"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"KRAMER VS. KRAMER"

by

Robert Benton



FADE IN:

INT. OFFICE – ADVERTISING AGENCY – MIDTOWN – EVENING

WIDE SHOT

A large and very comfortable office over-looking St. Patrick's
Cathedral. At the moment the office is filled to bursting
with men and women, slumped in chairs, sitting on desks, all
of them very tense. Among the crowd of people we note: MURRAY
FISHER, a young and very ambitious junior executive and
PHYLLIS BERNARD, an attractive woman in her early thirties.
She is a lawyer with the agency.

At the moment, TED KRAMER, nice-looking without being what
you would call a matinee idol, paces back and forth. His tie
is loosened, he checks his watch every fifteen seconds.
Clearly he is very distraught.

TED
(predicting the worst)
They're not gonna call... I tell you
they're not gonna call. I blew it. I
don't know what I did wrong, but I –

REVERSE ON JIM O'CONNOR

Ted's boss and good friend. He is in his middle fifties,
nattily dressed with the slightly bleary look of a heavy
drinker. He sits back in his chair with his feet propped on
the desk and a drink in one hand.

O'CONNOR
(not unfriendly)
Ted, will you take it easy? Revlon's
not about to drop an account that
represents more than two million in
gross billing receipts in a small
agency like this, without making us
sweat. Now just relax, okay?
Everything's gonna be fine.

TED
(at this stage, nothing
will help)
I don't think so, Jim. Maybe I
shouldn't have –

Sound-effect: The phone rings. Everyone freezes. As O'Connor
reaches for the phone,

CUT TO:

INT. CHILD'S ROOM, KRAMER APT. – EVENING

The room is dark, the only light coming from a small night
light.

We SEE a beautiful five year old boy (BILLY KRAMER). He lies
in bed, half asleep. HOLD FOR A BEAT as a beautiful woman
(JOANNA KRAMER) leans over, kisses the child and hugs him
tightly to her.

JOANNA
(intense)
I love you, Billy...

BILLY
(drowsy)
I love you too, mommy... Good-night...

ON JOANNA

She gets up from the bed and starts toward the door of the
child's room.

JOANNA
Sleep tight...

BILLY
Don't let the bedbugs bite...

Joanna stops in the doorway, silhouetted against the light.
She turns, takes a last look at her son, then steps outside.

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY – EVENING

ON JOANNA

Now that the light is brighter, we can SEE her more clearly.
In her mid-thirties, she is beautiful, dressed in a style
that can best be described as Bloomingdale's. HOLD FOR A
BEAT as she leans against the door. It is clear from her
expression that she is terribly upset. Then, making up her
mind, she crosses to a closet and takes out a suitcase.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HER as she carries it into the bedroom,
lays it out on the bed and opens it.

PAN WITH HER as she crosses to a closet, grabs an armload of
clothes and dumps them helter-skelter into the suitcase.

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – EVENING

It is a few minutes later, the news has obviously been good
because there is a general celebration in progress.

Jim O'Connor, now standing, raises one hand for silence,
then making a toast.

O'CONNOR
Here's to Ted Kramer.

Cheers and good-natured jokes.

O'CONNOR
(putting an arm around
Ted squeezing him
tight)
I wanna tell you something about
this little runt. He went out there
and sold the shit out of Revlon and
that's why we got the account. It
was his idea, it was his concept,
right down the line...

More hoots and cheers. People start to yell "Speech."

TED
(embarrassed, but
cannot stop grinning)
All I can say... All I can say is
this is maybe one of the five best
days of my whole life...

CUT TO:

INT. BATHROOM – KRAMER APT. – EVENING

Joanna stands at the medicine cabinet, going through it,
packing things in a travel kit: rollers, deodorant, makeup,
birth control pills. She starts to take a small bottle of
perfume that has only an eighth of an inch of fluid left
inside, hesitates, then puts it back.

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – EVENING

Now some time has passed, most of the crowd has gone and
only the regulars are left.

TED
(in the middle of a
story)
So anyway Jim and I are making the
pitch, right? And all of a sudden
this old guy starts to cough and I
keep on going and he keeps on coughing
and I keep on going and he keeps on
coughing and –

Murray Fisher leans over, shakes Ted's hand.

MURRAY
(interrupting)
Congratulations, Ted. That was a
hell of a job.

TED
(surprised)
Where you goin' Murray, it's early?

MURRAY
Got to get home.

TED
(glancing at his watch)
Oh, Christ, I'm late... I gotta get
out of here.
(however, instead of
going, he settles
back and resumes his
story)
So anyway, I look over and this old
geezer is starting to turn blue and
I swear to God the only thing I can
think about is that this poor
sonofabitch is gonna die on me and
screw up the pitch.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – KRAMER APT. – EVENING

INSERT: A long and meticulous list that Joanna is making out
of the phone numbers and addresses of doctors and hospitals,
of what the various medicines are for, and of the foods that
Billy is and isn't permitted to eat.

WIDER ANGLE

As Joanna puts the finishing touches on the list and carefully
arranges it on top of the kitchen counter next to a box of
unsweetened, whole grain cereal and a jar of honey.

Note: It is this same set of notes that Ted will later
unthinkingly throw away.

CUT TO:

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING – MIDTOWN – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

As the doors to the outer lobby open and Ted and O'Connor
appear.

Ted starts to hail a cab, O'Connor stops him.

O'CONNOR
Hey, what's the rush? C'mon, walk me
a couple of blocks.

TED
Jim, I've got to go. I'm already
late –

O'CONNOR
Listen, Ted... I just want to tell
you, when old man Schmidt retires
next year, I've got a pretty good
feeling they'll kick me upstairs...

He turns and starts to walk off down the street, Ted, of
course, follows.

O'CONNOR
...and when they do, I just want you
to know I'm takin' you along with
me.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

CLOSE ON JOANNA

As she goes through her jewelry case, taking some things,
leaving others. In the B.G. we SEE a framed photograph of
Billy, smiling, looking into the camera.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

ON TED AND O'CONNOR

Tracking with them as they walk.

O'CONNOR
(feeling no pain)
Y'know, Ted, I mean what I said back
there. You did a hell of a job on
this and I want you to know I'm
turning the whole show over to you.

TED
(thrilled)
Wow!

O'CONNOR
I mean it Ted, you're running this
one.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

The suitcase is now full. Joanna zips it shut and looks around
to make sure that she hasn't forgotten anything.

Then, she hefts her suitcase and starts out of the room.

CUT TO:

INT. FOYER – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Joanna carries in the suitcase, sets it by the front door,
then she crosses to the living room and sits down at the
dining table.

CLOSER IN ON HER

She takes out a list made on the back of an old envelope. As
she begins to review it, checking off some items:

OFF SCREEN Sound: A key turning in the lock.

As Joanna looks up...

CUT TO:

HER POV

As the door swings open to reveal Ted Kramer, an enormous
grin on his face, a bottle of champagne in his hand. He is
so full of himself that he doesn't notice there is anything
wrong.

Note: Throughout the entire scene he carries the bottle of
champagne, never putting it down.

TED
I thought you might just like to
know that at five-fifteen this
afternoon we were officially handed
the Fire and Ice account by Revlon.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

JOANNA
(she takes a deep
breath, then:)
Ted, I'm leaving you.

TED
That represents a gross billing in
excess of two million –
(hearing her)
What?!

Joanna opens her purse, takes out her keys and wallet.

JOANNA
Here are my keys. I won't be needing
them any more.

Note: Ted does not for a moment believe that his wife will
really leave him. All he can think of right now is that he
will have to spend the rest of the evening coping with one
of her moods.

TED
(sardonic)
I'm sorry I'm late, all right? I'm
sorry I didn't call – I was busy
making a living.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

Joanna doesn't even bother to look up at him. She opens her
purse, takes out her wallet and begins removing credit cards.

JOANNA
My American Express... My
Bloomingdale's Credit Card... My
check book –

TED
(the martyr)
Okay, okay... What is it this time?
What did I do now?...

JOANNA
(ignoring this)
I took two thousand out of the savings
account. That was what I had in the
bank when we got married.

TED
Joanna, whatever it is, believe me,
I'm sorry.

JOANNA
Here are the slips for the laundry
and the cleaning. They'll be ready
on Saturday.

TED
(hard lining it)
Now listen, before you do something
you'll really regret you'd better
stop and think -

JOANNA
(not bothering to
look up)
I've paid the rent, the Con-Ed and
the phone bill, so you don't have to
worry about them.

She checks off the last item on her list as her husband
watches, dumbfounded.

JOANNA
There, that's everything.

Joanna gets to her feet and starts toward the front door. In
an instant Ted is after her.

TED
(panic starting)
For God's sake, Joanna, would you at
least tell me what I did that's so
terrible! Would you do me that little
favor?

ON JOANNA

At the door.

JOANNA
Look, it's not your fault, okay?
It's me. It's my fault – you just
married the wrong person.

TED
(placating her)
So we've got problems. Everybody's
got problems – that's normal –

Joanna opens the door and they step out into the hallway.

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE KRAMER APT. – EVENING

JOANNA
Ted, you're not listening to me.
It's over, finished.

TED
I'm listening, Joanna – believe me,
I'm listening. My wife is walking
out on me after eight years of –

JOANNA
(bitter)
You just don't get it, do you?
(as though to a child)
I – am – really – and – truly –
leaving – you.

TED
I heard you, Joanna. I promise I
heard you.

JOANNA
No you didn't.
(quietly)
You didn't even ask about Billy.

TED
(stiffening)
What about Billy?

JOANNA
I'm not taking him with me.

TED
What?

JOANNA
(tears start)
Ted, I can't... I tried... I really
tried but... I just can't hack it
anymore...

TED
C'mon, Joanna, you don't mean that.
You're a terrific mother –

JOANNA
(from her gut)
I am not! I'm a terrible mother! I'm
an awful mother. I yell at him all
the time. I have no patience. No...
No. He's better off without me.
(unable to look at
Ted)
Ted, I've got to go... I've got to
go.

TED
(desperate)
Okay, I understand and I promise I
won't try and stop you, but you can't
just go... Look, come inside and
talk... Just for a few minutes.

JOANNA
(pleading)
NO!... Please... Please don't make
me stay... I swear... If you do,
sooner or later... maybe tomorrow,
maybe next week... maybe a year from
now...
(looking directly at
him)
I'll go right out the window.

Sound-effect: The elevator approaching.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

There is nothing more that can be done, this is the last
moment of intimacy.

TED
(quiet)
Where are you going?

JOANNA
I don't know...

The elevator door opens, Joanna steps inside.

TED
Do you want me to help you get a
cab?

Joanna shakes her head. The elevator door closes behind her
and it starts to descend.

ON TED KRAMER

He stands for a moment, stunned, unable to move. Then he
turns and races back into the apartment.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM as he rushes across to one of the
living room windows, throws it open and leans out.

HIS POV

Looking down to the street from the eighth floor. We SEE
Joanna step off the curb and hail a passing taxi.

TED
(calling out)
Joanna!?... Joanna?!

Either she doesn't hear him or else she pays no attention.
She gets into the cab, closes the door behind her and it
drives away.

CUT TO:

INT. APT. – NIGHT

ON TED

As he stands for a moment watching the taxi as it disappears.

Then, slowly, he closes the window, turns, and AS THE CAMERA
TRACKS WITH HIM, walks into the bedroom.

The bedroom is a mess: the closet door stands open, inside
Joanna's section is empty except for some shoe-boxes and a
few dresses that are scattered across the floor. Several
dresser drawers have been pulled out and their contents
emptied.

HOLD IN A WIDE SHOT as Ted wearily picks up one of the dresses
and hangs it back on its hanger in its proper place, ready
for Joanna's return. As he continues straightening up the
room,

THE CAMERA SLOWLY FADES TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. LIVING ROOM – VERY LATE AT NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Ted Kramer paces back and forth, eyeing the phone. Then,
coming to a decision, he crosses to it, picks up the receiver
and starts to dial.

CUT TO:

EXT. APT. BLDG. – LATE AT NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

The building is dark except for the Kramer apartment which
is ablaze with lights. HOLD as we HEAR:

Sound: The phone ringing. Then:

WOMAN'S VOICE
(obviously asleep)
Huh... Hello?

TED
(righteous)
All right, Thelma... That's it. I've
had it. You can call your good friend
Joanna Kramer and tell her enough is
enough, okay? I mean, I don't know
what I did, but you can tell her
she's made her point.

WOMAN'S VOICE
Ted, what are you talking about?!

TED
Don't play innocent with me, Thelma.
You know perfectly well what's going
on.

WOMAN'S VOICE
(exasperated)
Ted, I don't understand a word you're
saying. Where's Joanna?

TED
Ha! You tell me.

Sound-effect, as Ted slams down the receiver.

Instantly a light is turned on two floors below.

CUT TO:

INT. FOYER – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

ON THE FRONT DOOR

As we HEAR:

Sound-effect: the doorbell rings.

A moment later Ted opens the door and THELMA PHILLIPS enters.
She is a neighbor (Apt. 6-B) and Joanna Kramer's best friend.
About four months ago Thelma and her husband Charley were
divorced.

Until then the two families had been very close, the Kramer's
son

(Billy) being about the same age as the Phillips' daughter
(Kim).

With the divorce, however, the Kramers tried to remain friends
with both Thelma and Charley and that has caused a certain
amount of friction.

Thelma is an attractive woman in her mid-thirties. She dresses
well, works out religiously at Jack LaLanne's and goes to a
therapist twice a week. She is also given to acting the lay
analyst with her friends. Thelma is generous with her advice,
sharing the wealth so to speak. With all of this she is kind,
loyal and a loving friend. At the moment, however, she is
all business.

THELMA
(looking around,
suspiciously)
All right. What's going on?

ON TED

From his attitude it is clear that there is no love lost
between them.

TED
All right, Thelma, you want to know
what's going on? I'll tell you what's
going on. I'll tell you exactly what's
going on.

THELMA
Look, Ted, all I –

TED
(starting to really
roll)
I came home tonight. We just got the
Fire and Ice account at the agency.
Do you know what that means?! Do you
understand what that means? It means
that it was maybe one of the five
best days in my whole life.

THELMA
Ted, all I wanted to know was where
–

TED
(not letting her get
a word in edgewise)
I walk in the house and before I can
say "How are you?", "Did you have a
nice day?" before I can say anything.
Pow she's out the door.

THELMA
OhmyGod. Didn't she say anything?
She must've said something.

TED
(sarcastic)
Yeah, she said it wasn't any use
talking anymore.

THELMA
Ted, don't be so hostile.

Ted draws himself upright with the dignity of the Ambassador
to the Court of St. James. However, during the following, he
begins pounding the pillows on the couch into shape with
real vehemence.

TED
Hostile?
(pow)
Me?
(whack)
Thelma, I'm not hostile.
(thud)
I am anything but hostile.
(sock)
But if you want to know what I am.
I'll tell you what I am. What I am
is, I am hurt. I am very hurt. And I
just want to know one thing, okay?
Just one thing... Why? That's all I
want to know... Why?

THELMA
(how to say this)
Ted, Joanna and I used to talk a lot
and... well, she told me a lot of...
ah, things about the two of you.

TED
(instantly nervous)
Things? What kind of things?

THELMA
(clearly she knows
more than she's
willing to say)
I mean... things. Ted, Joanna's very
unhappy and –

TED
(flash of anger)
Listen, Joanna Kramer's got a goddamn
good life. She's got a husband that
loves her. She's got a terrific kid.
She's got a wonderful home –

THELMA
(getting mad herself)
What d'you know about how Joanna
felt? You went off to an office every
morning and you'd come dragging home
at seven or eight every night and as
long as dinner was on the table you
thought everything was swell.

TED
Did it ever occur to you guys that
Joanna Kramer's not the easiest person
in the world to live with?! Did it?!
For one thing she's always thirty
minutes late. You can set your watch
by it –

THELMA
(exasperated)
So she's late. What's the big deal.
That's just a way of saying, "Pay
attention to me."

TED
(not listening)
Two. She is getting to be a real
hermit or recluse or whatever it is
you call it. Thelma, do you know
where I could be in this business if
I had a wife that entertained or
went out socially –

THELMA
Oh for shit's sake, Ted, you are the
most selfish human being I have ever
met. No wonder she said you came
first, then Billy, then, if there
was anything left over, she got the
scraps.

TED
Joanna said that?

Thelma nods.

TED
Then how come she never said anything
like that to me?

THELMA
Maybe she didn't feel like she should
have to. Maybe she felt like if you'd
been paying any real attention to
her to start with, maybe you would've
noticed.

TED
(stung)
Boy, you guys are really something,
y'know? I'd like to know one thing,
okay – just one little thing. Did
you tell Joanna she should leave me?

THELMA
(stiffly)
No.

She turns and starts toward the front door, Ted at her heel.

TED
Y'know something Thelma – you are
the typhoid Mary of divorce. I mean
it. Joanna and I never had any trouble
until you and Charley split up.

THELMA
Ted, divorce is a terrible thing. I
know, I went through it. You've got
to believe I did everything I could
to get Joanna to stay.
(pause)
But I'll tell you something. You may
not want to hear it, but it took a
lot of courage for Joanna to do what
she just did.

TED
I'd like to know what the hell kind
of courage it takes to walk out on
your husband and your child?

CLOSE ON THELMA

That stops her dead in her tracks. She had always assumed
that Joanna took Billy with her when she left.

THELMA
Joanna left Billy? She didn't take
him with her?

Ted shakes his head. There is a long beat of silence.

THELMA
(stunned, quiet)
Oh Shit.

CUT TO:

FADE IN:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – EARLY MORNING

WIDE SHOT

It is a beautiful sunny morning and the super stands in front
of the building hosing down the sidewalk. HOLD as a garbage
truck enters FRAME and the garbage men begin loading sacks
of trash into the back of the truck. As it begins to grind
up the garbage with an ungodly sound, THE CAMERA PANS UP TO
THE EIGHTH FLOOR WINDOWS.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY KRAMER'S BEDROOM – EARLY MORNING

MEDIUM SHOT

Billy Kramer lies in his bed, fast asleep.

