Julia (1977 film)

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Julia (1977 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster by Richard Amsel
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Produced by Richard Roth
Screenplay by Alvin Sargent
Based on story by
Lillian Hellman
Starring Jane Fonda
Vanessa Redgrave
Jason Robards
Hal Holbrook
Rosemary Murphy
Maximilian Schell
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Walter Murch
Marcel Durham
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 2, 1977 (1977-10-02)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7.84 million[1]
Box office $20,714,400[2]

Julia is a 1977 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann, from a screenplay by Alvin Sargent. It is based on Lillian Hellman's book Pentimento, a chapter of which purports to tell the story of her relationship with an alleged lifelong friend, "Julia," who fought against the Nazis in the years prior to World War II. The film was produced by Richard Roth, with Julien Derode as executive producer and Tom Pevsner as associate producer.

Julia was received positively from the critics and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Fred Zinnemann and Best Actress for Jane Fonda. It ended up winning three awards, Best Supporting Actor for Jason Robards, Best Supporting Actress for Vanessa Redgrave, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Alvin Sargent's script. Julia was the first film to win both supporting actor categories since The Last Picture Show six years earlier in 1971, and would be followed by Hannah and Her Sisters nine years later in 1986.


The young Lillian and the young Julia, daughter of a wealthy family being brought up by her grandparents in the U.S., enjoy a childhood together and an extremely close relationship in late adolescence. Later, while medical student/physician Julia (Vanessa Redgrave) attends Oxford and the University of Vienna and studies with such luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Lillian (Jane Fonda), a struggling writer, suffers through revisions of her play with her mentor and sometime lover, famed author Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards) at a beachhouse.

After becoming a celebrated playwright, Lillian is invited to a writers' conference in Russia. Julia, having taken on the battle against Nazism, enlists Lillian en route to smuggle money through Nazi Germany which will assist in the anti-Nazi cause. It is a dangerous mission, especially for a Jewish intellectual on her way to Russia.

During a brief meeting with Julia on this trip, Lillian learns that her friend has a child named Lily, living with a baker in Alsace. Shortly after her return to the United States, Lillian is informed of Julia's murder. The details of her death are shrouded in secrecy. Lillian unsuccessfully looks for Julia's daughter in Alsace and also discovers that Julia's family wants nothing to do with the child, if she exists. They even pretend not to remember Lillian, clearly wanting to excise the embarrassment of Julia from their lives.



The film was shot on location in England and France. Although Lillian Hellman claimed the story was based on true events that occurred early in her life, the filmmakers later came to believe that most of it was fictionalized. Director Fred Zinnemann would later comment, "Lillian Hellman in her own mind owned half the Spanish Civil War, while Hemingway owned the other half. She would portray herself in situations that were not true. An extremely talented, brilliant writer, but she was a phony character, I'm sorry to say. My relations with her were very guarded and ended in pure hatred."[3]

Julia features the first film performances of Meryl Streep and Lisa Pelikan.


The film earned $13,050,000 in North American rentals.[4]


Academy Awards:

Academy Award nominations:

After Redgrave was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, the Jewish Defense League objected to her nomination because she had narrated and helped fund a documentary entitled "The Palestinian," which supported a Palestinian state. They also picketed the Oscar ceremony.

Accepting her Academy Award, Redgrave said:

It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258
  2. ^ "Julia (1977) (1977)". Box Office Mojo. 1977-10-02. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  3. ^ ''Fred Zinnemann: interviews'', University Press of Mississippi (2005) p156. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  4. ^ Solomon p 234
  5. ^ Marcel Durham is listed as an editor for the film in some credit listings for Julia, including the credits database of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). However, he is not listed as a nominee for the Academy Award in the AMPAS awards database; see "Academy Awards Database - 50th (1977)". Retrieved 2014-02-19. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Last Picture Show
Academy Award winner for
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Succeeded by
Hannah and Her Sisters