay?

Come on, set the table.

Come on.

Are you ready?


It's Joanna. I'm downstairs in the lobby.

Can you come down here and meet me alone?


What's up?

Tell me. What? What's the matter?

I woke up this morning.

Kept thinking about Billy...

...and I was thinking about him waking up in his room...

...with his little clouds all around that I painted...

...and I thought I should have painted clouds downtown because...

...then he would think that he was waking up at home.

I came here to take my son home.

And I realized he already is home.

I love him very much.

I'm not gonna take him with me.

Can I go up and talk to him?


Why don't you go upstairs and see him and I'll wait here.

How do I look?