Pursuit of Happyness

Pursuit of Happyness

4.5 43
Director: Gabriele Muccino

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The rousing, true-life story of a single dad who went from living on the streets to owning his own brokerage firm is brought to the big screen by superstar Will Smith, appearing for the first time opposite his real-life son Jaden Smith. Set in early-'80s San Francisco, the film charts the hard times and eventual…  See more details below


The rousing, true-life story of a single dad who went from living on the streets to owning his own brokerage firm is brought to the big screen by superstar Will Smith, appearing for the first time opposite his real-life son Jaden Smith. Set in early-'80s San Francisco, the film charts the hard times and eventual comeback of Chris Gardner, a suddenly single salesman who has custody of his son, but finds that providing for the two of them is a challenge in the increasingly unstable economic climate. He struggles to work his way from unpaid intern at Dean Witter to something more substantial, even as life continues to offer him setbacks. Making his Hollywood debut, Italian director Gabriele Muccino was championed by Will Smith for the project.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The trouble with most inspirational movies -- which often gets them reclassified as manipulative schlock -- is that their outcomes are too easily predicted. The Pursuit of Happyness goes about matters a little differently, telling its story in retrospect, after the happy ending has occurred -- thereby setting aside the charade of suspense. This lets Gabriele Muccino's film focus on the engrossing details of Chris Gardner's improbable journey, as well as Will Smith's Oscar-nominated performance -- making it a little like a Shakespearean play, where audiences are more interested in how a plot is interpreted than whether it contains surprises. One such engrossing detail is the most vividly used prop since Wilson the volleyball: the bulky x-ray devices Chris drags around like overgrown sewing machines, sometimes losing them, sometimes recovering them again, but always as duty bound to them as he is to his son. As both remnants of a financial miscue and his only potential source of income, they're perfect symbols for his hardscrabble San Francisco existence, which Muccino renders with both grittiness and sensitivity. Smith produces his greatest depth and range yet, his performance containing an ingenuity to match that of his determined character. But the actor's contributions also extend to his real-life son, Jaden. Some observers saw this casting choice as gimmicky, perhaps a fatal dose of the preciousness informing Smith's 1997 single "Just the Two of Us," an ode to his older son. But not only is Jaden incredibly cute, he's also a chip off the old block, natural and true. That The Pursuit of Happyness was a box-office success is no great surprise to anyone who's followed Will Smith's career. But that he earns it this time through earnest commitment to his craft, rather than a wink and a clever sound bite, is an outcome worth cheering.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]

Special Features

Making Pursuit: An Italian Take on the American Dream; Father and Son: On Screen and Off; The Man Behind the Movie: A Conversation With Chris Gardner; Inside the Rubik's Cube; "I Can" song; Director's commentary by Gabriele Muccino

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Will Smith Chris Gardner
Jaden Smith Christopher
Thandie Newton Linda
Brian Howe Jay Twistle
James Karen Martin Frohm
Dan Castellaneta Alan Frakesh
Kurt Fuller Walter Ribbon
Takayo Fischer Mrs. Chu
Kevin West World's Greatest dad
George Cheung Chinese Maintenance Worker
Michael Silverman Doctor at First Hospital David
Domenic Bove Tim Ribbon
Geoff Callan Ferrari, Owner
Raven Joyful Hippie Girl
Scott Klace Tim Brophy
Rashida Clendening Bus Driver
Eric Schniewind Dotors
Peter Fitzsimmons Doctors
Maurice Sherbanee Roy the Old Neighbor
Zuhair Haddad Cab Driver
Victor Raider-Wexler Landlord
Mark Christopher Lawrence Wayne
Darryl Fong Policeman
George Maguire Police Clerk
Joseph A. Nuñez Driver Who Hits Chris
Adam Del Rio Shoe-Spotting Intern
Rocky LaRochelle Motel Manager
Erin Cahill Dean Witter Receptionist
Rueben Grundy Businessman
Ming Lo Young Executives
John Kovacevich Young Executives
Bonnie Akimoto Doctor's Receptionist
Stu Klitsner Dr. Strauk
Esther Scott Shelter Workers
Tina D'Elia Shelter Workers
Cecil Williams Reverend Williams
David Fine Big Guy Rodney
George Moffatt Homeless Guy In Line
Amir Talai Clerk
Mike Garibaldi Paul
Jason Frazier Young Man - Bus Fight
Kevin Crook Smug Intern
David Haines Other Young Executive
Jim Finnerty News Reporter
Abigail van Alyn Ribbon's Receptionist
Bob Greene Doctor at Oakland Memorial Hospital
Robert Anthony Peters Glide Shelter Worker
Terri Orth-Pallavicini Secretary
John Robb Homeless Guys
Daniel Wilder Homeless Guys
Cathy Fithian Policewoman
Keith Stevenson Indian Grocery Clerk
Jeff Applebaum Dean Witter Employee
Victor Hoagland Ribbon's Associates
Richard Bischoff Ribbon's Associates
Edward Donlin Dr. Don Florio
Larry Hunt Bucket Man
Rose Aispuro Blood Center Clerk
Arbin C. Kumar Check Cashing Clerk
Glide Ensemble Glide Singers
Jerry Edwards McLilly Smiley
Shareef Allman Prisoner
Jeffrey Moon Pizza Dad
Peaches Hutchinson Pizza Mom
Brandon Dadwiler Pizza Son
Tateanna Wheeler-Lezine Pizza Daughter
Karen Kahn Professional Woman
Blake Neely Conductor

