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Accident (1967 film)

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Directed byJoseph Losey
Screenplay byHarold Pinter
Based onAccident
1965 novel
by Nicholas Mosley
Produced byJoseph Losey
Norman Priggen
StarringDirk Bogarde
Stanley Baker
Jacqueline Sassard
CinematographyGerry Fisher
Edited byReginald Beck
Music byJohn Dankworth
Distributed byLondon Independent Producers
Release date
  • February 1967 (1967-02)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£299,970.00[1] or £272,811[2][3]
Box office£40,010 (UK gross)[2]
£95,153 (world gross)[2]

Accident is a 1967 British drama film directed by Joseph Losey. Written by Harold Pinter, it is an adaptation of the 1965 novel Accident by Nicholas Mosley. It is the third of four Losey–Pinter collaborations; the others being The Servant (1963), Modesty Blaise (1966) and The Go-Between (1971).[4] At the 1967 Cannes Film Festival, Accident won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury award.[5] It also won the Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.


Stephen, a married Oxford tutor in his forties, has two students: the rich and likeable William, of whom he is fond, and a beautiful, enigmatic Austrian named Anna, whom he secretly covets. William also fancies Anna and hopes to know her better. While his wife is away having their third child, Stephen looks up an old flame in London and they sleep together. Returning home, he finds that his pushy colleague Charley has been using the house for sex with Anna. She tells Stephen privately that she and William are engaged to be married.

William says that he will come to Stephen's house after a party that night. As he is too drunk to drive, Anna takes the wheel, but she crashes the car outside Stephen's gate. Upon finding the accident and William dead, Stephen pulls the deeply shaken Anna from the wreckage and hides her upstairs while he calls the police. Later, he forces himself on her while she is still in shock, then takes her back to her room at the university. He comes by in the morning to find a bemused Charley, who cannot prevent Anna from packing to return to Austria.



Responding to criticism that the film's meaning was difficult to discern, Stanley Baker said: "It's obvious what Accident meant ... It meant what was shown on the screen." Of Joseph Losey's direction, Baker said: "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."[7]

In his review upon the film's release, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called Accident "a sad little story of a wistful don ... neither strong drama nor stinging satire."[8]

The film performed poorly at the box office. In 1973, Losey said the film was "officially in bankruptcy."[9]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Accident holds a rating of 76% from 29 reviews.[10]



  1. ^ Edith de Rham, Joseph Losey, André Deutsch, 1991, p. 180.
  2. ^ a b c Caute, David (1994). Joseph Losey. Oxford University Press. p. 204.
  3. ^ Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press, p. 360, gives the figure as £281,555.
  4. ^ Nick James (27 June 2007). "Joseph Losey & Harold Pinter: In Search of PoshLust Times". BFI. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. From Venetian decadence and British class war to Proustian time games, the films of Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter gave us a new, ambitious, high-culture kind of art film, says Nick James.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Accident". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  6. ^ Carole Caplin interview: "I'm a survivor", The Observer, 13 May 2012.
  7. ^ Mary Blume (14 August 1971). "Stanley Baker Likes to Act". Los Angeles Times. p. a8.
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley (18 April 1967). "'Accident' Opens:Cinema II Has a Movie With Pinter Script". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Barker, Dennis (1 August 1973). "Losey on 'broken promises'". The Guardian. p. 6.
  10. ^ "Accident (1967)". Rotten Tomatoes.

Further reading

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