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The Four Seasons (1981)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 22 May 1981 (USA)
Three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Along the way we are treated to mid-life, marital, parental and other crises.


Alan Alda


Alan Alda
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Alan Alda ... Jack Burroughs
Carol Burnett ... Kate Burroughs
Len Cariou ... Nick Callan
Sandy Dennis ... Anne Callan
Rita Moreno ... Claudia Zimmer
Jack Weston ... Danny Zimmer
Bess Armstrong ... Ginny Newley (Callan)
Elizabeth Alda ... Beth Burroughs
Beatrice Alda Beatrice Alda ... Lisa Callan
Robert Hitt Robert Hitt ... Room Clerk
Kristi McCarthy Kristi McCarthy ... Waitress
David Stackpole David Stackpole ... Doctor


Three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Along the way we are treated to mid-life, marital, parental and other crises. Written by Robert Nolty <nolty_r@caltech.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Here's to our friends... and the strength to put up with them.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

22 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vier Jahreszeiten See more »

Filming Locations:

Vermont, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,365,643, 25 May 1981

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Debut theatrical feature film directed by actor-writer Alan Alda. See more »


The boat scene when it hits the sandbar a crewman is visible. See more »


Danny: [talking about Ginny] I think you should apologize to her.
Claudia Zimmer: For what? I got excited, I spoke my mind, I said I was sorry and it's over and done with.
Danny: Well, I don't understand how you can hurt someone as guileless and vulnerable as Ginny.
Claudia Zimmer: She sure took on a lot of mystical qualities once you saw her swimming naked.
Danny: How can you say that?
Claudia Zimmer: I just say what I think.
Danny: Well, maybe that's the problem! Why do you always say what you think? I mean, do you think your thoughts should just fall down from your ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 10 minutes from this film for its 1984 network television premiere. See more »

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User Reviews

Ingratiating Comedy Focuses on a Circle of Vacationing Married Friends
11 August 2006 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

Twenty-five years since its initial release, this 1981 comedy from Alan Alda, its director, writer and nominal star, still holds up pretty well. In fact, I just saw Norman Jewison's 2001 film, "Dinner with Friends", which feels like a partial remake in following the friendships that evolve among married couples hovering around middle age. Using Vivaldi's familiar string concertos as a transitional device, Alda's film concerns itself with three upscale couples who take vacations together every season, consequently we get four vignettes over the course of a year. It's a contrived plot machination with no sense of climax, but it all seems to fit the contours of the story.

Jack is a lawyer who would like nothing more than have group therapy sessions with his friends, while his wife Kate, a magazine editor, is a no-nonsense woman who sometimes gets frustrated with Jack's constant emotional insulation. Danny is a neurotic, penny-pinching dentist married to Claudia, an artist with the hot temper of her Italian roots. Nick is a philandering insurance agent who wants to divorce his wife Anne, a housewife frozen by her self-doubts. It is the dissolution of this last marriage that provides the impetus for the group to examine the state of their relationships with their spouses and friends. The group starts out with a spring fishing trip when Nick confides to Jack about his need for a divorce, followed by a Caribbean summer boat trip when Nick brings his new nubile girlfriend Ginny, a wide-eyed stewardess. The fall has them visiting their kids in college, and a soccer match proves to be a test of wills among the men to prove their virility to Ginny much to the chagrin of the wives. The last piece takes them to a wintry cabin where true feelings are exposed, especially as Ginny exposes the women for their vindictive exclusionary tactics.

The acting is solid. Alda seems to be doing a send-up of his own sensitive male persona as Jack, and a wisely cast Carol Burnett is actually pretty subtle as Kate. These two were such huge TV icons in the 1970's that the impact of their goodwill is almost instant. As the most comic pair, Rita Moreno and Jack Weston provide most of the laughs as they banter and bicker like Fred and Ethel Mertz redux. Broadway actor Len Cariou manages the insolence and liberation of a husband set free, while Sandy Dennis brings a palpable dimension of sadness to the socially ejected Anne. Bess Armstrong plays Ginny with an apt sunniness masking a burning need for acceptance. The story leads to little beyond a funny sight gag and an implication that Ginny will become more integral to the group, but the dialogue is often shrewdly observant and sometimes cannily witty. Alda doesn't quite have Woody Allen's sharp acumen in producing genuine laughs out of the human condition, but the film generates a good time while it lasts. The 2005 DVD has no extras.

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