Beyond the Sea (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  29 December 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 12,428 users   Metascore: 46/100
Reviews: 246 user | 113 critic | 35 from

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Ullrich ...
Gary Whelan ...
1st Assistant Director


Consummate entertainer Bobby Darin (1936-1973) is making a movie about his life. He's volatile, driven by the love of performing, ambition, perfectionism, and belief that he's living on borrowed time. He begins in the Bronx: a fatherless lad learning music and dance from his mom. His career starts slowly, then "Splish Splash" puts him at the top of the charts and on "Bandstand." He wants to be an entertainer, not a pop star, so he aims for the Copacabana; then it's on to the movies, where he meets and marries Sandra Dee. After, it's balancing career, health, marriage and family life, balances he doesn't always keep. Throughout, conversations with his boyhood self give him perspective. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


BOBBY DARIN . . . in the era of cool he was the soundtrack. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

29 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bobby Darin Biopic  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£179,558 (UK) (26 November 2004)


$29,869 (New Zealand) (17 November 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kevin Spacey does his own singing. See more »


When Bobby starts whaling on the driver's window of his car, the head of the golf club come completely off with the third stroke; however when he moves around to the front and begins hitting the hood, the iron is whole again. See more »


Steve Blauner: Listen you prick, there are four guys around here who can't be fired. And you're not one of them.
David Gershenson: He may be an asshole...
Steve BlaunerDavid GershensonDick Behrke: But he's our asshole!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits we see Kevin Spacey performing another song. In the background there are lines moving to the music. See more »


References Gidget (1959) See more »


Rock Island Line
Written by Lonnie Donegan
Published by Hollis Music, Inc.
Performed by Kevin Spacey & The John Wilson Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Beyond the Ordinary
1 January 2005 | by (L A.) – See all my reviews

I've been a fan of Walden Robert Cassotto's for a long, long time, and I've been following the progress (or non-progress) of the bio-pic based on his life for an equally long time (couldn't have been any more pleased when I learned that Kevin Spacey was going to be the one to finally bring the project to the proverbial light of day). I'm mentioning this because I realize it's impossible for me to be completely objective about the movie, feeling about its subject as strongly as I do; I think that anyone who loved Bobby Darin cannot be thoroughly objective regarding Spacey's film.

That having been said, I can tell you that I was profoundly affected by Beyond The Sea. Spacey lives up to his surname in spades with this project, by tossing out all the 'normal' bio-pic story-telling tools, instead resorting to a spaced-out show biz fantasy-type structure which does work because Bobby himself did use his career as an antidote against the reality of his ever-failing health and inevitable early death - his overwhelming drive and beyond-intense focus stemmed from the fact that he knew he had only so much time to do anything with his life; this is what made him so great on stage, and this immediacy and strength of purpose is conveyed brilliantly in the movie not through the usual talking and explaining sequences but rather through Darin's actions. So the liberties that Spacey takes with Bobby's life pay off - the song-and-dance numbers and the plot devices (the best one being Darin's younger self having a simultaneous part in the proceedings with the older Darin).

So much has been written about Spacey being too old to play Bobby, how Spacey shouldn't have actually sung the songs himself, how this is a vanity project on Spacey's part, blah blah blah. All untrue.

The clever way in which he stages the film acknowledges the fact that he knows he's chronologically older than the perfect age to play this part, and he sings the songs himself because he CAN - his voice is more than serviceable; in fact when I saw the trailer for the first time a few months back and heard him singing Mack The Knife I was in the theatre telling the person I'd come with "That's Bobby, that can't possibly be Kevin Spacey" - this from a person who has listened to Darin's recording of that song literally hundreds and hundreds of times.

The thing that is most interesting about the negative criticism is the one about this being a vanity project for Spacey; his desire and enthusiasm to share his feeling for Darin via this project is being interpreted as an ego trip, when in reality it's an unabashed and pure labor of love. The film is being misunderstood by a lot of people, and I see this as being unbelievably ironic and, ultimately, proof that the film works because Darin himself was constantly misunderstood, constantly having his hell-bent-for-leather, no-time-to-waste desperation perceived as arrogance. So Spacey succeeded on that level alone.

It also doesn't hurt that from the back, he manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to Bobby, he captures the physicality perfectly, and in all the shots that are not too close up, you'd swear it was Bobby that you were seeing and not Spacey. It's only in the close-ups that I was reminded it wasn't actually Bobby on the screen, and in the later scenes, when he becomes politically aware, grows the mustache and bills himself as Bob Darin, Spacey looks like him even in the close-ups.

By the end of the film, I found myself feeling profoundly moved by what I was experiencing, even though, oddly enough, I didn't feel up to that point that the film was particularly profound, and so my reaction was very surprising to me. There's a scene where -=- POSSIBLE SPOILER -=- Darin is in his hospital bed right before he dies and Sandra Dee (who was no longer with him at that time but still loved him) is in the bed cuddled up beside him - that image was, to me, by far the single most powerful one in the movie, and it has stayed with me, long after the movie's final credits. -=-END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER

I want to include this: the person I saw the film with hadn't been a fan of Bobby's the way I had for years, and I asked her after we'd left the theatre if she'd felt moved by what she'd experienced - I was trying to get a more objective idea how the movie would play to someone who wasn't so emotionally connected to the material. She said that after seeing it, she wanted to know more about Bobby, how she'd had no idea what he'd gone through in his life and how she felt tremendous compassion and respect for him.

Spacey has said that his motivation in doing the movie was to remind people who hardly remembered him what a monumental talent Bobby Darin was, and to hopefully introduce a new generation to the man. I think he's succeeded on that level too, at least with people who go to see this movie with an open mind and a receptive heart.

171 of 220 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What's with Spacey? He's WAY WAY TOO old jasebotchford
this movie blows pretentiousbore
could kevin have been more fit for the part!? n1ckwo1f
Kevin was the perfect actor for Bobby Darin!! auralite1946
Really, really wanted to like this movie wildgarlickydays
Spacey should have played Billy Flynn in Chicago mase-6
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