HOLD FOR A BEAT as we HEAR:

OFF SCREEN Sound: From the street below, the garbage truck
grinding up garbage.

A moment later, Billy opens his eyes, struggles to his feet
and,

AS THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM, trudges sleepily out of his
room, across the hall and into the bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM – EARLY MORNING

As the child stands in front of the toilet, eyes closed, we
HEAR:

OFF SCREEN Sound-effect: as the child pees noisily.

Then, when he is finished, he turns and, without bothering
to flush the toilet, shuffles down the hall and into his
parents' bedroom.

HIS POV

The bed is empty, there is no sign that anyone has slept in
it.

ON BILLY

A look of suspicion on his face, he turns and starts back
down the hall toward the living room.

INT. LIVING ROOM – EARLY MORNING

As Billy enters, looks around.

HIS POV

Ted Kramer, still fully dressed, looking like the wrath of
God is asleep in the chair.

ON BILLY

As he marches across to his father.

BILLY
Where's mommy?

ON TED

His eyes open, he looks around startled.

TED
Huh?... Oh God... What time is it?

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

BILLY
(suspicious)
The little hand is on the six and
the big hand is on the nine. Where
is mommy?

TED
(trying to pull himself
together)
Oh, Christ... Ah, yeah... you want
to know why mom's not here, right?

Billy nods.

TED
(bullshit)
Okay, I'm going to tell you... It's
like this. Mommy and daddy had a
little argument and mommy decided
she wanted to go off by herself for
a little while. You know how sometimes
you get mad and want to go off and
be by yourself? Well, it's like that,
okay? Okay.
(subject closed)
Now how about some breakfast?

Ted struggles to his feet and THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH THEM as
they start toward the kitchen.

BILLY
When is mommy coming back?

TED
(lying)
Soon. Very soon.

By now they are inside the kitchen, Ted looks around.

HIS POV

There, on the kitchen cabinet is a box of "natural grain"
cereal, a jar of honey, some wheat germ, and a banana, with
carefully written instructions from Joanna underneath.

ON TED

He takes one look at the note, crumples it up and tosses it
in the wastebasket.

TED
(the camp counselor)
I'll tell you what, kiddo – why don't
I fix us some French toast?

BILLY
(impressed)
Wow! French toast, really?

TED
(the camp counselor)
Sure. Didn't I ever tell you French
toast was my specialty? I'll bet I
never told you that. Now then, the
first thing we need is...
(trying desperately
to remember)
...eggs! Right?

Billy nods. Ted opens the refrigerator and takes some eggs.

TED
This is terrific... isn't this
terrific?

As Ted begins the process of making French toast, it soon
becomes obvious that he has no idea of what he is doing.
What follows is a symphony in incompetence on Ted's part. He
breaks the eggs into a bowl and ends up with most of the
shell mixed up with the egg.

Then he takes a piece of bread and drops it into bowl.

TED
(saying it will make
it so)
I'm having a good time... Are you
having a good time?

ON BILLY

Watching all of this with increasing apprehension.

BILLY
You forgot the milk.

TED
(still the camp
counselor)
That's right. You're absolutely
right... It's been a long time since
I made French toast.

Ted takes a container of milk, pours it into the bowl so
that it is filled to the brim. Then he sloshes the bread
around until it is half-dissolved.

TED
Look at this, isn't this something?!

He lops off a huge hunk of butter, drops it into an omelet
pan and turns up the flame.

ON BILLY

Watching. He looks as though he is about to throw up.

BILLY
What about my orange juice?

TED
(the counterman)
Right. One O.J. coming up.

He opens the refrigerator and starts to get the orange juice.
As he does, black smoke begins to billow ominously from the
frying pan.

BILLY
(scared)
Daddy!!!

Ted turns, spots the smoke.

TED
Don't worry... Everything's fine...

He lunges for the handle of the frying pan, which by now is
very hot. He grabs it, lets out a howl of pain and the whole
mess, frying pan, butter, bread, goes crashing to the floor.

CLOSE ON TED

Suddenly all the rage comes pouring out.

TED
Goddam! Son of a bitch!

REACTION – BILLY

Terrified.

WIDE SHOT

As Ted kneels down and begins to clean up the mess.

TED
(to himself as much
as to Billy)
It's okay. It's gonna be okay...

Everything's going to be all right.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON A BUS

As it pulls to a stop. The doors open and a stream of mothers
and children get off. Among them we spot Ted Kramer with
Billy. As they start across the street, Ted reaches down and
takes hold of Billy's hand. The moment they get to the far
side, Billy takes his hand away from Ted's and wipes it on
his pants. Clearly Ted's hands are very sweaty.

CLOSER IN ON THEM

As they start down the block toward Billy's school.

CLOSER IN ON THEM

BILLY
When is mommy coming back?

TED
Soon. I told you before, very soon.

BILLY
(nervous)
Will she pick me up after school?

TED
No. If I'm not here, you go home
with Thelma and Kim.

BILLY
What if she forgets?

TED
(weary)
I'll call Thelma and remind her,
okay? Don't worry.

They walk in silence for a few steps, then:

BILLY
But what happens if she's on her way
to school and she gets runned over
by a truck and killed? What happens
them?

Ted looks at Billy in amazement.

WIDE SHOT

As the two of them enter the school and disappear from view.

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE, TED'S AGENCY – DAY

ON THE ELEVATOR DOORS

As they open and Ted steps out looking like the wrath of
God. THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM as he crosses the waiting
room toward the inner offices.

ON THE RECEPTIONIST

Glancing up as he passes.

RECEPTIONIST
(cheerful)
Congratulations, Mr. Kramer.

ON TED

Looking at her like she has lost her mind. Nevertheless he
continues on, passing through swinging doors into a long
corridor lined with secretaries' desks and offices leading
off of it.

Suddenly a younger man rushes up, grabs Ted's hand and starts
to pump it vigorously.

YOUNG MAN
Terrific news, Ted.

Another nut. Ted smiles at the man, humoring him and continues
toward his office. O'Connor appears, throwing his arm around
Ted, squeezing him in a bear hug.

O'CONNOR
Hey... Look who was out celebrating
last night.

Suddenly Ted realizes that all these people are congratulating
him for getting the Fire and Ice account.

TED
(trying to appear
nonchalant)
Uh, Jim... Can I talk to you?

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – DAY

Ted and O'Connor sitting across from one another. O'Connor
has just heard the news.

O'CONNOR
Jesus Christ. That's a real
blockbuster.
(shakes his head)
I always figured you guys had it
made.

TED
(morose)
You want to know the real kicker?
The real kicker is, for the first
time in my life – the first time – I
feel like a loser.

O'Connor nods sympathetically. Actually he is praying that
Ted won't start to cry.

O'CONNOR
(stiff upper lip)
Listen, don't let it get you down.
(doesn't believe it
for a second)
You're going to be fine.

TED
(toujour gai)
Me? I've never been better. I mean
having my wife walk out on me after
seven years of marriage agrees with
me just fine.

O'CONNOR
Look, Ted, I'm the oldest whore on
the beat, okay? Three marriages, two
divorces... You're gonna be okay.

TED
(wishful thinking)
I'm going to be okay. The way I see
it, Joanna'll come home, it's just a
matter of time.

O'CONNOR
(emphatically)
She'll be back...

Ted nods in agreement. There is a beat of silence as both
men consider Joanna's imminent return. Then:

O'CONNOR
(trying to be tactful)
But... just in case... I mean, just
on the off chance she doesn't. What
are you going to do about the kid?

TED
(the wind goes out of
him)
I don't know, Jim. This whole thing
has happened so... Pow – like that.

O'CONNOR
(a friend having to
say something very
difficult)
Look, it's none of my business, so
you can tell me to butt out, okay?
But if you want my advice, you'll
send Billy away to stay with relatives
for a while. Just until you get
yourself straightened out.

TED
(doubtfully)
I don't know, Jim...

O'CONNOR
(the Dutch uncle)
Ted, this may sound a little rough,
but we've just landed the biggest
account in the history of this agency,
right? And now it's up to us – that's
you and me – to deliver the goods.
Ted, you're my main man, and if I
can't depend on you a hundred and
ten percent, twenty-four hours a
day, because you're worried about a
kid with a runny nose –

TED
Jim, I appreciate what you're saying.
I mean it, but I really think Joanna's
coming back.

ON O'CONNOR

Clearly he doesn't believe this.

O'CONNOR
I hope you're right, Ted... I really
hope you're right.

CUT TO:

INT. FOYER – KRAMER APT. – DAY

INSERT: TIGHT ON AN ENVELOPE

It is postmarked Denver, Colorado. The letter is addressed
to Billy Kramer and it is from Joanna.

ON TED

As he rips open the letter.

TED
Billy!

ON BILLY

He sits in the living room watching television, a chocolate
doughnut in one hand and a remote control device for watching
television in the other.

Off-screen Sound: a Saturday morning kiddie program from the
television set.

BILLY
(focused on T.V.)
Uh, huh...

TED
You got a letter from mom.

Instantly, Billy turns down the volume of the television.

BILLY
(excited)
When is she coming home?!

ON TED

As he starts to read, slowly, carefully, so that Billy can
absorb it.

TED
"My dear, sweet Billy: Mommy has
gone away. Sometimes in the world
daddies go away and mommies bring up
their little boys. But sometimes a
mommy can go away too, and you have
your daddy to bring you up."

As Ted continues to read, Billy starts turning up the sound
on the television, using the remote control device.

TED
(raising his voice so
he can be heard)
"I have gone away because I must
find some interesting things to do
for myself in the world. Everybody
has to, and so do I. Being your mommy
was one thing, but there are other
things and this is what I have to
do. I did not get a chance to tell
you this, and that is why I am writing
you now."

By now the volume from the television is so loud that Ted
has to shout to make himself heard over it.

TED
"I will always be your mommy and I
will always love you. I just won't
be your mommy in the house. But I
will be your mommy of the heart. And
I... "
(he looks up, about
to tell the child to
lower the volume)
Billy.

HIS POV

Billy sits, watching television with an almost ferocious
intensity on his face, doing his best to block out Ted's
voice.

ON TED

He watches his son for a second, then carefully refolds the
letter, puts it away.

TED
(as he reaches across,
turns down the sound
on the T.V.)
It's okay... It's okay. We'll talk
about it some other time.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – KRAMER APT. – LATER THAT DAY

CLOSE ON THELMA

Reading Joanna's letter.

THELMA
Oh, God... OhmyGod...

She finishes the letter, looks up at Ted.

THELMA
What are you going to do?

TED
I don't know, Thel... This whole
thing has happened so... Pow, like
that.

THELMA
I mean, what are you going to do
about Billy?

TED
(stiff)
I'm gonna keep him, why?

THELMA
Look, this is nothing personal, but
I don't think you can do it.

TED
Thelma, I've lost my wife, I'm not
losing my child.

THELMA
(backing off)
All right... Okay... But let's get
something straight, right now. I
mean, I'm sorry about what happened
between you and Joanna, but it's not
my problem, understand?

REVERSE ON TED

He nods.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

THELMA
I'm not going to have you calling
every fifteen minutes just because
you can't find a hot water bottle,
understand?

Ted nods.

THELMA
I've got enough trouble raising my
own kid. I don't need another one.
Got it?

TED
Got it.

THELMA
You're on your own, understand?

TED
I understand.

THELMA
You're sure?

TED
I'm sure.

ON THELMA

A long pause, she looks at him with all the warmth of a top
sergeant facing a raw recruit. Then:

THELMA
All right. Who's Billy's pediatrician?

ON TED

He hasn't the foggiest idea.

THELMA
(machine-gun delivery)
Ed Davies. 230 East 76th Street. 472-
8227. Fifty bucks a house call, thirty
for an office visit. Write this down:
I'm not telling you twice. What's
the nearest hospital?

ON TED

As he grabs a piece of paper and starts writing frantically.

TED
Wait a minute! Wait a minute!

THELMA
(not waiting)
Lenox Hill. 77th Street between Park
and Lex. The emergency number is 327-
0800.

TED
Slow down... Slow down...

CUT TO:

INT. TED'S BEDROOM – DAY

WIDE SHOT

Ted stands in the middle of the room, sorting out a huge
pile of dirty clothes. Thelma sits on the edge of the bed,
watching.

THELMA
Colors in one pile, white things in
another and shirts in a third.

In the BACKGROUND we SEE the bathroom door as it opens and
Billy Kramer steps out, freshly bathed and wearing clean
clothes.

THELMA
(without looking around)
Brush the teeth. Hang up the towel
and flush the toilet.

Billy immediately turns on his heels and heads back into the
bathroom.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – DAY

CLOSE ON A SILVER CIGARETTE BOX

That is inscribed, "Ted and Joanna Kramer, Married April 4,
1970."

HOLD FOR A BEAT then Ted's hand reaches into FRAME and picks
it up.

MEDIUM SHOT TED

As he takes the cigarette box and balances it on a stack of
scrap books, photographs, ash trays, etc., etc., that he is
carrying. He crosses to another table, picks up a framed
photograph of Joanna and Billy and piles that on top of
everything. We realize that Ted is going through the apartment
from top to bottom and methodically cleaning out every trace
of Joanna that he can find.

CUT TO:

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

ESTABLISHING SHOT

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

As Ted goes through the room, picking up Billy's clothes
which have been strewn every which way.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM as he carries them into Billy's
room.

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – NIGHT

Billy is fast asleep, the only light coming from the night
lamp on the dresser. Ted dumps the soiled clothing in a
hamper, hangs up Billy's jacket, then he neatly folds the
boy's sweater and crosses to the dresser.

CLOSER IN ON THE DRESSER

As Ted opens a drawer and starts to put the sweater away.
Suddenly he spots something.

CUT TO:

HIS POV

There, in the drawer, sitting on top of a pile of clothing
is one of the photographs of Joanna that Ted put away this
afternoon.

Billy has retrieved it and hidden it here, hoping that Ted
wouldn't find it.

CLOSE ON TED

As he takes a long look at the photograph, then turns to his
son.

HIS POV

Billy asleep, tangled up in the covers.

ON TED

He removes the photograph from the drawer, crosses to the
bed and places it on the nightstand nearby so that Billy
will be able to see the picture of Joanna when he wakes up
in the morning. He sits for a moment longer on the side of
the bed and reaches across and smooths down his son's rumpled
hair.

FADE TO BLACK:

INT. TED'S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

ON TED

Clearly in a rush, loading his briefcase with work to do
that evening. He starts for the door and THE CAMERA TRACKS
WITH HIM as he walks along the outer office corridor, heading
for the elevator. As he passes the door to O'Connor's office:

TED
(calling out)
'Night, Jim.

O'CONNOR (O.S.)
(calling out)
Hey, Ted. C'mon in. I wanna' talk to
you.

Reluctantly Ted stops, turns around and walks back to the
door to O'Connor's office.

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

O'Connor sits back in his chair, his feet propped on the
desk a drink in one hand.

O'CONNOR
(jovial)
What's the big rush. C'mon in, put
your feet up, have a drink.

REVERSE ON TED

Hanging in the doorway, clearly anxious to leave.

TED
Can't do it tonight. Gotta pick up
Billy. I'm late.

O'CONNOR
(paying no attention
to that)
Listen, I heard a terrific joke today.
There's this Polish skydiver –

TED
(urgent)
Sorry, Jim I've got to go. I'll talk
to you tomorrow.

And before O'Connor can say anything he is gone.

REVERSE ON O'CONNOR

Obviously displeased. He sits for a moment, drumming his
fingers on the desk top, then reaches for the phone and starts
to dial. A moment later:

O'CONNOR
Murray? Jim O'Connor, why don't you
drop by and have a drink...

CUT TO:

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING – LATE AFTERNOON

WIDE SHOT

As Ted emerges from the building, starts to hail a cab.

CUT TO:

EXT. APARTMENT HOUSE, EAST EIGHTIES – LATE AFTERNOON

WIDE SHOT

As the cab pulls to a stop. Ted leaps out and rushes inside.

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY – APARTMENT BLDG. – LATE AFTERNOON

The elevator doors open and Ted steps out.

THE CAMERA PANS WITH HIM as he crosses to the doorway of an
apartment, rings the bell.

CLOSER IN

As the door is opened by a pleasant-looking woman in her
thirties.

This is MRS. KLINE. She has the slightly haggard look of
someone who has just survived a birthday party with eight
five-year-olds.

In fact, behind her we SEE an abundance of crepe paper and
balloons.

TED
(apologetic)
Mrs. Kline, I'm sorry I'm late, but
–

MRS. KLINE
That's all right, but I'm afraid
Billy was a little nervous...
(she glances off screen)

THEIR POV

Billy, his coat on, his goody bag in his lap sits alone on a
bench in the foyer.

The moment he sees his father, he gets up and starts for the
door.

BILLY
(to Ted, accusingly)
You're late.

TED
I'm sorry, pal, but I had a meeting
and –

BILLY
(to Mrs. Kline anxious
to get away)
Goodbye.

MRS. KLINE
Goodbye, Bill. Thank you for coming.
(calling out to her
son in the next room)
Mark. Say goodbye to Bill.

MARK (O.S.)
(preoccupied)
Bye.

BILLY
Bye.

And he hustles his father out into the hallway. Once door is
shut behind them:

BILLY
(sullen)
I was waiting a long time.

By now they have crossed to the elevator. Ted rings the bell.

TED
(this ain't exactly
the greeting he's
expected)
It wasn't so long, I'm only...
(checking his watch)
...twenty minutes late.

The elevator doors open.

BILLY
All the other mothers got here a
long time ago...

And the doors close, blocking them from view.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Ted and Billy sit at the dining table, a large pizza between
them.

