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Accident (1967 film)

Directed by Joseph Losey
Produced by Joseph Losey
Norman Priggen
Written by Harold Pinter (screenplay)
based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley
Starring Dirk Bogarde
Stanley Baker
Jacqueline Sassard
Music by John Dankworth
Cinematography Gerry Fisher
Edited by Reginald Beck
Distributed by London Independent Producers
Release dates
February 1967
Running time
105 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £299,970[1]

Accident is Harold Pinter's 1967 British dramatic film adaptation of the 1965 novel by Nicholas Mosley. Directed by Joseph Losey, it is the second of three collaborations between Pinter and Losey, the others being The Servant (1963) and The Go-Between (1970).[2] At the 1967 Cannes Film Festival it won the award for Grand Prix Spécial du Jury.[3] It also won the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • Notes 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


The story centers on a married Oxford professor, Stephen, who is experiencing a mid-life crisis. The world changes for him when he meets Anna, a beautiful young student, who is engaged to another of his students, William. Following a car accident outside Stephen's home in which William is killed and Anna is severely disoriented, she is obliged to remain with Stephen although his wife is out of town. The events preceding the accident are told in flashbacks. While Stephen believes that he is orchestrating a tryst with Anna that will leave both his wife and William in the dark, he soon discovers that Anna is playing a game of her own.

The crowning metaphor of the film comes at a point in one of the flashbacks when we see a dazed but unhurt Anna crushing her dying fiancé beneath her high-heeled shoe as she steps on his face while trying desperately to climb out of the overturned car.

The screenplay showcased playwright Harold Pinter's trademark style, depicting the menace and angst bubbling just beneath the surface of commonplace remarks and seemingly innocent or banal situations.



The film confused many viewers who were not sure what it meant. "It's obvious what Accident meant," said Stanley Baker, who acted a lead role in the film. "It meant what was shown on the screen." Baker did concede of Joseph Losey's filmmaking that, "One of Joe's problems is that he tends to wrap things up too much for himself. I think that 75% of the audience didn't realise that Accident was a flashback."[5] In his review upon the film's release, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther was unimpressed, calling the film "a sad little story of a wistful don" that was "neither strong drama nor stinging satire".[6] More recently, the film has been called a "masterpiece" by Boston Globe critic Peter Keogh.[7]


  1. ^ Edith de Rham, Joseph Losey, Andre Deutsch 1991 p 180
  2. ^ Nick James (2007-06-27). "Joseph Losey & Harold Pinter: In Search of PoshLust Times".  
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Accident". Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Mary Blume, 'Stanley Baker Likes to Act', Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 14 Aug 1971: a8.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (18 April 1967). Accident' Opens:Cinema II Has a Movie With Pinter Script"'". The New York Times. 
  7. ^  

Further reading

  • Billington, Michael (2007) Harold Pinter. London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-23476-9 (13)
  • Billington, Michael (1996) The Life and Work of Harold Pinter. London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-17103-6 (10)
  • Gale, Steven H. (2003) Sharp Cut: Harold Pinter's Screenplays and the Artistic Process, Lexington, KY: The UP of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2244-9 (10) ISBN 978-0-8131-2244-1 (13)
  • Gale, Steven H. (2001) The Films of Harold Pinter. Albany: SUNY P ISBN 0-7914-4932-7 ISBN 978-0-7914-4932-5

External links

  • Accident at the Internet Movie Database.
  • "Films by Harold Pinter: Accident 1966" – At The Official Website of the International Playwright Harold Pinter.
  • "Harold Pinter & Joseph Losey", by Jamie Andrews, Harold Pinter Archive Blog, British Library, 15 June 2009.
  • Accident at BFI Screenonline
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