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A Separate Peace (1972)

PG | | Drama | 27 September 1972 (USA)
Two roomates at a prep school in New England during World War II come to grips with the war, jealousy and betrayal. Based on a novel by John Knowles.


Larry Peerce


John Knowles (novel), Fred Segal




Cast overview:
John Heyl John Heyl ... Finny
Parker Stevenson ... Gene
William Roerick William Roerick ... Mr. Patchwithers, Headmaster
Peter Brush Peter Brush ... Leper
Victor Bevine ... Brinker
Scott Bradbury Scott Bradbury ... Chet
John E.A. Mackenzie John E.A. Mackenzie ... Bobby
Mark Trefethen Mark Trefethen ... John
Frank Wilich Jr. Frank Wilich Jr. ... Quackenbush
Elizabeth B. Brewster Elizabeth B. Brewster ... Mrs. Patchwithers
Edward Echols Edward Echols ... Mr. Ludsbury
Don Schultz Don Schultz ... Dr. Stanpole
Paul Sadler Paul Sadler ... Naval Officer


Gene and Finny are two boys who are best friends living in 1943, at the height of World War II. The idea that the boys will most likely be drafted when they turn eighteen is surrounding them, and they are practically forced to live their lives to the fullest. The two boys attend the Devon School, which prepares them for military life that they will most likely be subjected to. The film begins with a narration by an older Gene, traveling back to Devon some years later. The thing he wishes most to see is the tree, which had a great effect on the boys' lives. Written by Anonymous

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From the best seller that really knew a generation. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The scene where the boys all suddenly start singing "Hitler has only got one ball" was unscripted. Director Larry Peerce continued filming to see how it played out, with the scene ending up in the final cut. See more »


Finny: You're crazy.
Brinker: No, that's our other casualty, Leper.
See more »


Remade as A Separate Peace (2004) See more »

User Reviews

A class act by Exeter Academy
20 October 2004 | by mmalcolm_98See all my reviews

The 1972 film version of John Knowles modern masterpiece is a class act for the reason that Paramount Pictures went to Phillips Exeter Academy and filmed it on location with all student actors from Exeter with the exception of Parker Stevenson whom attended The Brooks School. Though the acting is a little amateurish,so what,it should be, for it is the drama society of the school and alumni putting on a Paramount Film!

John Heyl,a former Exeter Student, was eighteen and son of the school's doctor. John Heyl does a great job as Finny at the age sixteen,seventeen that Finny would have been in the novel. This was also Parker Stevenson, at eighteen, his first film and in my view his best role as Gene.

It is a good adaptation of the book but I would strongly suggest that you read the novel first for the tensions of love, hate,jealously, denial, sexual undertone, and regret are pale compared to John Knowles' writing.

It is a love story with war looming closer to the boys of The Devon Academy. The viewer decides if this love is emotional and / or physical. What else could motivate ones "Best Pal" and roommate to do such a violent act as to attempt to maim him hence excorise him (Finny) from Genes life i.e. emotions so deep that Gene could not deal with at sixteen.

I have recently viewed Showtime's 2004 version which was filmed at a college in Canada and has actors that are in there late twenties playing the parts of teenagers. No sorry - Veto! John Heyl will always be Finny and Parker Stevenson will always be Gene. The 1972 film version shot at Exeter is the true "Preppy Classic".

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Release Date:

27 September 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Paz separada See more »


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Paramount Pictures See more »
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Color (Eastmancolor)
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