Ted is working hard, trying to establish some kind of rapport
with his son. Billy is silent, he picks at the slice of pizza
in front of him.

TED
(more of the camp
counselor)
How was school today?

BILLY
Okay... Same as usual...

TED
Billy, don't eat with your fingers.

BILLY
(morose)
Sorry.

There is a long beat of silence.

TED
(like pulling teeth)
Well, I see the Yankees finally won
a game.

BILLY
Mom, I mean dad?

TED
Yeah?

BILLY
Can I be excused? I'm not hungry. I
think I'll go to bed.

TED
Sure. Too much birthday cake, right?

BILLY
(as he gets up from
the table)
I guess...

WIDE SHOT

As Billy shuffles off toward his room. Ted sits for a beat
picking at the food on his plate.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH BILLY as he gets up from the table
and walks into his room. HOLD IN THE DOORWAY as he takes off
his shirt and pants and leaves them lying on the floor. The
boy crosses to the closet, gets his pajamas and puts them
on.

REVERSE ON TED

Standing in the doorway, watching.

TED
Goodnight.

ON BILLY

He starts to crawl into bed.

BILLY
(aloof)
'Night.

ON TED

THE CAMERA PANS WITH HIM as he crosses to where Billy dropped
his clothes on the floor, picks them up.

TED
Listen, pal, I'm sorry, okay?

Silence.

TED
I know how you feel.

Silence.

Ted crosses, sits on the edge of the bed.

TED
Look, I remember one time when. I
was a couple of years younger than
you are now and... I was staying
with this cousin of mine and my
parents were supposed to come and
pick me up by three, but it got later
and later and they didn't and they
didn't show up and I remember I got
really scared that something had
happened to them and I remember when
they finally came instead of being
happy to see them I was very angry
and... Billy, I promise I'll never
do that to you again, okay?...

Silence.

TED
Billy? Okay?

CLOSEUP BILLY

His face is turned to the wall. HOLD FOR A BEAT as we SEE
him nod.

INT. LIVING ROOM – TED KRAMER'S APT. – NIGHT

Note: The following scene, which is written as one, is
actually to be played so that each time we cut back to the
woman who is being interviewed as housekeeper, it is a
different woman: sometimes nervous and excited, sometimes
large and lugubrious, with six shopping bags, sometimes
looking like a headmistress at Dachau.

They are uniformly (until the last) unappetizing.

Throughout this, we SEE Ted becoming increasingly desperate.

WOMAN
(looking around nervous)
It's very big... They didn't tell me
it was this big.

TED
(apologetically)
No... No, actually it's only two
bedrooms.

SECOND WOMAN
(sniffing)
Phew... This place is a real pig
sty.

TED
(defensively)
Look, my wife just walked out on me.
Okay? It's been a tough week.

THIRD WOMAN
Don't tell me your troubles, mister.
I got enough of my own.

Note: With the FOURTH WOMAN we begin on a CLOSEUP and PULL
BACK to REVEAL that we are in Ted's office and it is the
middle of the afternoon.

INT. TED KRAMER'S OFFICE – DAY

FOURTH WOMAN
The first thing is, I don't do floors.

At that point the door behind her opens and O'Connor pokes
his head in.

O'CONNOR
Ted.

FOURTH WOMAN
(ignoring him)
Or windows. I come in at ten and I
get Wednesdays off.

O'CONNOR
Ted.

TED
(brisk)
I'll be with you in a minute, Jim.
(back to the woman)
You couldn't make that Saturday,
could you?

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

ON THE FIFTH WOMAN (MRS. WILLEWSKA)

She is a slightly built attractive woman in her early sixties.

There is a long pause as she looks around.

MRS. WILLEWSKA
What kind of boy is your son?

REACTION – TED

This is the first person that ever asked about Billy.

TED
(taken aback)
Well, he's... ah, he's a good kid.
He's shy and... I think he's probably
very creative and...

MRS. WILLEWSKA
Could I see him?

TED
Sure. He's right in here.

As they start toward the child's room.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – NIGHT

In the darkness we can SEE Billy, all scrunched up in the
covers.

HOLD FOR A BEAT as the door opens and the light from the
hall falls across the sleeping boy.

ON THE DOOR

Ted and Mrs. Willewska stand silhouetted against the light.

MRS. WILLEWSKA
Oh... He's very beautiful.

ON BILLY

As he stirs, in his sleep.

MRS. WILLEWSKA (O.S.)
Mr. Kramer, you are a very lucky
man.

REACTION, TED

This is the first time since Joanna left that this has
occurred to him.

TED
Mrs. Willewska, could you start on
Monday?

CUT TO:

INT. SUPERMARKET – DAY

ON BILLY AND TED

TRACKING JUST IN FRONT OF THEM as they wheel a shopping cart
along the aisle. Ted has a shopping list in his hand.

Ted stops, takes a box of detergent off of the shelf, starts
to put it in the shopping cart, when:

BILLY
(worried)
Mom, I mean dad...

TED
(his mind elsewhere)
Uh huh...

BILLY
That's not the right soap. We use
the kind in the green and yellow
box.

TED
C'mon, there's not much difference –

BILLY
(firmly)
We use the green and yellow.

Ted looks at his son for a moment, then carefully replaces
the detergent that he had originally picked and reaches for
the green and yellow kind. They continue on for several steps
and Ted stops again, this time looking for a dishwashing
liquid. He starts to reach for one, stops, looks around at
Billy.

Billy shakes his head.

Ted points to another.

BILLY
(shaking his head
again)
The pink stuff.

Ted takes a bottle of the pink stuff, puts it in the shopping
cart and consults his shopping list.

TED
Okay, what color cereal do we get?

CUT TO:

EXT. PLAYGROUND, CENTRAL PARK – DAY

WIDE SHOT

It is that same afternoon and Billy (his clothes are much
dirtier by now) is running back and forth with a group of
other children.

MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Walk him over to Bethesda Fountain
and buy him an ice.

ON TED

He sits on one of the playground benches, the work he took
from the office stacked beside him on the bench. Sitting
next to him is a personable-looking man of about Ted's age.
He is nattily dressed in a suit complete with vest, tie and
polished Gucci loafers. We will call him THE SATURDAY FATHER.

Note: The Saturday Father and his daughter (a pretty young
girl of about ten) will appear from time to time throughout
the film. He is a divorced father, putting in his time, not
giving a shit about the child. The Saturday Father insists
on treating Ted as though they were members of the same secret
fraternity. And he comes to represent Ted's nightmare of
what might happen to him.

TED
(looking in the
direction of the
voice)
What?

SATURDAY FATHER
Walk him over to Bethesda Fountain,
buy him an ice. It'll kill twenty
minutes.

TED
I've got a lot more than twenty
minutes to kill.

SATURDAY FATHER
Tough...
(checking his watch)
...I get off duty at five-thirty.
(bored, anxious to
make conversation)
How long you been divorced?

TED
(surprised)
Three months. How can you tell?

SATURDAY FATHER
You've got that look. My lady and I
split two years ago in August and
I'm an old pro at this shit. First
thing, stay away from the Children's
Zoo. It's pure hell – if I never see
another chicken, I'll be happy.
(calling out to his
daughter OFF SCREEN)
I'm here, darling. Don't worry...

CLOSER ON TED

Finding this distinctly unpleasant. He glances around, looking
for Billy.

HIS POV

The sprinkler area. Other children are running around, but
there is no sign of Billy.

TED
(calling out)
Billy?

HIS POV

Another area of the playground. Billy is nowhere in sight.

WIDER ON TED

As he grabs his stuff and starts toward the exit of the
playground.

TED
(louder)
Billy?

HIS POV

Looking in another direction. Nothing.

WIDE ON TED

Standing among a crowd of people just outside the entrance
to the playground. He is looking around wildly.

TED
Billy?!

HIS POV

There in the distance is Billy Kramer, running as hard as he
can away from Ted.

ON TED

TRACKING IN FRONT OF HIM as he starts to chase after Billy.

HIS POV – TRACKING FORWARD

It is clear that Billy is running with a purpose.

TED (V.O.)
Billy!

Billy pays no attention to him.

ON TED

TRACKING IN FRONT OF HIM as he continues to chase his son.

HIS POV – TRACKING FORWARD

Closer now, we can SEE that ahead of Billy is a woman that,
from behind, looks remarkably like Joanna.

CLOSER ON TED

As he realizes what is about to happen.

CLOSER ON BILLY

Catching up to the woman.

BILLY
Mommy! Mommy!

A moment later he gets close enough to grab onto her skirt.
As the woman turns around:

CLOSEUP WOMAN

Quite clearly it is not Joanna.

CLOSEUP BILLY

His face becomes impassive again. All the excitement vanishes.

BILLY
Oh. I thought you were my mommy.

CLOSEUP TED

His face reveals all of the pain that Billy's can't.

CUT TO:

INT. CLASSROOM, NURSERY SCHOOL – DAY

CLOSE ON A HOMEMADE CURTAIN

As it opens and Billy Kramer, wearing an outsized moustache,
a makeshift cape and a stovepipe hat made from construction
paper.

He stands for a moment, looking around, finally he spots
someone, grins and begins waving.

HIS POV

Across the room eighteen to twenty mothers (Ted Kramer is
the only man present) are gathered, sitting on tiny chairs
and at work tables watching as their children put on a show.

ON BILLY

Suddenly he forgets his lines, looks around nervously. A
moment later a very pretty young teacher leans over, whispers
in his ear.

TEACHER
Ladies and gentlemen...

BILLY
Ladies and gentlemen...

TEACHER
Welcome to the greatest show on earth.

BILLY
Welcome to the...
(he forgets again)

REVERSE ON TED

He leans forward mouthing the words as the teacher prompts
Billy.

TEACHER
Greatest.

BILLY
Greatest...

TEACHER
Show.

BILLY
Show...

TEACHER
On earth.

BILLY
On earth.

Ted breathes a sigh of relief, his son having gotten through
it.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THE CHILDREN PUTTING ON THE SHOW AND
TED KRAMER SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE WATCHING:

A look of total pleasure on his face. From time to time when
Billy does something particularly difficult, Ted nudges the
woman next to him.

Note: In all of the shots of Billy we SEE the teacher there
guiding, helping, over and over and over we cannot help but
notice how attractive she is. Toward the end of the show
Ted's POV occasionally follows the teacher rather than the
child.

DISSOLVE TO:

WIDE SHOT

The show is over and the parents and children mill around
eating popcorn, drinking lemonade from paper cups. Ted stands
off to one side, talking to the teacher as Billy runs around.

CLOSER IN ON THEM

TEACHER
Mr. Kramer, I just wanted to tell
you what a wonderful boy your son
is.

TED
(clearly attracted to
her)
I don't know... I've been worried...
(glancing around,
making sure Billy is
out of earshot)
I mean, with what he's been through
and everything. I –

TEACHER
(solicitously)
No... No... Billy is doing just fine.

TED
(giving himself a few
points)
Well, you know it's not easy raising
a kid on your own and I thought if
we could get together and, uh, discuss
–

At that moment one of the class mothers interrupts, reaches
across Ted and takes hold of the teacher's hand.

WOMAN
(effusive)
Barbara! Congratulations! When is
the baby due?

TEACHER (BARBARA)
Oh, God. Not 'til August.

CLOSE ON TED

Inadvertently glancing at the teacher's stomach, nothing
shows.

ON THE TEACHER

As she turns back to Ted.

TEACHER
Excuse me. You said you wanted to
talk, Mr. Kramer.

TED
(embarrassed)
Yes, but... ah, not now...
(checking his watch)
I've got an appointment... I forgot
all about it...

As Ted begins beating a hasty retreat,

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON TED

TRACKING IN FRONT OF HIM as he walks down the street carrying
a large and elaborate papier-mβchι art thing that Billy made
in school.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN TED AND HIS POV:

As he manages to notice every single pretty girl that passes,
thread his way through the crowd and still balance Billy's
enormous work of art.

CUT TO:

INT. AGENCY – DAY

ON THE ELEVATOR DOORS

As they open, Ted squeezes off and AS THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH
HIM, he crosses the waiting room and enters the offices
proper. He pauses at his secretary's desk and deposits Billy's
papier-mβchι thing. She jumps up from her desk, takes the
papier-mβchι thing and her notebook in hand, and follows Ted
as he walks down the corridor towards O'Connor's office.

SECRETARY
Mr. O'Connor called. There's a meeting
with the Revlon people in the board
room and you're fifteen minutes late.

TED
(in a rush)
I know... I know.

SECRETARY
Mr. Schmidt can't have the figures
on the television buy until Monday.

TED
No. Uh, uh. Tell him I asked for it
Friday. I want it Friday. Period.

SECRETARY
Mr. Lombardo from packaging wants to
meet on Friday.

TED
Fine.

By now they have reached the board room. He enters without
knocking, his secretary still in tow.

SECRETARY
And Mrs. Kelsey called to ask if
Billy can come to Stephanie's birthday
party on Tuesday.

CUT TO:

INT. BOARD ROOM – DAY

The room is filled with executives in three piece suits and
O'Connor who is doing a lot of backing and filling.

TED
(as he enters)
Yes. Remind me to pick up a "Crying
Chrissie" doll at lunch on Tuesday.

ON O'CONNOR

Clearly he is very irritated at this.

O'CONNOR
(sardonic)
If it's all right with you, Mother
Kramer, can we get down to work now?

CUT TO:

INT. PHYLLIS BERNARD'S OFFICE – DAY

It is a real mess, legal files and law books scattered
everywhere.

In the midst of all this chaos sits PHYLLIS BERNARD, as we
said before, she is about thirty, very pretty in spite of
her glasses.

ON PHYLLIS

She looks up as Ted enters. It is clear from their attitude
that they have known one another for a long time and are
very relaxed together.

PHYLLIS
Hello, Kramer.

ON TED

He drops into a chair and shoves a stack of papers across
the desk to her.

TED
Hiya, Phyllis. These are the Revlon
contracts. I thought you ought to
check them out.

PHYLLIS
Sure.

She takes the papers and starts to rifle through them,
stopping every so often and making a note in the margin. As
she does, we notice that the second and third buttons of her
blouse have come undone and that she is not wearing a bra.

CLOSER ON TED

As he realizes this.

ON PHYLLIS

She glances up to ask Ted a question about some point or
other, notices the direction of his gaze and, unself-
consciously buttons up her blouse.

She goes back to her papers as Ted continues to watch her.

ON PHYLLIS

Not looking up from her papers.

PHYLLIS
Yes.

TED
(baffled)
Yes, what?

PHYLLIS
(looks up, serious)
Yes, I'll have dinner with you.

CUT TO:

INT. TED KRAMER'S BEDROOM – LATE AT NIGHT

ON THE BED

Although the room is dimly lit, we can SEE quite clearly
that Ted and Phyllis are in bed together. They have finished
making love and Ted lies back, half asleep. Phyllis reaches
across to the nightstand, puts on her glasses and checks her
watch.

PHYLLIS
Kramer, I've got to go. I've got an
eight o'clock closing tomorrow down
on Centre Street.

TED
(half asleep)
Mmmmnph... I'll get you a cab...

But he makes no move to get up.

Phyllis gets to her feet and in the dim light we can SEE
that, except for her glasses, she is naked.

PHYLLIS
(as she crosses the
hall on the way to
the bathroom)
That's okay. It's just that I've got
these clients that are –

CUT TO:

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

There is Billy Kramer, standing by the toilet, buttoning his
pajamas. He looks up at Phyllis.

HIS POV

There stands Phyllis, naked as the day she was born, a look
of stunned amazement on her face.

PHYLLIS
(softly to herself)
Oh, God.

Too startled to cover herself.

ON BILLY

He looks her up and down, then:

BILLY
(very serious)
Do you like fried chicken?

ON PHYLLIS

Suddenly remembering to cover herself.

PHYLLIS
(hoping desperately
it is the right answer)
Ah... Yes.

SHOT – PHYLLIS AND BILLY

BILLY
So do I...

And he shuffles off to bed. Phyllis waits, frozen until he
disappears into his room. Then, she turns and flees back
into the bedroom.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

ON PHYLLIS

As she bursts into the room, closes the door behind her,
leans against it.

PHYLLIS
(eyes wide)
I just met your son.

ON TED

Who has leapt out of bed and is scrambling into his pants.

TED
Like that?!

Phyllis nods.

TED
And?

PHYLLIS
He wanted to know if I liked fried
chicken.

TED
Do you?

Phyllis nods rather frantically.

TED
(grinning)
So what's your problem?

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – KRAMER APT. – EVENING

ON TED AND THELMA

Stand side by side. He is cutting, chopping, making some
kind of stew. Thelma stands nearby watching, sipping a glass
of white wine.

FROM OFF SCREEN we can hear Billy and Kim running around,
playing.

TED
You ever think about getting married
again?

THELMA
No, not really...
(she thinks for a
moment, then:)
I guess it's different if you don't
have children, but... I dunno, even
if Charley and I don't live together,
even if we're sleeping with other
people, even if Charley was to marry
again... He'd still be my husband.
That stuff about "Till death do you
part?" That's really true.

TED
(nodding toward a
cookbook that is
propped open nearby)
How many onions does it say to use?

THELMA
(without bothering to
look in the book)
Three. And add some basil.

TED
(as he does)
D'you think you and Charley'll ever
get back together again?

THELMA
No. I don't think so.

TED
C'mon, Thel. So Charley had a little
fling. So what? All in all he was a
pretty good husband.

THELMA
Look, I know this isn't gonna make
any sense, okay? I mean forget the
logic part... But I keep thinking if
Charley really loved me, he wouldn't
have let me divorce him.

CUT TO:

EXT. CENTRAL PARK – DAY

WIDE SHOT

The Saturday Father and his daughter, clearly with nothing
to say to one another, stand eating ices from a nearby vendor.
THE CAMERA PANS AWAY FROM THEM across to Billy, Ted and
Phyllis. She is dressed in a very nice suit, silk blouse,
high heeled shoes and looks distinctly out of place in Central
Park on a Saturday afternoon.

