Ordinary People

Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama film directed by Robert Redford in his feature directorial debut. The screenplay by Alvin Sargent is based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Judith Guest. The film follows the disintegration of a wealthy family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the accidental death of one of their two sons and the attempted suicide of the other. It stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton.


The Jarretts are an upper-middle-class family in Lake Forest, a wealthy suburb north of Chicago. They are trying to return to normal life after experiencing the accidental death of their older teenage son, Buck, and the attempted suicide of their younger and surviving son, Conrad. Conrad has recently returned home after spending four months in a psychiatric hospital. He feels alienated from his friends and family and seeks help from a psychiatrist, Dr. Tyrone Berger, who discovers that Conrad was involved in the sailing accident that caused Buck's death. Conrad is now dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and is seeking help to cope with his emotions.