Technical Credits
Gabriele Muccino Director
David Alper Executive Producer
Yvonne Bastidos Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael J. Becker Costumes/Costume Designer
Todd Black Producer
Jason Blumenthal Producer
Christopher Bruce Songwriter
Willie D. Burton Sound/Sound Designer
Denise Chamian Casting
Denise Chapman Casting
Mark Clayman Executive Producer
Debra Coleman Makeup
Steven Conrad Screenwriter
Louis D'Esposito Executive Producer
Sharen Davis Costumes/Costume Designer
Gretchen Davis Makeup
Kirk R. Gardner Camera Operator
Christopher P. Gardner Associate Producer
Andrea Guerra Score Composer
Nina Henninger Casting
Matthew Heron Special Effects Supervisor
Noelle King Set Decoration/Design
David F. Klassen Art Director
James Lassiter Producer
Robert Mata Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeff Mosley Stunts
Judy Murdock Makeup
Chad Owens Set Decoration/Design
Phedon Papamichael Cinematographer
Goran Pavicevic Camera Operator
J. Michael Riva Production Designer
Randolph Le Roi Stunts
Seal Songwriter
Will Smith Producer
Steve Tisch Producer
Michael Viglietta Asst. Director
Valerie White Costumes/Costume Designer
Hughes Winborne Editor
Lars P. Winther Asst. Director
Teddy Zee Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Pursuit of Happyness
1. One Day at a Time [5:07]
2. Riding the Bus [4:12]
3. Two Questions [3:14]
4. Being Stupid [6:21]
5. Making Contacts [3:27]
6. Birthday Wishes [1:56]
7. Ride Share [3:47]
8. Cab Fare [5:23]
9. Go Get Happy [4:41]
10. Parking Tickets [3:02]
11. Big Interview [4:28]
12. Second Thought [2:28]
13. Linda Is Leaving [4:28]
14. Packing Up [3:04]
15. Taking Care [1:42]
16. Internship [4:45]
17. Beyond the Call [3:41]
18. Hot Lead [3:21]
19. Possibilities [5:29]
20. Paying Taxes [2:59]
21. The Time Machine [3:18]
22. Locked Out [2:25]
23. Safe Cave [1:00]
24. Four Spots Left [3:52]
25. Climbing Mountains [5:30]
26. Shining Light [7:21]
27. Change of Scenery [4:07]
28. Happyness [3:03]