At the moment, Ted is trying to teach Billy how to bat.

TED
Now look, you hold it like this...
(he places Billy's
hands on the bat
just so)
...and you swing like this...
(taking him through
the motions)

ON PHYLLIS

Watching. She can't believe what she's seeing. Finally, she
can't stand it any longer.

PHYLLIS
(impatient)
No, no, no, Kramer. That's not how
you do it. Look...

She crosses to Billy, gently takes the bat from him and
demonstrates.

PHYLLIS
...you hold it like this...
(showing him her grip)
Farther down the bat. And you swing
like this...
(to Ted)
Throw me one.

ON TED

As he gives Billy a look that says, we have to humor her. He
throws a ball.

ON PHYLLIS

As she swings, connects and slams a ball in a long, looping
fly that goes at least two hundred feet.

ON TED

Watching the ball disappear in the distance, he turns back
to Phyllis, open-mouthed.

CLOSE ON PHYLLIS

Embarrassed, she grins, shrugs and hands the bat back to
Billy.

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

O'Connor, Murray and the Art Director are in O'Connor's office
as the door opens and Ted enters, carrying a pile of papers,
charts, graphs, etc., etc.

TED
Okay, Jim. Here's the report on...

He stops in mid-sentence, looks around.

HIS POV

On the walls are a series of mock-ups of the various Fire
and Ice ads, none of which are what Ted and O'Connor had
agreed upon.

TED
(surprised)
What the hell is this?

O'CONNOR
(innocent)
Murray had some ideas about the Fire
and Ice campaign and he had the art
department make up a few roughs...
(weakly)
I think they're kind of interesting.

TED
(bugged)
I don't. Jim, this isn't anything
like what we talked about. It's not
even close.

MURRAY
(oily)
Ted, basically it's still your
concept.

O'CONNOR
(chiming in)
Murray just added a few things, that's
all.

TED
Now hold it right there, I'm the one
that went in and sold Revlon on this
idea to start with, remember? You
said I was going to be –

Sound-effect: The phone rings.

O'Connor picks it up.

ON TED

O'CONNOR
Yeah?

He listens for a moment, then hands the phone to Ted.

O'CONNOR
It's for you.

ON TED

As he takes the receiver.

TED
(puzzled)
Yes?

Then, embarrassed, he turns his back and lowers his voice.

TED
Look, Billy, I told you before, one
hour of T.V. a day, that's the rule...
No...
(clearly, Billy is
giving him an argument)
I don't care what the other mothers
do... Listen, I can't talk now, I'm
in a meeting...
(firm)
Billy, I'll talk to you later, good-
bye.

Note: During the phone call, the CAMERA PANS AWAY to Murray
& O'connor, looks of bored Condescension and smug superiority
on their faces.

Ted hangs up the phone and turns back around.

MURRAY
(smooth)
Ted, I appreciate what you're saying,
but I really think you're just too
close to it right now.

O'CONNOR
(quickly)
Murray's right.
(reassuring)
Look it's just some ideas, okay? I
mean nothing's locked in cement. I
promise you this is your show...

ON TED

Not very reassured.

O'CONNOR
Trust me on this one, Ted...

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

Ted is sitting at the dining room table, working. Spread out
all across the table are layouts, rate sheets, etc., etc.
Billy sits across from him drawing on a pad with felt-tipped
pens. HOLD FOR A BEAT, then:

BILLY
(worried about
something)
Mom, I mean dad...

TED
(busy)
In a minute...

beat of silence then:

BILLY
What do you do when an elephant sits
on your fence?

Silence.

BILLY
You get a new fence.

TED
(he hasn't heard a
word)
C'mon, Billy. I'm trying to work for
God's sake...

Another beat of silence, then Billy reaches for his glass of
Hawaiian Punch and accidentally tips it over, spilling purple
liquid across all of Ted's papers.

Instantly, Ted is on his feet, yelling.

TED
Goddamnit, can't you watch what you're
doing!

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

BILLY
(quiet)
I'm sorry.

TED
Je-sus Christ! I catch all kind of
shit at the office because I'm not
pulling my weight because I'm busting
my butt trying to be a decent goddamn
father and –

BILLY
I'm sorry.

TED
(sardonic)
That's terrific. That's really
terrific, but I notice I'm the one
that's cleaning up this –
(noticing an important
paper covered with
grape juice)
Oh, crap, I'll have to do this one
over.

BILLY
(starting to help)
I'm sorry.

By now there is nothing the boy can do right.

TED
Look, it's after your bedtime, okay?
Just do me a favor and go to bed,
okay?

Billy gets to his feet, collects his stuff and walks into
his bedroom. HOLD ON TED who sits for a moment, then gets
wearily to his feet and as THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM crosses
to the door of Billy's room. He stops in the doorway, looks
OFF SCREEN.

HIS POV

Billy struggling to get his pajamas on, having a hard time.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

TED
Look, I'm sorry I yelled, okay?

BILLY
(quiet)
That's okay.

TED
It's just... I've been catching a
lot of flack at the office...

BILLY
That's okay...

INT. OFFICE – DAY

ON THE DOOR TO O'CONNOR'S OFFICE

As it opens and Phyllis comes out. In the background in
O'Connor's office we SEE O'Connor and Murray, talking,
laughing.

THE CAMERA TRACKS ALONGSIDE Phyllis as she walks to Ted
Kramer's office and opens the door without knocking.

PHYLLIS
How about lunch, Kramer. I'm buying.

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT, MIDTOWN – DAY

ON TED AND PHYLLIS

As they sit across from one another. A waiter stands over
them, setting drinks in front of them.

WAITER
Perrier and lime...
(placing a drink in
front of Phyllis)
...and scotch with soda.
(putting Ted's drink
in front of him)

The waiter bustles away.

TED
Okay, Phyllis, what's up?

PHYLLIS
Kramer...

She breaks off, uncertain whether or not to go on. Then,
making up her mind, she reaches across, takes Ted's scotch
and soda and drinks half of it down in one gulp.

PHYLLIS
(in a rush)
O'Connor's out to get you. He's going
to take the Fire and Ice account
away from you.

TED
(stunned)
What?!?

Phyllis nods.

TED
(angry)
I don't believe it! That's crazy!
Why would Jim do something like that?

Phyllis polishes off the rest of Ted's drink.

PHYLLIS
(angry herself)
You want to know why? I'll tell you
why...
(signaling to the
waiter)
Another scotch and soda for the
gentleman.
(back to Ted)
I'll tell you exactly why. Because
you're not his buddy anymore. Because
he can't count on you to sit around
the office every night until eight
or nine and shoot the shit with him.

TED
I can't. I've got Billy to take care
of.

PHYLLIS
(exasperated)
You dope. O'Connor doesn't give a
damn about Billy. All he wants is
somebody that'll hang around with
him every night so he won't have to
go home.

TED
(stiff)
I don't believe you.

The waiter sets Ted's drink on the table in front of him. He
starts to reach for it, but Phyllis is quicker.

PHYLLIS
(taking a stiff drink)
All right. Okay. But tell me
something, Kramer. Who do you think
is palling around with O'Connor these
days?

Ted shrugs.

TED
How should I know?

PHYLLIS
Murray.

REACTION, TED

Stunned, but trying to be nonchalant.

TED
So... what's so terrible about that?

PHYLLIS
(would like to take
him by the shoulders
and shake him until
his teeth rattle)
Oh, for God's sake, Kramer. You have
got to be the world's most naive
human being.
(leaning forward)
Murray has gone in and changed every
single ad you've done on the entire
Fire and Ice campaign. Every layout...
Every idea... Every single thing,
right down the line.

TED
No. No, I don't believe it. Jim
O'Connor would never let anything
like that happen. He gave me my shot
in this business. If it wasn't for
Jim O'Connor I'd be – I don't know
where I'd be. He's a wonderful man...

PHYLLIS
(apologetic for having
upset Ted)
Kramer, I'm sorry. All I was trying
to do was –

TED
(cutting her off)
I don't want to hear another word
against him. Not another word. He's
a wonderful man... a wonderful man...

CUT TO:

INT. TED KRAMER'S OFFICE – DAY

INSERT: The finished proof of the ad that Murray had done,
that Ted had seen in O'Connor's office.

ON TED

TRACKING WITH HIM as he steams out of his door and marches
along the corridor to O'Connor's office.

SECRETARY
(as Ted brushes past
her)
I'm sorry, Mr. O'Connor is in
conference.

But it is too late. Ted barrels into O'Connor's office without
bothering to knock.

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – DAY

O'Connor is alone in the office. He looks up startled as Ted
comes barging in.

TED
(furious)
All right, Jim. You said I was running
this show, right? You said no
decisions without my approval, right?
(brandishing the ad)
Well what the hell is this? What's
going on, Jim?

O'CONNOR
(embarrassed)
Well, ah... I thought it over and I
decided we're doing it Murray's way.

TED
Jim, this is garbage. This isn't
anything like what we talked to Revlon
about. None of it. You can't –

O'CONNOR
(tough)
That's my decision, Ted and that's
final.

CUT TO:

INT. DINING AREA – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

ON BILLY

Who sits looking down at the plate of food in front of him
as though it was a coiled rattlesnake about to strike.

BILLY
What is it?

ON TED

Preoccupied, jumpy. He is eating, but he doesn't taste a
thing.

TED
Salisbury steak.

BILLY
I hate it.

TED
You don't hate it. We had Salisbury
steak last week and you liked it
fine.

BILLY
(stubborn)
No I didn't. I hate the brown stuff.
It's gross.

TED
(strained patience)
All it is is onions and gravy.

BILLY
I'm allergic to onions.

TED
You are not allergic of onions. You've
had them lots of times.

BILLY
(sullen)
I want a pizza.

TED
(trying not to lose
patience)
No. This is fine. Just take a bite,
you'll like it fine.

Reluctantly, Billy takes a tiny bite. He barely puts it in
his mouth before he spits it out with a great show of being
physically ill.

BILLY
I think I'm going to throw up.

TED
(getting pissed off)
Oh, for God's sake... Here.

He reaches across and scrapes most of the sauce off of the
meat.

TED
There, okay? Now that's just plain
old hamburger.

BILLY
Some of the brown stuff is still
there.

TED
(through clenched
teeth)
Then eat around it.

BILLY
No.

TED
(anger building)
Now listen to me, young man. Do you
know what I had to go through to put
this goddamn food on the goddamn
table?

BILLY
(obstinate)
I don't care. I hate it. I want pizza.

TED
(blowing up)
Not on your life. That's it. I've
had it with crap around this house.
From now on, no more pizza! Get it?
Starting right now you can eat real
food like a normal human being!

BILLY
No!

By now both of them are out of control.

TED
You want to know something?! You are
a spoiled selfish little brat! Now
eat –

Billy takes his plate and looking his father straight in the
eye deliberately overturns it, spilling food everywhere.

ON TED

He is out of his chair like a shot, crosses to Billy and
jerks him to his feet.

TED
(yelling)
Goddamnit! Go to your room!

He half-carries, half-drags the child kicking and screaming
into his room. THE CAMERA TRACKS ALONGSIDE THEM.

BILLY
(at the top of his
voice)
Owwww... You're hurting me... You're
hurting me... I hate you... I hate
you...

TED
(seething)
You're no bargain either, pal.

BILLY
I want my mommy... I want my mommy..

By now they have reached Billy's room. Ted dumps him on the
bed unceremoniously and starts out of the room.

BILLY
(sobbing)
I want my... mm... ommy... I want
mmmy... mommy...

TED
(at the door)
Tough shit. You're stuck with me.

And he slams the door behind him.

CUT TO:

WIDE SHOT

The dining area. Ted sits down and tries to resume his meal
alone.

BILLY (O.S.)
(sobbing, fighting to
catch his breath)
I want my... mmmo... mmmy. I want
mmmy mmo... mmy...

CLOSER IN ON TED

As he lifts his glass to take a drink and we can SEE that he
is shaking like a leaf.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

ON TED

As he finishes doing the last of the dishes, dries his hands
and looks around to make sure that everything has been put
away. He flips off the light and, as THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH
HIM, he walks from room to room, turning off the lights,
until he reaches the door to Billy's room which is still
closed. Ted hesitates for a moment, then eases open the door
and steps inside.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – NIGHT

TED'S POV

Billy lies sprawled across the bed, all tangled up in the
covers.

ON TED

As he crosses to the sleeping child and starts to straighten
the covers.

BILLY
(tentatively)
Daddy?

TED
(all anger gone)
Yeah?

BILLY
I'm sorry...

TED
(kisses him)
That's okay, pal. Go back to sleep.
It's very late.

He starts to get up, when:

BILLY
Daddy?

TED
Uh huh?

BILLY
(very quiet)
Are you... gonna go... away?

ON TED

Stunned at the question.

TED
Of course I'm not going away. I love
you very much. I'll be right here.

There is a beat of silence, then:

BILLY
(it comes pouring out)
That's why mommy left... isn't it?
'Cause I was bad...

The boy begins to weep.

TED
(he puts his arm around
Billy and holds him
close)
Oh, Christ... Oh, Christ...
(he thinks for a
moment, then:)
No, pal. Your mom loves you very
much. The reason she left didn't
have anything to do with you.
(pause, this is very
painful)
Look, I don't know if this will make
any sense to you, okay? But I'll try
and explain. You see the reason your
mom left was because... Well, I guess
it was because I kept trying to make
her into a certain kind of person...
Make her be the way I thought a wife
was supposed to be. Only she wasn't
like that. She was...
(smiles to himself)
Well, she wasn't like that. And now,
when I think about it, I can see she
tried very hard to be like I wanted
– very hard. And when she couldn't,
then she tried to tell me about it.
Only I wouldn't listen. I guess I
thought that if I was happy, that
meant she was happy too. Only she
wasn't. The truth is, the only reason
she didn't leave a lot sooner was
because she loves you so much. Joanna
stayed until she couldn't stand me
any longer and then she left... But
it wasn't you, pal. It wasn't you.

There is a long beat of silence as Billy thinks about this.

Clearly an enormous burden has been lifted from his shoulders.

Finally:

BILLY
Is mom ever coming back?

TED
You mean for good?

Billy nods.

TED
I don't think so.

BILLY
(thoughtfully)
Oh...

Ted gets to his feet, starts for the door.

TED
Now go to sleep. It's very late.

BILLY
Good night.

TED
Sleep tight.

BILLY
Don't let the bedbugs bite.

TED
See you in the morning light.

BILLY
Dad?

Ted pauses in the doorway, smiles.

TED
Yes?

BILLY
I love you...

CUT TO:

EXT. CENTRAL PARK – DAY

SERIES OF TRACKING SHOTS

As Ted runs along beside Billy, who is learning to ride a
bike.

Then, in the last shot, Ted lets go of the bike and runs
along just behind. Slowly as Billy gains confidence he speeds
up, leaving Ted farther and farther behind. Finally, as Billy
glances over his shoulders.

CUT TO:

TED'S POV

As the boy, by now a considerable distance away, turns and
waves.

ON TED

Waving back, a grin of enormous pride on his face. He glances
around, embarrassed to make sure no one is watching and wipes
tears from his eyes.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON A BUS

As it pulls to a stop and a mob of mothers and children get
off.

Among them we spot Billy and Ted Kramer. THE CAMERA PANS
WITH THEM as they cross the street and enter the school
building. THE CAMERA CONTINUES IT'S PAN across the street,
to a Coffee Shop with large plate glass windows facing the
school. There, standing in the window, watching, is Joanna
Kramer. HOLD AS THE CAMERA SLOWLY ZOOMS IN ON HER and we SEE
a look of overwhelming pain on her face.

CUT TO:

EXT. PLAYGROUND, CENTRAL PARK – AFTERNOON

ON TED AND THELMA

Sitting on a bench, the area around them is stacked high
with toys that the kids have brought with them to the park.

OFF SCREEN we can HEAR Billy and Kim racing around, playing.

TED
(a little too casual)
Thel, you ever hear from Joanna?

THELMA
(also with deliberate
nonchalance)
Not for a couple of months. The last
time I heard from her she was living
in San Francisco.

TED
(surprised)
California?

THELMA
(watching him)
Uh, huh... She said she had a good
job, was playing a lot of tennis.
She wanted to know all about Billy.

There is a beat of silence, then:

TED
(the real question)
She ever ask about me?

THELMA
(lying)
Uh, huh... Yeah...

TED
What d'you tell her?

THELMA
I told her you're doing a pretty
good job.

BILLY (O.S.)
Daddy! Daddy!

Ted glances around:

HIS POV

Billy and Kim are standing near the jungle Jim. Billy has a
toy airplane in his hand.

BILLY
Daddy, look! Presenting Billy Kramer's
Fantastic Superjet!

And he begins to race around the area, making jet noises and
holding the airplane in his hand.

REVERSE ON TED

Watching him, smiling.

ON BILLY

Weaving in and around the benches. He turns and starts back
towards Ted. As he does:

QUICK CUT: INSERT:

Billy's foot, as he trips.

ON BILLY

As he starts to fall, still holding onto the airplane.

QUICK CUT: TED

Watching, horrified.

ON BILLY

As he hits the concrete.

ON TED

He leaps to his feet, starts toward the boy.

ON BILLY

As he looks up.

JUMP CUT IN TO EXTREME CLOSEUP

There is a terrible-looking gash running from his cheek into
his hairline.

Kim screams at the sight of the blood.

BILLY
(terrified)
Daddy!

