In 1984, actor Dustin Hoffman starred in a critically-acclaimed Broadway revival of playwright Arthur Miller's classic Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Death of a Salesman. A year later, Hoffman and most of his fellow cast members starred in this made-for-TV production, the first English-language film by German director Volker Schlondorff. Hoffman stars as Willy Loman, an aging salesman who has lost his job because of encroaching senility. Now living on handouts provided by his friend Charley (Charles Durning), Willy's lifelong delusions of success and greatness awaiting just around the corner for he and his family have been shattered, and he's considering suicide. As he reflects on his life and the failed promise of his sons Biff (John Malkovich) and Happy (Stephen Lang), Willy finally confronts some unpleasant truths about both sons, particularly Biff, a one-time athlete who has become a kleptomaniac. One of the best of the many filmed versions of Miller's seminal work, Death of a Salesman (1985) won several awards, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Hoffman.
by Karl Williams synopsis