Charo Augustin

Written by Charo Augustin

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


The Swimmer is an iconic 1968 American drama film based on a 1964 short story by John Cheever. Directed by Frank Perry and starring Burt Lancaster, the film tells the intriguing story of Ned Merrill, a middle-aged man who embarks on a journey to swim his way home through a series of backyard swimming pools in his affluent neighborhood.

With its unique premise and captivating storyline, The Swimmer has become a cult classic, known for its mysterious and symbolic nature. The film explores themes of identity, disillusionment, and the pursuit of the American dream, making it a thought-provoking and immersive cinematic experience.

In this article, we will delve into 32 fascinating facts about The Swimmer, from behind-the-scenes trivia to the film’s impact on popular culture. So grab your goggles and dive into the world of The Swimmer!

Key Takeaways:

  • The Swimmer, released in 1968, explores disillusionment and the American Dream through captivating storytelling and impressive cinematography, leaving audiences pondering its ambiguous ending.
  • Despite initial mixed reviews, The Swimmer has gained a cult following, inspiring filmmakers and remaining relevant with its thought-provoking commentary on modern society.
Table of Contents

The Swimmer was released in 1968.

The year 1968 marked the release of the impactful film, The Swimmer.

The movie is based on a short story by John Cheever.

The Swimmer is an adaptation of a short story written by the renowned author, John Cheever.

The film stars Burt Lancaster in the lead role.

Burt Lancaster delivers a captivating performance as the protagonist in The Swimmer.

The Swimmer was directed by Frank Perry.

Frank Perry skillfully directed the movie, bringing Cheever’s story to life on the big screen.

The film explores themes of disillusionment and the American Dream.

The Swimmer delves into the themes of disillusionment and the pursuit of the American Dream, presenting thought-provoking commentary.

The movie features a unique narrative structure.

The Swimmer adopts a compelling narrative structure that keeps viewers engaged and intrigued throughout.

The swimming pools in the film serve as a metaphor for the main character’s journey.

The numerous swimming pools encountered by the protagonist symbolize his personal journey of self-discovery and transformation.

The Swimmer received critical acclaim for its innovative storytelling.

The film was highly praised by critics for its innovative storytelling techniques and thematic depth.

The Swimmer was not a commercial success at the time of its release.

Despite receiving critical acclaim, The Swimmer did not achieve significant commercial success upon its initial release.

The film has gained a cult following over the years.

Although initially overlooked, The Swimmer has garnered a dedicated following of fans who appreciate its artistic merits.

The movie soundtrack features an original score by Marvin Hamlisch.

The Swimmer’s soundtrack boasts an exceptional original score composed by the talented Marvin Hamlisch.

The Swimmer was nominated for two Academy Awards.

The film received recognition from the Academy Awards with nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Film Editing.

The story takes place in a suburban neighborhood.

The Swimmer’s narrative unfolds in a picturesque suburban neighborhood, adding to the contrast between appearance and reality.

The Swimmer challenges societal norms and expectations.

The movie questions societal norms and expectations, exploring the consequences of conformity and the pursuit of social status.

The Swimmer serves as a character study of its protagonist.

The film delves deep into the psyche of the main character, offering a profound character study that resonates with audiences.

The Swimmer’s screenplay was written by Eleanor Perry.

Eleanor Perry penned the screenplay for The Swimmer, ensuring a faithful adaptation of Cheever’s original story.

The film addresses themes of memory and nostalgia.

The Swimmer explores the power of memory and the bittersweet nostalgia of the past, creating a reflective atmosphere.

The Swimmer boasts impressive cinematography.

The film’s cinematography is visually stunning, capturing the beauty and juxtapositions of the suburban landscape.

The Swimmer was not initially screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Although The Swimmer received critical acclaim, it was not initially selected to be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

The movie addresses the human connection and isolation.

The Swimmer touches upon the themes of human connection and the feeling of isolation that can exist even in the most seemingly idyllic settings.

The Swimmer offers social commentary on class divisions.

The film highlights the class divisions within society, shedding light on the disparity that exists beneath the surface.

The Swimmer showcases the evolution of the main character’s mindset.

The protagonist’s mindset undergoes a gradual transformation throughout the film, lending depth and complexity to the narrative.

The Swimmer’s runtime is approximately 95 minutes.

The film’s runtime of around 95 minutes allows for a concise yet impactful storytelling experience.

The Swimmer received mixed reviews upon its release.

Critical reception of The Swimmer was varied, with some praising its artistic merits while others found it perplexing.

The film’s ambiguous ending leaves audiences contemplating its meaning.

The Swimmer’s ambiguous ending invites interpretation, leaving viewers pondering the true nature of the protagonist’s journey.

The Swimmer explores the dark underbelly of suburban life.

The movie exposes the dark underbelly hidden beneath the seemingly perfect facade of suburban life.

The Swimmer offers a unique and thought-provoking viewing experience.

The film presents a distinct cinematic experience that challenges viewers’ perceptions and provokes introspection.

The Swimmer showcases the talent of its ensemble cast.

In addition to Burt Lancaster’s standout performance, the film’s ensemble cast delivers exceptional acting throughout.

The Swimmer has been analyzed and studied by film scholars.

The depth and complexity of The Swimmer have made it a subject of analysis and study in the realm of film scholarship.

The Swimmer has inspired other filmmakers.

The unique storytelling and thematic exploration of The Swimmer have influenced and inspired subsequent filmmakers in their own works.

The Swimmer remains a relevant commentary on modern society.

Decades after its release, The Swimmer’s themes and commentary on modern society continue to resonate with contemporary audiences.

The Swimmer has found new appreciation in recent years.

The Swimmer’s artistic merits and poignant storytelling have gained renewed recognition and appreciation in recent years.


The Swimmer is a captivating film that takes viewers on an emotional and thought-provoking journey. With its unique storytelling style and powerful performances, it has become a cult classic in the world of cinema. The film’s themes of identity, loss, and the illusion of the American Dream resonate deeply with audiences, leaving a lasting impact long after the credits roll. Whether you’re a fan of psychological dramas or simply appreciate exceptional filmmaking, The Swimmer is a must-watch that will keep you engaged from start to finish. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and prepare to be swept away by the mesmerizing world of The Swimmer.


Q: Who directed The Swimmer?

A: The Swimmer was directed by Frank Perry, a renowned American filmmaker known for his work in the 1960s and 70s.

Q: When was The Swimmer released?

A: The Swimmer was released on May 15, 1968.

Q: Is The Swimmer based on a true story?

A: No, The Swimmer is not based on a true story. It is an adaptation of a 1964 short story by John Cheever.

Q: Who stars in The Swimmer?

A: The Swimmer stars Burt Lancaster in the lead role, along with Janice Rule and Janet Landgard.

Q: What is the running time of The Swimmer?

A: The running time of The Swimmer is approximately 95 minutes.

Q: What genre does The Swimmer belong to?

A: The Swimmer is classified as a psychological drama.

Q: Does The Swimmer have any awards or nominations?

A: While The Swimmer did not receive any major awards, it was well-received by critics and has gained a dedicated fan base over the years.

Q: Can you briefly explain the premise of The Swimmer?

A: The Swimmer follows the journey of a man named Ned Merrill, who decides to swim through his affluent suburban neighbors’ pools to reach his own home. Along the way, he encounters various acquaintances and confronts the truth about his life.

Q: Where was The Swimmer filmed?

A: The Swimmer was primarily filmed in various locations in Westport, Connecticut.

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