CUT TO:

EXT. ENTRANCE TO CENTRAL PARK – AFTERNOON

ON THE ENTRANCE

As Ted, carrying Billy, wrapped in his coat, comes barreling
out of the park, nearly knocking over several people with
shopping bags, and begins running like hell WITH THE CAMERA
TRACKING JUST IN FRONT OF HIM. In the BACKGROUND we SEE Thelma
and Kim chasing after him. THE LENGTH OF THE TRACKING SHOT
SHOULD BE MUCH LONGER THAN WE EXPECT. IT SHOULD, IN FACT,
COVER THE THREE CITY BLOCKS BETWEEN THE KRAMER APARTMENT AND
THE HOSPITAL, ACROSS STREETS WITHOUT STOPPING FOR THE LIGHT,
ALONG CROWDED SIDEWALKS WITHOUT STOPPING, ENDING FINALLY ON
THE EMERGENCY ENTRANCE TO THE HOSPITAL. IT MUST BE GENUINELY
SUPERHUMAN, GENUINELY HEROIC.

CUT TO:

INT. EXAMINATION ROOM, EMERGENCY SECTION, HOSPITAL – DAY

ON TED KRAMER

He is covered with Billy's blood, it is on his face, his
shirt, his trousers. At the moment 'he stands helpless,
watching as, Off-Screen, a surgeon examines Billy's wound.

SURGEON (O.S.)
(calm, reassuring)
That's good, Billy... That's a brave
boy... Now then, how's that? Now
we've cleaned it out...

WIDER SHOT

Billy lies on the examining table with the doctor bending
over him.

SURGEON
There. That wasn't so bad, was it?

Billy doesn't say anything.

SURGEON
Now then, you just wait here, Billy.
I want to talk to your dad for a
minute.

The doctor motions for Thelma to wait with Billy and he
crosses to Ted who stands in the doorway.

CLOSER IN ON THEN

SURGEON
(low voice, again
calm and reassuring)
Your boy is very lucky, Mr. Kramer.
One inch over and it would have caught
the eye.

REACTION TED

SURGEON
But I'm going to have to take some
stitches.

TED
(flat)
How many?

SURGEON
Ten.

Ted closes his eyes, there is a sharp intake of breath.

SURGEON
Because of the position of the wound
and your son's age, I don't think
there will be much of a scar.
Otherwise I'd call in a plastic
surgeon.

Ted nods.

SURGEON
Now, I'd advise you to wait outside.
It'll be eas –

TED
(like a shot)
No.

SURGEON
(reasonable)
Mr. Kramer, there's –

TED
(softly, but with
real vehemence)
Fuck you. He's my son. I'm staying
with him.

CUT TO:

CLOSE ON TED

He holds his son tightly while the doctor stitches up the
boy's wound. From THIS CAMERA ANGLE we can SEE Ted's face,
but only the back of Billy's head. Although we do not see
the stitches being made, we do SEE the doctor's hand, with
the needle and surgical thread as it moves into and out of
view with a slow, steady rhythm. Billy's hand clutches Ted's
so tightly that the knuckles are white.

BILLY
(softly, as each stitch
is taken)
Ohhh... Ohhhh... Ohhhhh...

TED
(whispering to his
child)
It's okay, son... I'm here... Just a
little more to go... Don't worry,
son... I'm here...

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

It is late, only a few lights are still on.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – NIGHT

ON BILLY

He lies in bed, fast asleep, his head swathed in bandages.
THE CAMERA PANS AWAY FROM HIM across to Ted, who sits in a
nearby rocking chair, watching his son. HOLD FOR A BEAT,
then Ted gets to his feet, walks quietly to the door and
steps out into the hall, closing the door behind him.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Thelma having washed and dried the dishes is now wiping off
the top of the counter top, more to keep busy than anything
else. She looks around as Ted enters.

THELMA
How is he?

REVERSE ON TED

Standing in the doorway. He hasn't changed his clothes and
he is still covered with blood.

TED
(nods)
He's okay... Thel, can I ask you a
favor?

THELMA
Sure.

TED
I don't mean a little favor. I mean
a big F favor.

Thelma nods. She watches Ted closely. He doesn't look at
her.

TED
Thelma, if I die –

THELMA
(aghast)
What?

TED
(quickly)
I didn't say I'm going to die, but
if I should –

THELMA
(deeply upset)
Don't say that! I don't want to hear
you say that!

TED
(firmly)
Thel, listen to me. If, on the million
to one shot that I should –
(correcting himself)
That anything should happen to me.
Would you take care of Billy?

THELMA
(amazed)
Me?! You want me to take care of
Billy?!

TED
I thought about it a lot and you're
the only person I know that I trust
with him. I mean, if anything happened
to me, he'd be okay with you. You're
a good mother.

Silence. Thelma looks away from him.

TED
(hastily)
I know it's not an easy thing to
answer.

Silence. She still cannot look at him.

TED
Look, if it's too much responsibility
–

Thelma nods, unable to speak.

TED
You're sure?

She nods again.

TED
Thank you, Thel. Thank you very much.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – EARLY MORNING

MEDIUM SHOT ON BILLY

As he lies in bed asleep. Some time has passed and Billy's
bandage is much smaller. HOLD ON HIM as we HEAR OFF SCREEN
Sound: From the street below, the regular six-forty-five
garbage truck that serves as Billy's alarm clock.

HOLD ON BILLY

As he wakes up, struggles to his feet.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM as, eyes closed, he stumbles into
the bathroom, pees, and still not remembering to flush the
toilet walks into the bedroom and wakes his father. As the
child turns and walks toward the kitchen, THE CAMERA HOLDS
ON TED. He heaves himself to his feet and, eyes closed, in
much the same manner as his son, stumbles into the bathroom.
He automatically flushes the toilet without bothering to
look, walks into the living room, opens the front door and
picks up the paper. As he starts into the kitchen, he meets
Billy coming the other way carrying two plates, a doughnut
on each.

THE CAMERA NOW TRACKS WITH BILLY as he walks into the living
room, carefully sets the plates on the dining table, crosses
to the television set, and turns it on. He returns to the
table, and sits down as Ted appears carrying two glasses of
orange juice and vitamins. He takes a seat in the chair
opposite Billy and opens his paper and starts to read.

HOLD ON THEM as they sit without talking, eating their
breakfast – the only sound, a children's cartoon program
coming from the T.V.

From time to time Ted glances up from his paper to look across
at the cartoon.

HOLD ON THEM as we SEE that they have become roommates in
the best sense of the word.

EXT. TED'S OFFICE BLDG. – MIDTOWN – DAY

WIDE SHOT

It is a gray, cloudy day in mid-November. Snow is falling.

Sound-effect: a telephone ringing. Then:

TED'S VOICE
Hello?

JOANNA'S VOICE
Ted?

TED'S VOICE
Joanna?

CUT TO:

INT. RESTAURANT, ISLE OF CAPRI – NIGHT

ON THE DOOR

As Ted enters, looks around. The Maitre d'hotel approaches.
From his attitude, it is clear that Ted and Joanna were
regular customers.

MAITRE D'HOTEL
Good evening, Mr. Kramer. We haven't
seen you for a long time. Mrs. Kramer,
she waits for you in the back.

TED
Thank you, John.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH TED as he walks toward the back room
of the restaurant. Several waiters approach and say hello,
the piano player looks up and smiles. As he reaches the door
to the back room.

CUT TO:

INT. BACK ROOM

TED'S POV – JOANNA

She sits against the wall, a glass of white wine in front of
her.

She is dressed simply and no longer has a tan. Nevertheless,
Joanna is still stunningly beautiful. HOLD ON HER FOR A BEAT
as she looks up, smiles.

ON TED

He stands watching her, his knees weak. It is impossible not
to fall in love with her all over again.

TWO SHOT

As he crosses to her table, sits down.

JOANNA
Hello, Ted. You look well.

TED
So do you.

The waiter appears, carrying a scotch and soda. He sets it
down on the table in front of Ted.

WAITER
The usual, Mr. Kramer.

TED
(not taking his eyes
off Joanna)
Thanks, Gino.

The waiter nods and promptly disappears.

JOANNA
How's the new job?

TED
Fine.

There is a self-conscious pause. From the bar, the piano
player begins playing a new song. From Ted and Joanna's
reaction, it is clearly a song that has meant a great deal
to them in the past.

They listen for a moment, then:

TED
Look at us, Joanna. Just like any
old married couple having dinner.
Who would believe it.

JOANNA
Yes... How's Billy?

ON TED

The question he has been dreading.

TED
He's great... except...
(not looking at her)
...Except he had... he fell and he
cut his face. He... He has a scar,
Joanna, from about here to here.
(indicating where and
how big)

There is a beat of silence. A moment of shared feeling.

TED
(he has to say it to
someone)
I can't help but feel somehow...
it's my fault. I keep thinking I
could've done something – stopped
it...

JOANNA
You can't tell it from a distance,
Ted.

For the first time he looks up at her.

TED
What?

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

JOANNA
I've seen him.

TED
You have?

JOANNA
A few times. Sometimes I sit in that
coffee shop across the street and
watch when you take him to school.

ON TED

Speechless.

JOANNA
He looks like a terrific kid.

TED
He is...
(he still can't get
over it)
You sat in that coffee shop across
from school –

JOANNA
(completing the
sentence)
Watching my son... Ted, I've been
living in New York for the past two
months.

TED
(amazed)
You've been living here, in the city?

JOANNA
(a deep breath)
Ted... The reason I wanted to see
you... I want Billy back.

TED
You want what?!

JOANNA
(firm)
I want my son. I'm through sitting
in coffee shops looking at him from
across the street. I want my son.

TED
Are you out of your mind?! You're
the one that walked out on him,
remember?

JOANNA
(trying to explain)
Ted, listen to me... You and I, we
had a really crappy marriage –
(hastily)
Look, don't get so defensive, okay?
It was probably as much my fault as
it was yours... Anyway when I left I
was really screwed up –

TED
Joanna, I don't give a –

JOANNA
(she will be heard)
Ted, all my life I'd either been
somebody's daughter or somebody's
wife, or somebody else's mother.
Then all of a sudden, I was a thirty-
two-year-old, highly neurotic woman
who had just walked out on her husband
and child. I went to California
because that was about as far away
as I could get. Only... I guess it
wasn't far enough. So I started going
to a shrink.
(leaning forward,
very sincere)
Ted, I've had time to think. I've
been through some changes. I've
learned a lot about myself.

TED
(like a shot)
Such as?

Silence.

TED
(boring in)
Come on, Joanna, what did you learn?
I'd really like to know.

Silence.

TED
(relentless)
One thing, okay? Just tell me one
goddam thing you've learned.

There is a beat of silence, then:

JOANNA
(quiet, determined)
I've learned that I want my son.

ON TED

He reacts as though he has been slapped.

TED
Joanna, go be a mother. Get married,
have kids. Don't get married, have
kids. Do whatever you want. I don't
give a damn. Just leave me out of it
– and leave my baby out of it.

JOANNA
Ted, if you can't discuss this
rationally -

TED
(getting to his feet)
Joanna, go fuck yourself!

And with that he turns on his heels and stalks out of the
restaurant.

CUT TO:

INT. LAWYER'S OFFICE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

A large, very plush office: lots of antiques, beautiful
nineteenth century paintings on the wall along with
autographed photographs of at least three ex-Presidents of
the United States. Sitting behind a large and imposing desk
is JOHN SHAUNESSY, a handsome, formidable man in his early
sixties. He is well-dressed, a cornflower in his buttonhole,
that sort of thing. At the moment, Shaunessy leans back in
his chair as Ted finishes his story.

TED
(leaning forward,
intense)
Look, she walked out on her own child,
right? That's desertion, right? Mr.
Shaunessy, I'm telling you it's an
open and shut case.

SHAUNESSY
First, there's no such thing as an
open and shut case. Especially where
custody is involved. Got it?

Ted nods.

SHAUNESSY
Second, the burden is on us to prove
your ex-wife is an unfit mother.
That means I'm going to have to play
rough and, if I play rough, you can
bet they will too. Can you take that,
Mr. Kramer?

Ted nods.

SHAUNESSY
Third, it'll cost you five thousand
dollars.

REACTION TED

That's an astronomical amount of money to him.

SHAUNESSY
That's if we win. If we lose, you
could end up having to pay your wife's
court costs as well.

TED
(determined)
Fine.

SHAUNESSY
Good. You've hired yourself a hell
of a lawyer, Mr. Kramer.
(down to business)
How old is the child?

TED
Six.

ON SHAUNESSY

He shakes his head.

SHAUNESSY
That's tough. In most cases involving
a child that young, the court tends
to side with the mother.

ON TED

Agitated. This is not what he wanted to hear.

TED
But she signed over custody. Here...

He digs in his pockets, pulls out a piece of paper and thrusts
it at the lawyer.

SHAUNESSY
(glancing at it)
I'm not saying we don't have a shot,
but it won't be easy...
(thinks for a moment)
Mr. Kramer, do me a favor. There is
something I find very helpful in
matters like this. I sit down and
make a list of all the pros and cons
on an issue. I actually write them
down and look at them. I want you to
do that, okay? Then, after that, if
you're really sure you want to retain
custody of your child – then we'll
go in there and whip their asses.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – LATE AT NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Ted sits at the dining table, the supper dishes have been
pushed aside. He has a legal pad in front of him and is
writing. THE CAMERA DOLLIES IN CLOSER.

INSERT – TED'S POV

The legal pad. On one side Ted has written "Pro" and on the
other, "Con." Underneath "Con" Ted has written a long list
of the drawbacks involved in keeping Billy: Sex Life, Money,
Possibility of Remarriage, Sleep, Emotional Dependence. The
"Pro" side of the list is empty.

ON TED

He sits for a moment, staring at the list, then he crumples
the paper, gets to his feet.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – NIGHT

ON THE DOOR

As Ted enters. He crosses to Billy's bed where the child is
fast asleep, sits down on the edge, and starts to rub the
child's back.

TED
I love you Billy Kramer.

BILLY
(half-asleep)
I love you too daddy.

Ted kisses the child, gets to his feet and starts toward the
door.

TED
Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs
bite...

BILLY
(almost asleep again)
See you in the morning light...

CUT TO:

INT. O'CONNOR'S OFFICE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

O'Connor stands with his back to Ted, looking out the window.
From the beginning this is clearly an awkward and unpleasant
moment.

O'CONNOR
(scared to do what he
is about to do)
Look, ah... Ted. I just got word
from the guys at Revlon and... ah
they did some marketing tests on our
campaign and the results were...

CLOSE ON TED

Hold on him listening as it slowly dawns on him that he is
being fired.

O'CONNOR
(stiff)
Disappointing. It only pulled a
fourteen share and they were hoping
for a twenty five minimum, and...
ah... they're not very happy and...
Well, the guys have decided they
want to... ah, re-think the entire
concept and... Look, I don't like
having to do this, okay?... But... I
mean, what I mean is... ah, I'm going
to have to... ah, let you go –

TED
(not really sure he
heard right)
Are you firing me, Jim?

ON O'CONNOR

He still has his back to Ted.

O'CONNOR
C'mon, Ted, don't get emotional.
Okay?
(whining)
Look, this isn't exactly an easy
thing for me to do, y'know? I swear
Murray and I did everything we could,
but those sons of bitches were out
for blood. I mean it was all I could
do to keep the account inside the
shop... Look, I promise, if I hear
of anything I'll let you know first
thing.

Ted, I want – O'Connor looks around.

O'CONNOR
Ted?...

HIS POV

The room is empty, the door stands open and Ted is gone.

O'CONNOR'S VOICE
Ted?...

CUT TO:

INT. TED'S OFFICE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

As Ted grabs a picture of Billy from his desk, takes his
jacket and coat and stalks out the door.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

TRACKING ALONGSIDE TED

As he walks along the street in a state of total shock. Behind
him, in the windows of expensive stores we note Christmas
decorations.

CUT TO:

INT. INTERVIEW ROOM, EMPLOYMENT AGENCY – DAY

WIDE SHOT

Ted sits across from the interviewer, a polished young man
in his middle twenties, very efficient, he sounds a bit like
a tape recording.

INTERVIEWER
(glancing at a form
Ted has filled out)
Ummm, hmmm... umm, hmmm...
(the good news)
Well, this looks very good.. Of course
(the bad news)
...you understand this is the worst
time of the year to look for a job.

TED
(panic)
What?! What do you mean, I don't
understand.

INTERVIEWER
(patronizing)
Mr. Kramer, nobody even thinks about
leaving their job until after they
get their Christmas bonus.

TED
Look, you don't understand. I need a
job. I've got a kid and –

INTERVIEWER
(smooth)
I understand and I'm absolutely sure
something wonderful will turn up...
(ending any further
discussion)
...after the first of the year.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON A TELEPHONE BOOTH

Ted stands inside, talking on the phone. AS THE CAMERA DOLLIES
IN CLOSER, he hangs up the receiver and takes the employment
section of the New York Times which is filled with listings
he has circled and crosses off one. He goes on to the next,
takes a dime from the stack on the shelf in front of him and
starts to dial.

CUT TO:

EXT. TED KRAMER'S APT. HOUSE – EVENING

ESTABLISHING SHOT

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

ON TED

Who stands at the sink doing the last of the dishes. A
dishtowel is tucked into his belt, serving as an apron. HOLD
ON HIM as we HEAR:

Sound-effect: The phone ringing.

Ted wipes his hands, picks up the phone.

TED
Uh, huh?

SECRETARY'S VOICE
(from the phone)
Mr. Kramer? Please hold for Mr.
Shaunessy...

Then, a moment later:

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
Ted? They've set the court date. I
just heard today... It's...
(checking his notes)
January sixth.

TED
(despair)
Oh, Christ.. .John, there's some-
thing I ought to tell you. My... ah,
situation has... changed. I lost my
job.

There is a long pause, too long.

TED
John?

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
(thoughtfully)
Ted, I won't lie to you, we don't
have a hope in hell of winning a
custody hearing if you're out of
work.

Ted doubles over the phone like he has been hit in the
stomach.

TED
(softly, but with
real feeling)
Good Christ, Joanna, just get the
hell out of my life.