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The Pursuit of Happyness 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is a film that despite all its flaws (repetition of chases, repeated encounters that mirror the last, emotional overload, excessive playing time of two hours, etc) reinforces some truly important human values: love between a father and son, pushing forward toward success despite all the roadblocks, kindness for the plight of the homeless, and strength of character in the face of hopelessness. Knowing that the story (by Steve Conrad) is based on fact, that Chris Gardner really existed to survive these hardships, makes the film even more impactful. Director Gabriele Muccino knows how to aim for the heart and the film is bound to touch all who view it. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is an African American very bright young man married to Linda (Thandie Newton) who has a difficult time working double shifts at a thankless job to support the family due to Chris' inability to sell Bone Density Evaluators that he used the family's life savings to invest in for a future that looks increasingly grim. Chris and Linda and their young son Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) live next to the poverty line and finally Linda leaves, frustrated, angry and hurt. Chris and his son strike out on their own: the relationship between father and son as enacted by the Smiths is as touching as any on film. Bruised by the lack of success in selling his machines, Chris encounters a happy man who says his secret is working as a stockbroker with Dean Witter in downtown San Francisco. Chris applies for employment, passes an entrance exam and is taken on with the firm - only to discover he is an unpaid intern who must pass a hefty exam and perform at top speed in order to succeed. With no income except from Chris' continued attempts to see his medical machines poverty embraces the father and son and they end up homeless and hungry. The only things keeping Chris afloat are his love and concern for his son and his intense will to survive and succeed. How this works out is known because of all the PR from the film and from the actual facts of the story. Will Smith and his son Jaden give warmly human performances, giving the camera as much with the silence of their faces as they deliver with lines. Yes, there are many moments when the heartstrings are heavily plucked, but there is no problem defending that in a society too famished for stories of human dignity in the face of tragedy. The large supporting cast is well directed and the production values are excellent. PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is well worth the journey. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe that this movie deserves the outstanding rating. The other reviewers have said that it is only recommended and okay, but trust me, watch this movie and you won't regret it. It may even change your life. The actors, as you may know, really make this movie what it is. This is a true insight on what it is to be poor and maybe you will understand what your part in life is after you watch this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought the dvd "Pursuit of Happiness" while I was in Mongtomery. This has got to be one of Will's best movies. He really set it off in the movie. It was a powerfull story of struggle. I enjoyed this movie from the begining to the end. It helps remind you that not every wealthy person had it easy or just given to them. It reminds to you to focus on what YOU want and to go after it no matter what roadblocks may be thrown in front of you! Oh yea, can't forget how precious lil' Jaden was in the movie. He's going to be a heartbreaker!!!! This movie is worth adding to YOUR movie collection!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie ! Will Smith definitely deserved an Oscar (he was nominated) for his gripping, heartbreaking portrayal of Chris Gardner and his son Jaden also does a fabulous job playing his son. If this movie does not make you cry at least once, you are not human. Well worth your time. Don't miss it. Will just gets better and better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a day of psychobable movies, or movies of disgusting subjects, it's refreshing to see this one. Will Smith has shown he is a true artist who can capture the sense, feeling and beauty in a terrific film. If you want a lift in your life, see this film!
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
I have been wanting to see the Pursuit of Happyness film since around 2006/2007 when I was living on the Mayport Naval base in Florida. I’m glad that I finally got the chance to see this motivational film that also had equal moments of heart string pulling and tear jerking scenes. As many know, Pursuit of Happyness stars Will Smith as Chris Gardner and Smith’s real-life son Jaden Smith as the child. Thandie Newton also is one of the celebrities included in the film. One of the heart string pulling scenes is where the character of Chris Gardner and his son are shown waiting along with what looks to be several hundred other people waiting in line for homeless housing, but the shelter could only house around 50 people (an indirect commentary on the number of homeless shelters available in the U.S.). One of the employees of the homeless shelter is seen having to do the difficult job of announcing to the many waiting that they have now reached their daily cutoff, leaving the obvious impression that others are going to have to try elsewhere and/or again the next day. On an unrelated note, I especially can’t help but have feeling around this issue after unexpectedly running into a female who was homeless (less than a year ago), but was at least happy to have got a spot at a nearby homeless shelter and a job as an event planning assistant even as she was trying to qualify for public housing (which was obviously going to be a possible but tricky feat for her because she appeared to be both childfree and single). I only say that because it is common knowledge that the circumstances and probability of being able to qualify for public housing are different for those who have children compared to those who voluntarily chose to not have children. Without revealing her identity, the only other thing I feel comfortable in disclosing is that it appeared to me that she had previously actually lived in D.C., based on what she told me and where I ran into her (I wish to avoid disclosing for the sake of the review and my conscience on what is ok to reveal about that encounter). The ending of the Pursuit of Happyness gives the following data; After beginning his career at Dean Witter, Chris Gardner went on to open the investment firm Gardner Rich in 1987. Chris Gardner himself then makes a brief appearance in the film. Then the following other info; In 2006, Chris Gardner sold a minority stake in his brokerage firm in a multi-million dollar deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow good movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yesenia-NY More than 1 year ago
The smith family are great working together in doing this film. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. They made you believe as if they where in trouble themselves. Jaden Smith made you want to reach out and hug him, as well as help him. Total watch it, do not miss out on a great movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that the ending needed a little work. I was waiting for the big tearjerked moment and it never came. I cried more during the trailer than I did during the actually movie. I would maybe see the movie again but not on my own accord.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Will Smith plays a regular man, with a wife and a son (portrayed by his real son). Soon, his wife leaves him and he cannot afford to pay the rent. Him and his son are left to fair for their own in this compelling, based on a true story, movie title. Although I did not think it was the best movie I have ever seen, I thought it gave enough reason to mention. You will walk into this movie with a full heart, and leave with an even fuller one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heart wrenching, inspirational, touching, amazing, wonderful.....see it. Better yet, own it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One word to describe this movie.....EXCELLENT!!! Will Smith and son Jaden Smith have really out done themselves in this film. The story line was excellent, the acting was excellent, the entire movie excellent. You have to add this to your collection. It portrays the outcome of hardwork, sacrifice and struggle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful tale full of hope for the American Dream. Will Smith as a brilliant salesman that wants to break into a mortgage firm, and with persistence, does. A lovely tale.
twilightsagaluver More than 1 year ago
heart felt movie. filled with love and joy. undescribable happiness and love between the father and son. i loved this movie with all my heart.
BoatSmith More than 1 year ago
This movie teaches endurance and inspiration to follow your dreams. Great movie for the whole family including father bonding being there for his son during tough times.
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