A Little Night Music (film)

A Little Night Music is a 1977 American–West German–Austrian film adaptation of the musical A Little Night Music starring Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Rigg, and Lesley-Anne Down. It also features Len Cariou, Hermione Gingold, and Laurence Guittard who reprised their Broadway roles. The film was directed by Harold Prince, his second and final feature film as director.


Fredrik Egerman (Len Cariou) is very happy in his marriage to Anne (Lesley-Anne Down), an 18-year-old virgin. However, Anne nervously has protected her virginity for the whole 11 months of marriage, and being a bit restless, Fredrik goes to see an old flame: the famous actress Desirée Armfeldt (Elizabeth Taylor).

Desirée, who is getting tired of her life, is thinking of settling down, and sets her sights on Fredrik, despite his marriage, and her own married lover Count Carl-Magnus Mittelheim (Laurence Guittard). She gets her mother to invite the Egermans to her country estate for the weekend. But when Carl-Magnus and his wife, Charlotte (Diana Rigg), appear, too, things begin to get farcical, and the night must smile for the third time before all the lovers are united.


  • Elizabeth Taylor as Desiree Armfeldt
  • Diana Rigg as Charlotte Mittelheim
  • Len Cariou as Frederich Egerman
  • Lesley-Anne Down as Anne Egerman
  • Hermione Gingold as Madame Armfeldt
  • Laurence Guittard as Count Carl-Magnus Mittelheim
  • Christopher Guard as Erich Egerman
  • Lesley Dunlop as Petra
  • Heinz Marecek as Frid
  • Chloe Franks as Fredericka Armfeldt
  • Jonathan Tunick as Conductor



    Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for the film. He wrote the lyrics for the "Night Waltz" theme ("Love Takes Time") and wrote an entirely new version of "The Glamorous Life", which has been incorporated into several subsequent productions of the stage musical.


    The setting for the film was moved from Sweden to Austria and was filmed on location.

    Release and reception

    The film received mostly negative reviews, with much being made of Taylor's wildly fluctuating weight from scene to scene. Some critics talked more positively of the film, with Variety calling it "an elegant looking, period romantic charade". The film has received critical praise for Diana Rigg's performance. The film currently holds an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Awards and honors

  • Jonathan Tunick - Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song Score, and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score (Won)
  • Florence Klotz - Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Nominated)

    Home media

    A soundtrack was released on LP. In 2013, Masterworks Broadway released an expanded edition on compact disc featuring one previously unreleased stereo track prepared for the LP and three mono tracks taken directly from the film's soundtrack.

    The film was, for a time, available on VHS and Laserdisc. A DVD release was issued in June 2007. A newer version of "The Glamorous Life" was included on the new remastered version of the Original Broadway Cast Recording.