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
Ted? Are you there?

TED
Yeah.

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
Any prospects?

TED
(trying to make himself
believe it)
Don't worry. I plan to have something
within twenty-four hours, John.

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
(amazed)
How the hell are you going to do
that?

TED
(grim)
I don't know.

INT. INTERVIEW ROOM – EMPLOYMENT AGENCY – DAY

WIDE SHOT

The same young man sits across the desk from Ted.

INTERVIEWER
(smirk)
Mis-ter Kramer, as I mentioned
yesterday, this is a very bad time
of year to look for work. Now I'm
sure we'll have something for you by
mid-February, March at the latest.

CLOSE ON TED

Leaning forward, impatient.

TED
I need a job, now.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

The interviewer gives Ted a weary look. Then he starts to
flip through the card file.

INTERVIEWER
(going through the
motions)
No... No... No...

Finally he pauses at one card, pulls it out.

INTERVIEWER
(doubtfully)
There might be something at J. Walter
Thompson. But...
(shaking his head)
...I don't think they're really
serious. The position's been open
for two months and...
(shrugs)
They may just be on a fishing
expedition.
(cheerful)
I'm sure you'll be much happier if
you wait until after the first –

TED
(checking his watch)
Call up the people at J. Walter
Thompson. Set up an appointment at
four.

INTERVIEWER
(politeness strained
almost to the breaking
point)
Mis-ter Kramer, it's...
(checking his watch)
...almost four now. It's the Friday
before Christmas. Nobody is going to
want to –

TED
(leaning forward,
tough as nails)
Either you call and set up the
appointment, or I'll call. And if I
call, you lose the commission.

INTERVIEWER
(arch)
My, we are a hot shot aren't we?

Ted is already on his feet and halfway out the door.

TED
You bet your ass.

CUT TO:

INT. OFFICE ADVERTISING MANAGER, J. WALTER THOMPSON – LATE
AFTERNOON

It is dark outside and the lights are on in the office. From
beyond the door, we can hear the sounds of a Christmas office
party in full swing.

ON JACK ACKERMAN

The advertising manager. A balding man in his mid-forties,
he wears a suit, complete with vest. At the moment he sits
behind his desk listening to Ted's spiel, from time to time
he glances at the resume on the desk in front of him.

TED (O.S.)
So, Mr. Ackerman, as you can see
from my resume, my experience in
setting up the leisure package concept
means that I've spent a lot of time
working along the same lines as your
multiple buys and your regional
advertising ideas. I know the
pitfalls, but – and this is more
important – I know the potential
revenue for the company inherent in
these programs.

ON TED

As he finishes. He sits back, pleased with himself.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

ACKERMAN
Well, Mr. Kramer, I must say this
has been very impressive. I'd like
to think about it and get back to
you.

TED
(leaning forward)
Mr. Ackerman, is there anyone else
that I should see before you come to
a decision.

ACKERMAN
Mr. Spencer, our Advertising Director.

TED
(no time to waste)
Could I see him right away?

ACKERMAN
(taken aback)
I'm sorry, but he's leaving this
evening for a two-week vacation.
I'll set up something the moment he
gets back.

He gets to his feet, starts to shake Ted's hand, ready to
end the interview.

TED
I'd like to see him now – before he
leaves.

ACKERMAN
Mr. Kramer, I don't think –

TED
(means it)
I want this position very much.

Ackerman gives Ted a long, considered look, then:

ACKERMAN
Wait here.

He turns and goes out the door.

CUT TO:

INT. OUTER OFFICE, J. WALTER THOMPSON – LATE AFTERNOON

The large room is crowded with secretaries, junior executives,
researchers, editors, ad-men, etc., etc. They all have drinks
in their hands and there is a good deal of kissing and general
conviviality going on.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH ACKERMAN as he steps out of his office,
closes the door behind him and makes his way across the room
to MR. SPENCER, the Advertising Director. At the moment,
Spencer stands with his coat over one arm and a drink in his
hand talking to a very pretty young woman. Ackerman approaches
him, whispers something in his ear. Spencer shakes his head
and points to his watch. Ackerman says something else and
finally, with a look of weary resignation, Spencer excuses
himself from the pretty young woman and follows Ackerman
back to his office. THE CAMERA FOLLOWS THEM. As Ackerman
opens the door to his office, THE CAMERA IS ANGLED so that
we can SEE past them, into the office where Ted stands
waiting.

ACKERMAN
(as they enter)
Mr. Spencer, Mr. Kramer.

SPENCER
(not wasting any time)
So you're the go-getter. All right,
you've got ten minutes.

As the door closes behind them, blocking our view, THE CAMERA
PANS UP to a clock over the door. It reads five-fifteen.

MATCH DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ACKERMAN'S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

ON A CLOCK

Which now reads five twenty-two. THE CAMERA PULLS BACK TO
REVEAL Spencer, now sitting in Ackerman's chair, his feet on
Ackerman's desk. Ted has just finished his pitch.

SPENCER
(sipping his drink)
That's very interesting, Mr. Kramer.
I must say, it's very interesting.
Let me think about it. I'll let
Jack...
(indicating Ackerman)
...know and he'll get in touch with
you.

Spencer gets to his feet, starts to retrieve his coat.

ON TED

As he decides to take a gamble.

TED
Excuse me, I believe you said I had
ten minutes.

ON SPENCER

Almost at the door, looking around.

SPENCER
Well?

ON TED

Checking his watch.

TED
That means I've got two minutes left.
I understand you're paying twenty-
five.

Spencer nods.

TED
(a deep breath, then
a real huckster)
All right, I'll tell you what I'm
gonna do – I'll take the job at twenty-
two-five. Now, that's twenty-five
hundred less than you're offering.
The only thing is, you have to say
yes right now. Not tomorrow. Not
next week. Not after the holidays.
It's worth it to me for a yes right
now and I'll take twenty-five hundred
less.

There is a long beat of silence as Spencer and Ackerman look
at one another. They were clearly not prepared for this.

TED
(watching them)
Today only. One day only. Twenty-two
five.

SPENCER
Mr. Kramer, can we talk privately
for a moment?

TED
Certainly.

CUT TO:

OUTER OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

ON TED

As he steps out of Ackerman's office, sits down. Now, all of
the fear, all of the anxiety that he has been fighting down
comes welling up. What if he pushed too hard? What will he
do if he doesn't get a job? If Ted Kramer could fall to his
knees and pray, he would.

CROSS-CUT WITH THE CHRISTMAS PARTY

That swirls around him. We notice in particular, one very
pretty young woman flirting with a number of men. She is
wearing a dress with straps, one of them has broken and she
has patched it with a piece of masking tape.

Finally the door to Ackerman's office opens and he steps
out.

ACKERMAN
Mr. Kramer?

Ted jumps to his feet, starts into the office.

CUT TO:

INT. ACKERMAN'S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON

ON SPENCER

He looks at Ted carefully for a long time, then:

SPENCER
(grins)
Welcome aboard, Mr. Kramer.

CLOSEUP TED

There is an instant of relief, then, with astounding cool:

TED
Well, gentlemen, I'm pleased to be
with you.

ANOTHER ANGLE

As they shake hands, say their good-byes. THE CAMERA TRACKS
WITH TED as he makes his way through the Christmas party
that is still going strong. Then, suddenly, as he passes the
very pretty woman we noticed earlier, he turns and kisses
her.

QUICK CUTS

As a look passes between them, a sudden chemistry, something
we have not seen in Ted before.

TED
(steps back from the
astounded girl, grins)
Merry Christmas.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON A BUS

As it pulls to a stop, the doors open and, along with the
usual flood of mothers and children we SEE Ted and Billy.
THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH THEM as they walk to school. Billy is
talking a mile a minute, describing in minute detail the
plot of an episode of "I Dream of Jeannie." Ted listens
intently, then, almost involuntarily, he glances over his
shoulder in the direction of the Coffee Shop.

HIS POV

There, standing in the window, watching, is Joanna.

ON TED AND BILLY

As they continue to walk. Ted's eyes remain on Joanna. As
they reach the door to the school, Ted looks at his son.

TED
(kissing Billy goodbye)
You're a terrific kid, Billy Kramer.

He stands watching as Billy rushes off into the building.
Then he turns back and once again looks in the direction of
the Coffee Shop.

HIS POV

This time there is no one there.

CUT TO:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – NIGHT

ESTABLISHING SHOT

HOLD FOR A BEAT as we HEAR:

OFF SCREEN Sound: A telephone ringing. Then, a moment later:

TED'S VOICE
Hello?

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
Ted? John Shaunessy here. I just got
a call from your wife's lawyer. She
wants to see the kid.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

Ted Kramer, the phone cradled against his ear is cleaning up
the remains of one of Billy's attempts to make the perfect
peanut butter sandwich.

CLOSE ON TED

Horrified.

TED
What?! She wants what?!

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
(he's been through
this a million times)
She's the mother. That means she's
within her legal rights.

TED
(agitated)
John, what if she kidnaps him. I've
heard all these –

SHAUNESSY
(the patience of a
saint)
Look, Ted, I don't honestly think
she would go to the trouble of suing
you for custody of the child if she
was planning on kidnapping him.

TED
(doubtful)
I don't know, John... I mean, to be
brutally honest, I'm not so sure
what kind of mental shape Joanna's
in right now. Y'know she admitted
she was seeing a shrink.

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
(a flicker of interest)
You ever see her talk to the walls?

TED
No, but –

SHAUNESSY'S VOICE
Then you don't have a choice. Have
Billy at the Seventy-Fifth Street
entrance to Central Park, Saturday
at ten.

CUT TO:

EXT. FIFTH AVE. SIDE OF CENTRAL PARK – DAY

ON TED AND BILLY

TRACKING IN FRONT OF THEM as they walk along the Central
Park side of Fifth Ave. From their attitude it is clear that
each of them, for their own reasons, is very nervous.

TED'S POV – TRACKING FORWARD

About half a block away Joanna paces back and forth. She
hasn't seen them and it is clear that she is as nervous as
they are.

ANOTHER ANGLE ON TED AND BILLY

Ted stops, turns to Billy and gives him a last-minute check.
Then, spotting a smudge he takes his handkerchief, spits on
it and wipes the child's chin. Now satisfied, he takes Billy's
hand and they continue. Suddenly:

CLOSEUP BILLY

As he spots his mother.

BILLY
Mommy!

QUICK CUT: JOANNA

As she turns, spots Billy, starts to run.

ON BILLY

TRACKING WITH HIM as he lets go of Ted's hand and starts to
run flat out toward his mother. She kneels, opens her arms
wide for him and he goes barreling into her, almost knocking
her down from the impact.

JOANNA
(somewhere between
laughter and tears)
Oh, Billy... Oh my Billy... Oh my
son...

WIDER SHOT

Joanna gets to her feet and takes Billy's hand.

JOANNA
(to Ted, but looking
at Billy)
I'll have him back at six.

And they start off in the opposite direction.

ON TED

Realizing that Billy has not said good-bye, has not looked
at him once.

JUMP CUT TO:

WIDER SHOT

Ted stands helpless, watching them leave.

JUMP CUT TO:

WIDER SHOT

Ted, now almost lost from view on the crowded street, still
hasn't moved.

FADE TO BLACK:

WIDE SHOT

Ted and Phyllis, getting ready to go to bed. They look like
a couple that has been married at least five years. Ted is
busy talking as he takes off his tie, jacket and starts to
unbutton his shirt. Phyllis is getting undressed also, hanging
things in the closet, putting things away in drawers. But as
Ted continues to talk, she watches him apprehensively, it is
clear that something is wrong.

TED
(he has become an
armchair lawyer)
So, naturally, you assume that since
Joanna left, that would be a
compelling point against her, right?

PHYLLIS
(thoughtful)
Right.

TED
But it doesn't work that way. A major
decision was handed down by the
Appellate Court in 1969 – in the
case of Haskins vs. Haskins.

PHYLLIS
Kramer –

TED
Now in Haskins vs. Haskins the court
ruled in favor of the mother, thus
establishing a precedent for awarding
the child to the mother even though
she previously abandoned the baby.

PHYLLIS
Kramer... There's something I ought
to tell you.

TED
Yeah?

PHYLLIS
I've been offered a job in Washington
with H.E.W.

CLOSE ON TED

He stops what he is doing, turns to her.

TED
And?

PHYLLIS
(a deep breath)
I'm going to take it.

REACTION – TED

He sits down on the bed.

PHYLLIS
It's a very good job – too good to
pass up. I'll be handling funding
for the whole...
(she stops, sits beside
him on the bed)
Look, I...
(she means love)
..."like" you a lot. And you...
(she means love)
..."like" me, okay? Maybe if it was
a year from now, maybe things would
be different...

TED
(quiet)
But it's not a year from now, is it?

She shakes her head, then, reaches out and touches him.

PHYLLIS
I'll miss you, Kramer...

INT. KRAMER APT. – DAY

ON THE FRONT DOOR

It is open and standing in the doorway is an attractive woman,
a bit overweight and very serious. This is DR. ALVAREZ, the
court appointed psychiatrist.

ALVAREZ
Mr. Kramer?

TED
Yes?

ALVAREZ
I'm Dr. Alvarez, Judge Atkins asked
me to look in on your son and prepare
an evaluation sheet.

TED
Oh, yes. Won't you come in.

Dr. Alvarez enters the apartment. Ted helps her off with her
coat.

ALVAREZ
Where is the child?

TED
He's in his room, playing.

ALVAREZ
Good. I'll see him in there.

As Ted carries her coat to the closet, Dr. Alvarez walks
into the living room, looks around.

ALVAREZ
Mr. Kramer, do you ever have sex in
here with anyone?

TED
Doctor, I attempt to conduct my social
life discreetly. At the moment I am
seeing no one.

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

ALVAREZ
Does that distress you?

TED
Not particularly.

ALVAREZ
What does?

TED
The prospect of losing my child.

ALVAREZ
(makes some notes,
then:)
Very well, I'd like to see him if I
may.

They cross to the door of Billy's room. Ted opens it.

INT. BILLY'S ROOM – DAY

THEIR POV

The room is a mess, blocks are stacked everywhere. Billy
sits in the middle playing with his toys.

ON TED AND DR. ALVAREZ

They stand in the doorway.

TED
Billy. This is Dr. Alvarez. She would
like to talk to you.

BILLY
(looking up from his
toys)
Sure.

There is an awkward pause as Ted remains in the doorway.

DR. ALVAREZ
(pointedly)
I'd like to talk to Billy privately.

TED
(embarrassed at being
caught)
Oh, yeah...

Reluctantly, Ted leaves, closing the door behind him.

THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM as he crosses the living room to
the couch where he has a stack of legal books and a number
of note pads spread out. He is obviously continuing his legal
education.

THROUGH OUT THE FOLLOWING, THE CAMERA REMAINS ON HIS FACE.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
What do you have here, Billy?

BILLY (O.S.)
Detroit.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
Have you ever been to Detroit?

BILLY (O.S.)
No. But I've been to Brooklyn.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
I see you have people there. What
are their names?

BILLY (O.S.)
That's Kim... and this one's Thelma
and that's Mrs. Willewska and this
is daddy and that's Batman and over
there is Robin.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
What about your mommy?

BILLY (O.S.)
Oh, sure. Here, this can be mommy.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
Do you like to be with your mommy?

Ted by now has given up all pretense of working. He wags his
pencil in the direction of the door.

TED
(the defense attorney)
Objection. You're leading the witness.

BILLY (O.S.)
Sure.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
What do you like best about her?

BILLY (O.S.)
Lunch in a restaurant.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
What do you like best about your
daddy?

BILLY (O.S.)
Playing.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
Tell me, does your daddy ever hit
you?

REACTION – TED

Eyes wide. He starts to get up.

TED
Objection.

BILLY (O.S.)
Sure. Lots of times.

This brings Ted all the way to his feet. He starts across
the living room headed for the door to Billy's room.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
(interested)
When does he hit you?

Ted has his hand on the doorknob, about to enter.

BILLY (O.S.)
He hits me on the planet Kriptarium,
when I steal the buried treasure
from the famous peanut butter factory.

ALVAREZ (O.S.)
In real life when does he hit you?

BILLY (O.S.)
(laughing)
My daddy doesn't hit me, silly. Why
would my daddy hit me?

CUT TO:

EXT. MODERN OFFICE BUILDING, MIDTOWN – DAY

WIDE SHOT

It is a Saturday afternoon. HOLD FOR A BEAT as we SEE Ted
Kramer and Billy approaching. Billy is talking a mile a
minute. Ted listens intently, absorbed in the boy's
description. As they turn into the entrance of the office
building:

INT. CORRIDOR, J. WALTER THOMPSON – DAY

WIDE SHOT

A long corridor with desks for secretaries lined up next to
doors leading to smaller individual offices. As they approach
a door in the foreground that bears a small sign reading,
"Ted Kramer":

TED
(interrupting Billy,
who is still in the
middle of his story)
See. That's my name.

BILLY
(looking at the sign)
It's my name too.

TED
Right.

As he opens the door:

CUT TO:

INT. TED KRAMER'S OFFICE – DAY

It is a pleasant enough office, but nothing spectacular,
windows that look out over Fifty-seventh Street, simple
Formica furniture, that sort of thing.

ON THE DOOR

As they enter.

BILLY
(he stops dead in his
tracks at the sight
of the office)
Wow!

TED
(pleased)
You like it?

Billy crosses to the window, presses his nose to the glass,
looks out.

BILLY
Wow! Is this really where you work?

Ted nods, walks over to the desk and begins collecting
paperwork to do over the weekend. As he does, Billy goes
through the office, sitting in every chair, looking in every
drawer.

BILLY
Is this really your desk?

TED
Yep.

BILLY
Is that really your chair?

TED
Uh huh...

BILLY
Wow! That's neat. Can I sit in it?

TED
Sure.

Billy plops himself down in Ted's chair, swivels around.

BILLY
Did mommy ever see this?

TED
No, she never did.

BILLY
Are you going to get remarried?

TED
I don't know. I hadn't thought much
about it.

BILLY
Are you going to remarried Phyllis?

TED
(shaking his head)
No.

CLOSE ON BILLY

There is a long pause, then:

BILLY
Will you and mommy get remarried?

Ted stops what he is doing, looks across at Billy:

TED
No, son. Daddy and mommy will never
get remarried.

BILLY
(looking around Ted's
office)
Boy, I bet you if mommy ever saw
this she'd remarried you.

CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM – VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING

CLOSE ON AN ALARM CLOCK THAT SITS ON A NIGHTSTAND

As it rings, THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS and we SEE Joanna sitting
in bed wide awake, smoking. As she puts out the cigarette
she has been smoking and starts to get out of bed,

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – TED KRAMER'S APT. – EARLY MORNING

ON TED

Who stands with a cup of coffee in his hands, looking out
the window, but not seeing anything. HOLD FOR A BEAT, then
he checks his watch and starts for the bedroom.

CUT TO:

INT. JOANNA'S BEDROOM – MORNING

ON JOANNA

As she selects a very conservative suit from her closet.

CUT TO:

INT. BILLY KRAMER'S BEDROOM – MORNING

WIDE SHOT

As Ted, now fully dressed, wearing a dark blue suit, white
shirt, conservative tie, leans over Billy and wakes him.

CUT TO:

INT. COFFEE SHOP – MORNING

Joanna sits across from her lawyer as he talks to her,
intently, giving her last-minute instructions.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – MORNING

ON TED KRAMER

Taking Billy to school. They stop at the entrance, Ted kisses
his son good-bye and stands for a moment watching as the boy
runs into the building.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

It is a bleak January morning, the streets around the
courthouse are mobbed with people on their way to work. We
SEE Ted Kramer, a tiny figure among hundreds, coming out of
the subway. He crosses the street and starts up the steps of
the large and forbidding courthouse.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

As Ted gets off the elevator and starts down the corridor,
toward the courtroom. In the f.g., – standing by the door of
the courtroom itself is John Shaunessy, he greets Ted, they
shake hands and talk together for a moment. Then, as they
enter the courtroom:

CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM

ON THE DOOR

As Ted enters, looks around. Mrs. Willewska sits in one of
the back rows, wearing her best Easter hat. Ted pauses by
her, thanks her for coming.

Several rows in front of her is Thelma. Ted crosses to her,
they talk quietly between themselves for a few moments. Then
Ted moves on to a table at the front of the room where John
Shaunessy waits.

ON THE DOORS AT THE BACK OF THE COURTROOM

As they swing open and Joanna, along with her lawyer, a MR.
GRESSEN. THE CAMERA PANS WITH THEM as they walk to the front
of the room and take their seats at the table opposite Ted
and his lawyer.

CLERK
Oyez, oyez... The third Circuit Court
of the State of New York, Judge Atkins
presiding is now in session. All
rise...

WIDE SHOT

As the judge enters, takes his seat.

Opening business of the court.

WIDE SHOT

As Gressen (Joanna's lawyer) gets to his feet.

GRESSEN
Your honor. As our first witness I
would like to call Joanna Kramer.

TWO SHOT – TED AND SHAUNESSY

The lawyer leans across to Ted.

SHAUNESSY
(stage whisper)
Real direct. Motherhood... They're
going right for the throat.

WIDE SHOT

As Joanna gets to her feet, crosses to the witness stand and
is sworn in.

Note: Throughout the following, we continually CROSS-CUT to
Ted Kramer, leaning forward, listening intently. It becomes
evident that, in spite of himself, there are moments he feels
great compassion for Joanna.

GRESSEN
Now then, Mrs. Kramer, would you
tell the court how long you were
married?

JOANNA
Six years.

GRESSEN
And would you describe those years
as happy?

JOANNA
The first couple, yes, but after
that it became increasingly difficult.

GRESSEN
Mrs. Kramer, did you ever work in a
job while you were married to your
ex-husband?

JOANNA
No, I did not.

GRESSEN
Did you wish to?

JOANNA
Yes. I tried to talk to Ted – my ex-
husband – about it, but he wouldn't
listen. He refuses to discuss it in
any serious way. I remember one time
he said I probably couldn't get a
job that would pay enough to hire a
baby-sitter for Billy.

GRESSEN
Tell me, Mrs. Kramer, are you employed
at the present time?

JOANNA
Yes, I work for Jantzen as a
sportswear designer.

GRESSEN
And what is your present salary?

JOANNA
I make thirty-one thousand dollars a
year.

REACTION – TED

Stunned.

GRESSEN
(switching tactics)
Mrs. Kramer, do you love your child?

JOANNA
(emphatically)
Yes. Very much.

GRESSEN
And yet you chose to leave him?

There is a long pause, then:

JOANNA
(speaking carefully,
with great thought)
Yes... Look, during the last five
years we were married, I had... I
was getting more and more... unhappy,
more and more frustrated. I needed
to talk to somebody. I needed to
find out if it was me, if I was going
crazy or what. But every time I turned
to Ted – my ex-husband, he couldn't
handle it. He became very... I don't
know, very threatened. I mean,
whenever I would bring up anything
he would act like it was some kind
of personal attack. Anyway, we became
more and more separate... more and
more isolated from one another.
Finally, I had no other choice, I
had to leave. And because of my ex-
husband's attitude – his unwillingness
to deal with my feelings, I had come
to have almost no self-esteem...
(with feeling)
At the time I left, I sincerely
believed that there was something
wrong with me – that my son would be
better off without me. It was only
when I got to California and started
into therapy I began to realize I
wasn't a terrible person. And that
just because I needed some creative
and emotional outlet other than my
child, that didn't make me unfit to
be a mother.

GRESSEN
(to the judge)
Your honor, I would like to place in
evidence a report on Mrs. Kramer's
therapy by her therapist, Dr. Elinore
Freedman of La Jolla, California.

And with that he hands both the judge and Shaunessy a thick
sheaf of papers. Then, turning his attention back to Joanna:

GRESSEN
Mr. Kramer, why did you set up
residence in New York?

JOANNA
Because my son is here. And his father
is here. As a mother, I don't want
my child to be separated from his
father.

GRESSEN
Mrs. Kramer, can you tell the court
why you are asking for custody?

There is a pause, then:

JOANNA
Because he's my child... Because I
love him. I know I left my son, I
know that's a terrible thing to do.
Believe me, I have to live with that
every day of my life. But just because
I'm a woman, don't I have a right to
the same hopes and dreams as a man?
Don't I have a right to a life of my
own? Is that so awful? Is my pain
any less just because I'm a woman?
Are my feelings any cheaper? I left
my child – I know there is no excuse
for that. But since then, I have
gotten help. I have worked hard to
become a whole human being. I don't
think I should be punished for that.
I don't think my son should be
punished for that. Billy's only six.
He needs me. I'm not saying he doesn't
need his father, but he needs me
more. I'm his mother.

There is a beat of silence, then:

GRESSEN
Thank you, Mrs. Kramer. I have no
further questions.

ON SHAUNESSY

As he stands, collects his papers from the table and, taking
his own sweet time, crosses to Joanna.

SHAUNESSY
Now then, Mrs. Kramer, you said you
were married seven years. Is that
correct?

JOANNA
Yes.

SHAUNESSY
In all that time did your husband
ever strike you or abuse you
physically in any way.

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
Did your husband strike or physically
abuse his child in any way?

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
Would you describe your husband as
an alcoholic?

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
A heavy drinker?

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
Was he unfaithful?

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
Did he ever fail to provide for you?

JOANNA
No.

SHAUNESSY
(wry smile)
Well, I can certainly understand why
you left him.

GRESSEN
Objection.

SHAUNESSY
(switching his line
of questioning)
How long do you plan to live in New
York, Mrs. Kramer?

JOANNA
Permanently.

Note: During the early part of Shaunessy's cross-examination,
Joanna has been very forthright, very sure of herself. Now,
as he starts getting tougher, she begins to falter.

SHAUNESSY
Permanently?
(smiles, like a shark
smiles)
Mrs. Kramer, how many boy friends
have you had – permanently?

ON JOANNA

Her head snaps back as though she's been hit.

JOANNA
I don't recall.

SHAUNESSY
(boring in)
How many lovers have you had –
permanently?

JOANNA
(looks toward Gressen
for help)
I don't recall.

SHAUNESSY
More than three, less than thirty-
three – permanently?

ON GRESSEN

He is again on his feet, outraged.

GRESSEN
Objection!

JUDGE
Overruled. The witness will answer,
please.

JOANNA
(almost a whisper)
Somewhere in between.

SHAUNESSY
Do you have a lover now?

GRESSEN
(furious)
Objection!

SHAUNESSY
(to the judge)
Your honor, I would request a direct
answer to a direct question. Does
she have a lover?

JUDGE
I'll allow that. The witness will
answer please.

JOANNA
(in a whisper)
Yes.

SHAUNESSY
Is that... permanent?

JOANNA
(by now she is becoming
thoroughly rattled)
I... I don't know...

SHAUNESSY
Then, we don't really know, do we,
when you say "permanently" if you're
planning to remain in New York, or
even to keep the child for that
matter, since you've never really
done anything in your life that was
continuing, stable, that could be
regarded as permanent.

ON THE PETITIONER'S TABLE

Gressen jumps to his feet.

GRESSEN
Objection! I must ask that the counsel
be prevented from harassing the
witness.

JUDGE
Sustained.

SHAUNESSY
(a new attack)
Mrs. Kramer, how can you consider
yourself a fit mother when you have
been a failure at virtually every
relationship you have undertaken as
an adult?

GRESSEN
(red in the face)
Objection!

JUDGE
Sustained.

SHAUNESSY
I'll ask it another way. What was
the longest personal relationship
you have had in your life – other
than parents and girlfriends?

JOANNA
(rattled)
Ah... I guess I'd have to say...
with my child.

SHAUNESSY
(wonder, irony)
Whom you've seen twice in a year?
Mrs. Kramer, your ex-husband, wasn't
he the longest personal relationship
in your life?

JOANNA
(reluctantly)
I suppose...

SHAUNESSY
Would you speak up, Mrs. Kramer? I
couldn't hear you.

JOANNA
(louder)
Yes.

SHAUNESSY
How long was that?

JOANNA
We were married two years before the
baby. And then four very difficult
years.

SHAUNESSY
So, you were a failure at the longest,
most important relationship in your
life.

GRESSEN
Objection!

JUDGE
Overruled.

JOANNA
I was not a failure.

SHAUNESSY
(sarcastic)
Oh? What do you call it then – a
success? The marriage ended in
divorce.

JOANNA
(so angry she forgets
her cool)
I consider it less my failure than
his.

SHAUNESSY
(seizes on this)
Congratulations, Mrs. Kramer. You
have just rewritten matrimonial law.
You were both divorced, Mrs. Kramer.

GRESSEN
(on his feet)
Objection!

SHAUNESSY
(to the judge)
Your honor, I'd like to ask what
this model of stability and
respectability has ever succeeded
at?
(to Joanna)
Mrs. Kramer, were you a failure at
the longest, most important personal
relationship in your life?

CLOSE ON JOANNA

Who sits silently.

JUDGE
Please answer the question, Mrs.
Kramer.

JOANNA
(whisper)
It did not succeed.

SHAUNESSY
(suddenly fierce)
Not it... Not it, Mrs. Kramer – you.
Were you a failure at the most
important personal relationship of
your life?

CLOSER IN ON JOANNA

Silence.

SHAUNESSY
Were you?

EXTREME CLOSEUP JOANNA

JOANNA
(barely audible)
Yes.

WIDE SHOT

Shaunessy smiles, turns his back on Joanna and walks back
toward the respondent's table.

SHAUNESSY
No further questions.

CLOSER IN ON THE TABLE

As Shaunessy sits down next to Ted.

TED
(leaning over, in a
whisper)
Jesus Christ. Did you have to be so
rough on her?

SHAUNESSY
(tough)
Do you want the kid or don't you?

ON JOANNA

Shaken, she gets down from the witness stand, crosses to the
petitioner's table without looking at Ted. She sits, leans
across to her lawyer and whispers something in his ear. As
he nods...

CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM, LATER IN THE DAY

ON JIM O'CONNOR

Who sits in the witness stand. At the moment he is being
examined by Gressen.

GRESSEN
Now then, Mr. O'Connor, how long did
Ted Kramer work for you?

O'CONNOR
Eight, almost nine years.

GRESSEN
And did you have a close personal
relationship?

O'CONNOR
(in a whisper)
Yes...

GRESSEN
And how did you find his work?

O'CONNOR
It was good. He was a hard worker, a
lot of drive, a real hustler.

GRESSEN
And yet you fired him.

There is a long pause.

O'CONNOR
(looking down)
Ted was a good worker. But, ah...
after his wife left him and he was
taking care of the kid on his own,
things started to change. Look, I
know he had problems, I understand
that. I've got problems, everybody's
got problems. But I've got a shop to
run, I can't let that kind of thing
get in the way...
(quietly)
I guess I felt that Ted was letting
his duties at home interfere with
his responsibilities in the office.

GRESSEN
Thank you. I have no further
questions.

Shaunessy stands up.

SHAUNESSY
Mr. O'Connor, does the agency still
have the Fire and Ice account?

O'CONNOR
(up tight)
No.

SHAUNESSY
Mr. O'Connor, can you tell me where
you are employed at the moment?

O'CONNOR
(stiff)
At the moment I am unemployed.

ON THE JUDGE

JUDGE
If the petitioner has no further
witnesses, we will hear the respondent
tomorrow morning at 9:30.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

WIDE SHOT

Ted sits at the dining table poring over law books, writing
copious notes on a legal pad. Billy sits across from him
drawing in a pad with magic markers. HOLD FOR A BEAT as Billy
looks up at his father. It is clear that something is
bothering him.

BILLY
Mom – I mean, dad?

TED
(not looking up)
Uh, huh?

BILLY
What did you do when you were little?

TED
(still involved in
his books)
I guess about the same kind of things
you do.

BILLY
Did you watch "I Dream of Jeannie?"

TED
(distracted)
Uh, uh... We didn't have television
then.

ON BILLY

Eyes wide. He finds this hard to believe.

BILLY
You didn't have T.V.?

ON TED

He looks up for the first time, smiles.

TED
Nope. It hadn't been invented yet.

He starts to go back to work.

BILLY
(this is serious
business)
Was there apple juice when you were
little?

TED
Yeah, there was apple juice.

BILLY
Was there Burger King?

TED
Uh, uh. There was no such a thing as
Burger King.

BILLY
What else wasn't there?

ON TED

He takes a long look at his son, then closes the law book,
puts his notes away.

TED
Well, let's see... There wasn't
McDonald's. And there wasn't
astronauts... And there wasn't frozen
yogurt. And there wasn't...

As he continues on about what wasn't, we

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

ESTABLISHING SHOT

INT. COURTROOM – DAY

ON THELMA

She sits in the witness stand being examined by Shaunessy.
From her attitude it is clear that she is very wrought up,
that all of this is taking a heavy emotional toll on her.

SHAUNESSY
Mrs. Phillips, how long have you
known Ted Kramer?

THELMA
Six years. Ever since Ted and Joanna
moved into the building.

SHAUNESSY
How often do you see Mr. Kramer and
his son?

THELMA
(to the judge, by way
of explanation)
Charley, my husband, and I are...
divorced and Kim, that's our daughter
is about Billy's age and the children
play together a lot. So, I guess we
see each three or four times a week.

SHAUNESSY
Can you describe the relationship
between Mr. Kramer and his son?

THELMA
It's beautiful. It's just beautiful.
They have a beautiful relationship.

ON GRESSEN

Getting wearily to his feet.

GRESSEN
(patronizing)
Objection, your honor. The answer
is, to be generous, very vague.

SHAUNESSY
Can you recall any particular incident
that relates to Mr. Kramer's care of
his child?

THELMA
(fighting a losing
battle with her
emotions)
Ted – Mr. Kramer, spends a great
deal of time with his child. I don't
just mean hours, I mean good time,
involved time. He reads to Billy.
They play together. They talk all
the time...
(tears start)
He is a very... kind man... a very...
devoted father, and... and...
(she turns to Joanna)
And Joanna if you ever saw them
together... there wouldn't be a trial
at all...
(she breaks down,
weeping)
Oh, shit... I'm sorry... I'm sorry...

Note: during this we cross-cut to Joanna, who sits, staring
at her friend, shaken.

SHAUNESSY
(gently)
No further questions. Thank you Mrs.
Phillips.

GRESSEN
(without looking up
from his notes)
No questions.

Thelma leaves the stand and walks back to her seat.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM – DAY

ON TED KRAMER

Sitting in the witness stand.

SHAUNESSY
Mr. Kramer, would you tell the court
exactly why you want to retain custody
of your child.

TED
(speaking quietly)
When Joanna –
(to the judge,
correcting himself)
– my ex-wife – when she was talking
before about how unhappy she was
during our marriage... Well, I guess
most of what she said was probably
true. There were a lot of things I
didn't understand – a lot of things
I would do different if I could.
Just like I guess there are a lot of
things Joanna wishes she could
change... But we can't. Some things,
once they are done, can't be undone.
Joanna says she loves Billy. I believe
she does. So do I. But the way it
was explained to me, that's not the
issue. The only thing that's supposed
to matter here is what's best for
Billy... When Joanna said why
shouldn't a woman have the same
ambitions as a man, I suppose she's
right. But by the same token what
law is it that says a woman is a
better parent simply by virtue of
her sex? I guess I've had to think a
lot about whatever it is that makes
somebody a good parent: constancy,
patience, understanding... love.
Where is it written that a man has
any less of those qualities than a
woman? Billy has a home with me,
I've tried to make it the best I
could. It's not perfect. I'm not a
perfect parent.
(unconsciously echoing
something Joanna
said earlier)
I don't have enough patience.
Sometimes I forget he's just a little
kid... But I love him... More than
anything in this world I love him.

SHAUNESSY
Thank you, Mr. Kramer. No further
questions.

ON GRESSEN

As he gets up from the petitioner's table and crosses to the
witness stand.

GRESSEN
(hard-lining it)
Mr. Kramer, by any chance have you
ever had a woman in your bed while
your child was asleep in the next
room?

TED
I suppose.

GRESSEN
(pointedly)
So do I.

SHAUNESSY
Objection!

JUDGE
Sustained.

GRESSEN
(switching to another
line of attack)
Mr. Kramer, isn't it true that you
were fired from your last job not
more than six weeks ago?

TED
(not losing his cool)
Technically, the agency lost a big
account and seventy four people were
let go. I was one of them.

GRESSEN
(snotty)
You were fired, correct?

TED
Yes, but I'm with J. Walter Thompson
now. I don't think that will happen
again.

GRESSEN
(snide)
Give them time...

SHAUNESSY
Objection, your honor! Counsel is
harassing the witness.

GRESSEN
(to the judge, pettish)
Your honor, I'm only examining the
man's employment record. He pretends
to fitness when he cannot hold a
job.

JUDGE
Sustained.

ON GRESSEN

He is thoughtful for a moment, like a man trying to decide
whether or not to drop the bomb. Then, turning back to Ted:

GRESSEN
(very tough)
Mr. Kramer, did your child nearly
lose an eye when he was in your care?

REACTION – TED

Stunned. He looks across at Joanna.

QUICK CUT – HIS POV

Joanna looks away.

GRESSEN
(boring in)
Mr. Kramer, did you, or did you not
tell the child's mother that you
were responsible for the injury that
permanently disfigured your child?

Shaunessy is on his feet racing toward the bench.

SHAUNESSY
(vehement)
Objection! Your honor, counsel is
raising a question that is not germane
to these proceedings.

GRESSEN
(to the judge)
While the child was in the care of
the witness, he cut his face badly
and is now scarred.

JUDGE
(to Gressen)
Are you introducing the question of
negligence here, counselor?

GRESSEN
Yes, your honor.

JUDGE
I see. Well, you'll have to do better
than that. Do you have any affidavits
to support negligence?

GRESSEN
I do not, your honor, however –

JUDGE
This is an isolated incident,
counselor, unless you can prove
otherwise.

GRESSEN
(back to Ted)
Does the witness deny the injury
took place?

JUDGE
(before Ted can say
anything)
No, counselor, I'm going to over-
rule you on this line of questioning.

GRESSEN
Then I have concluded my questions.

ON THE PETITIONER'S TABLE

Joanna sits, still not looking at Ted. She holds her face,
one hand shielding her eyes.

CUT TO:

ON THE JUDGE

As he makes his closing statement.

CUT TO:

INT. MAIN LOBBY, COURTHOUSE – DAY

WIDE SHOT

Shaunessy and Ted stand talking, reviewing the case. Then
the two men shake hands, the lawyer waves goodbye, turns and
starts back into the building. THE CAMERA PANS WITH TED as
he walks toward the main exit.

CUT TO:

EXT. MAIN ENTRANCE, COURTHOUSE – DAY

ON TED

As he comes out of the building, starts down the steps.

JOANNA (O.S.)
Ted.

He stops, turns:

HIS POV

There, standing waiting for him is Joanna.

CLOSE ON TED

His face a mask of cold anger. She crosses to him.

JOANNA
I'm sorry... I just mentioned it in
passing. I never thought he'd use
it.

TED
(sarcastic)
Yeah, well he did, didn't he.

JOANNA
Please, Ted. I never would have
brought it up if I thought –

TED
I'm not interested, Joanna. Goodbye.

WIDE SHOT

As he turns and walks away from her, leaving her standing,
watching him as he disappears.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON TED AND THELMA

It is a bleak winter's day. THE CAMERA TRACKS WITH THEM as
they walk along, Ted carrying a bag of groceries, Thelma
with cleaning.

The children run around them, playing.

THELMA
You heard anything yet?

TED
(shakes his head)
Any day.

They walk in silence for several beats, each clearly lost in
their own thoughts. Then:

THELMA
Ted.

TED
(preoccupied)
Uh, huh...

THELMA
(this is hard to say)
Ah, Charley and I are... Well, we're
thinking about... I mean, actually
we're sort of talking about maybe
getting back together.

TED
(thunderstruck)
You and Charley?

Thelma nods.

TED
Really?

Thelma nods.

TED
(conflicting emotions)
Hey, that's terrific.

THELMA
(hastily)
Maybe. I said maybe.
(apologizing for her
good fortune)
What I mean is, ah... I don't think
it'll really work out, but Charley
seems to want it, so...

She leaves the sentence unfinished. They walk in silence for
several more steps. Then she takes his hand.

THELMA
(can't help grinning)
Oh, God... Ted, I am really scared.

They walk in silence for a beat, then Ted looks OFF SCREEN,
spots something:

HIS POV

The Saturday Father, restless, bored, walking with his
daughter who is also bored. It is clear that they have nothing
to say to one another. He looks around, spots Ted, waves and
starts in his direction.

CLOSEUP TED

He reacts as though he has seen a vision of his own death.

TED
(to Thelma, urgent)
C'mon.
(to Billy and Kim)
Billy, Kim. Let's go.

WIDE SHOT

As Ted ushers them across the street, away from the Saturday
Father.

CUT TO:

INT. MEN'S BAR, MIDTOWN – DAY

A crowded, rather posh watering spot. Shaunessy sits alone
at a table for two, a drink in front of him.

REVERSE ON THE DOOR

As Ted enters, spots Shaunessy and starts in his direction.

CLOSER ON SHAUNESSY'S TABLE

As Ted sits down.

TED
Well?

ON SHAUNESSY

As he looks up at Ted, says nothing.

ON TED

He realizes that they have lost.

TED
Oh, Christ!

CROSS-CUTTING BETWEEN THEM:

SHAUNESSY
The judge went for motherhood straight
down the line.

TED
I lost him? I lost him?

SHAUNESSY
I can't tell you how sorry I am.

TED
Oh, no..

SHAUNESSY
(reading from a piece
of paper)
Ordered, adjudged and decreed that
the petitioner be awarded custody of
the minor child, effective Monday
the 23rd of January. That the
respondent pay for the maintenance
and support of said child, four
hundred dollars each month. That the
father shall have the following rights
of visitation: every other weekend,
one night each week to be mutually
agreed upon and one half of the
child's vacation period.
(looks up at Ted)
That's it.

TED
(grim)
What if I fight it?

SHAUNESSY
(matter of factly)
We can appeal, but I can't guarantee
anything.

TED
(determined)
I'll take my chances.

SHAUNESSY
It's going to cost.

TED
(his mind is made up)
Don't worry. I'll get the money.

There is a beat of silence, then:

SHAUNESSY
I've got to tell you something, Ted.
This time it'll be Billy that pays.
This time I'll have to put him on
the stand.

CLOSE ON TED

As his last hope goes crashing to the ground.

TED
Oh, Christ no... I can't do that. I
just... can't...
(he looks up at the
lawyer in despair)
Excuse me... I'm sorry... I just...

That is all Ted can manage to say. He gets to his feet and
rushes for the door.

CUT TO:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – DAY

ON THE ENTRANCE

As Mrs. Willewska comes out. Her eyes are red from crying.
THE CAMERA PANS WITH HER as she turns up the street on her
way to pick up Billy from school. THE CAMERA HOLDS IN POSITION
as she meets Thelma. They stand talking for a moment, then
Thelma turns and starts to run toward the building.

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY, OUTSIDE TED'S APT. – DAY

ON THE ELEVATOR DOORS

They open and Thelma steps out. She runs to the door, begins
to knock.

THELMA
(calling out)
Ted!... It's me... Ted?...

There is a beat of silence, then:

TED (O.S.)
(very quiet)
Please go away, Thel... I... I just
have to be by myself for a little
while...

THELMA
Ted, I just heard...

TED (O.S.)
Please, Thel...

Thelma leans against the door and begins to sob.

THELMA
I'm so... sorry... Oh, Ted, I'm so
sorry...

FADE TO BLACK:

FADE IN:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – DAY

WIDE SHOT

As Mrs. Willewska brings Billy back from school.

CUT TO:

INT. KRAMER APT. – DAY

ON THE FRONT DOOR

It opens and Billy and Mrs. Willewska enter. Billy sees Ted
and rushes across to him.

BILLY
(excited)
Daddy! You're home early. Did you
get fired again?

TED
(laughing in spite of
himself)
No, son, I didn't get fired.
(fake cheerful)
I'll tell you what we'll do, okay?
How about if we go to a Burger King
and then we watch a little T.V. and
then we get packed to go to the
country tomorrow. Just you and me...
How 'bout that?

CUT TO:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – NIGHT

ESTABLISHING SHOT

HOLD FOR A BEAT, then:

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – NIGHT

ON TED

He sits at the dining table, a typewriter in front of him.
As he begins to type, hunt and peck system, we:

CUT TO:

INSERT – HIS POV

The page in the typewriter. We SEE and HEAR at the same time.

TED (V.O.)
Joanna... This is by way of
introducing William Kramer. He is a
sweet child, as you will see. He is
allergic to grape juice, but will
more than make up for the loss in
apple juice. He is also allergic to
peanut butter from the health food
store, but not from the supermarket.
Don't ask me why.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON A CORNER MAILBOX

As Ted mails the letter.

TED (V.O.)
At times, in the night he will have
nightmares, one particular monster
is called The Face. The Face, as
best as I can determine, looks like
a circus clown without a body, and
from what the pediatrician says, and
what I have read, may be sexual fear
of losing his penis, or a fear of
his own anger, or just a circus clown
he saw once.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON THE SAME MAILBOX

As a sack of mail is loaded into a truck.

TED (V.O.)
His doctor, by the way, is still Ed
Davies. The Sundafed is for colds,
one tablespoon every four hours. I
will pack it in the blue suitcase.

CUT TO:

EXT. JOANNA KRAMER'S APT. BLDG. – DAY

WIDE SHOT

A POSTMAN enters the building carrying a bag of mail.

TED (V.O.)
His best stories have been Babar and
Winnie the Pooh up to now, with Batman
moving up. His housekeeper has been
Etta Willewska and she is the main
reason for the note. She is a loving
woman, conscientious, very concerned
about Billy and more important, Billy
cares about her.

CUT TO:

INT. HALLWAY, JOANNA'S APT. BLDG. – DAY

ON A STACK OF MAIL

As it is dropped in front of a doorway. We SEE that the letter
from Ted to Joanna is on top.

TED (V.O.)
I urge you to retain her. Her number
is 722-8099, and I think she will
take the job if it is offered. I'm
sure other things will come up. Ask
me what you need to and I guess
eventually we'll talk...

CUT TO:

INT. JOANNA'S APT. – DAY

ON HER

As she finishes reading the letter.

TED (V.O.)
That's all I can think of, except to
repeat what I said before, he's a
terrific kid. I'm grateful for the
time we've had together and I feel I
am a better man because of my son...
Ted.

CUT TO:

EXT. BEACH – DAY

It is a clear, cold beautiful winter's day. Ted and Billy
walk

along the beach at the edge of the water. THE CAMERA TRACKS
WITH THEM. There are several beats of silence as Ted tries
to think of how to begin. Finally:

TED
Billy, sometimes when a mother and a
father are divorced, there's a
discussion about who the child should
live with, the mother or the father.
Now there is a man who is very wise.
He's called a judge. And a judge has
a lot of experience with divorces
and he decides who it would be best
for the child to live with.

BILLY
Why does he decide?

TED
Because... Well, that's what he does.
He's a very powerful man.

BILLY
Like a principal?

TED
Bigger than a principal. The judge
sits in robes in a big chair... The
judge has thought a lot about us,
about you and me and your mom, and
he has decided...
(a deep breath)
...he has decided that it would be
best for you to live with your mom
Joanna in her apartment.
(fake cheerful)
And I'm very lucky. Because even
though you'll live with your mom
Joanna I'll get to see you once a
week for dinner and a couple of
weekends a month.

BILLY
I don't understand, daddy.

TED
(trying very hard not
to cry)
What don't you understand, pal?

BILLY
Where will my bed be, where will I
sleep?

TED
At your mom's. She'll have a bed for
you in your own room.

BILLY
Where will my toys be?

TED
I'll send your toys there and I'm
sure you'll get some new ones.

BILLY
Who will read me my stories?

TED
Your mom.

BILLY
(worried)
Daddy, what if The Face comes when
I'm at mommy's?

TED
Your mom knows all about The Face,
okay? Don't worry, she'll tell The
Face to beat it.

BILLY
Will you come and say good-night to
me every night?

Suddenly Ted can't stand it any longer.

TED
Look, it's getting cold. Why don't
you go inside where it's warm. I'll
be along in a minute.

Billy hangs back, watching Ted.

TED
Go on, scoot.

The boy turns and runs back along the beach toward the house.

Then, he stops, turns back to look once more at his father.

HIS POV – LONG SHOT

Ted stands at the ocean's edge, his back to CAMERA, weeping.

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. KRAMER APT. BLDG. – DAY

WIDE SHOT

It is early Monday morning.

CUT TO:

INT. KRAMER KITCHEN – MORNING

ON TED AND BILLY

They stand side by side, like a surgeon and his assistant.
Spread out on the counter in front of them are the makings
of French toast. The following is done with great efficiency,
in contrast to the first time we saw them go through the
same ritual. They work in silence except for an occasional
command. Each concentrating on this last moment of closeness,
each doing his best to avoid thinking about Billy's departure.
Finally:

ON BILLY

Looking at his father, trying to memorize the older man's
face.

Ted turns, sees his son watching him.

TED
(with false gaiety)
Hey? What's doin' with that bread?
Let's see a little hustle around
here.

CUT TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM – KRAMER APT. – MORNING

WIDE SHOT

Billy's bags are packed and stacked neatly in the living
room.

Nearby, Billy and his father sit, silent, waiting.

Sound-effect: The intercom from the lobby buzzes.

CLOSER IN ON TED AND BILLY

Ted looks at his son, smiles. The boy smiles back.

TED
This is it, pal.

Billy, fighting back tears, nods.

Sound-effect: The intercom buzzes again.

Ted gets to his feet and starts toward the foyer.

CUT TO:

INT. FOYER – DAY

As Ted picks up the intercom:

TED
Yes?

JOANNA'S VOICE
Ted, it's Joanna. Can you meet me in
the lobby?... Alone?

And she hangs up before he can answer.

TED
(to Mrs. Willewska,
in the kitchen)
I'll be back in a minute.

CUT TO:

INT. LOBBY – DAY

ON THE ELEVATOR DOORS

As they open, Ted steps out, looks around.

HIS POV

The lobby is dark, the only light coming from the window.
Joanna sits off to one side, wearing sunglasses. She looks
up as Ted approaches, a small smile on her face.

TED
(abrupt)
Okay, I'm here. Now why did you –

JOANNA
Ted, do you love him?

TED
Goddamnit, Joanna. What the –

JOANNA
(insistent)
Ted, do you love him?

He nods.

JOANNA
I love him too... I don't think I
ever knew how much until now.

There is a long pause as she looks at Ted, unable to speak.

Finally:

JOANNA
(a deep breath, then:)
Ted, when we got married it was
because I was twenty-seven years old
and I thought I should get married
and... when I had Billy it was because
I thought I should have a baby...
and I guess all I did was mess up my
life and your life and –

TED
Joanna, what the hell is –

JOANNA
(urgent)
Please... Please don't stop me. This
is the hardest thing I've ever had
to do..

ON TED

Struck by the urgency in her voice.

JOANNA
After I left... when I was in
California, I began to think, what
kind of mother was I that I could
walk out on my own child. It got to
where I couldn't tell anybody about
Billy – I couldn't stand that look
in their faces when I said he wasn't
living with me. Finally it seemed
like the most important thing in the
world to come back here and prove to
Billy and to me and to the world how
much I loved him... And I did... And
I won. Only... it was just another
"should."
(she begins to break
down)
...Sitting in that courtroom. Hearing
everything you did, everything you
went through... Something happened.
I guess it doesn't matter how much I
love him, or how much you love him.
I guess it's like you said, the only
thing that counts is what's best for
Billy. I don't know, maybe that's
all love is anyway... Ted, I think
Billy should stay with you...

TED
(stunned)
What?

JOANNA
(she reaches out,
takes his hand)
He's already got one mother, he
doesn't need two... He's yours...
(her last ounce of
reserve crumbles)
I won't fight you for him any more.
He's yours...

TED
Oh, God... Oh, my God...

JOANNA
Only can I still see him?

TED
No more waiting in Coffee Shops... I
promise.

Joanna's last ounce of reserve crumbles, she begins to sob.
Ted puts his arms around her and holds her. They do not kiss.
Then, after a few moments she steps back.

JOANNA
(chin high)
Okay... I think I'll go talk to my
son now.
(wiping her eyes)
How do I look?

TED
Beautiful.

They step into the elevator and, as the doors close, blocking
them from view, we...

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. STREET – DAY

ON TED AND BILLY

TRACKING JUST IN FRONT OF THEM as they walk to the park.
They are deep in conversation, although we are too far away
to bear what they are saying. HOLD ON THEM and, as they reach
the entrance to the park, Billy first, then Ted begin to
run, overwhelmed with the sheer joy of being alive, of being
together. As they continue to run, THE CAMERA PULLS BACK AND
UP AND WE SEE that they are only two among thousands of
parents and children in Central Park on a sunny afternoon.
THE CAMERA CONTINUES TO PULL BACK until they are lost from
view and it is...

FADE OUT:

THE END

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