Dick Johnson Is Dead

2020 documentary film by Kirsten Johnson

Dick Johnson Is Dead is a 2020 American documentary movie, directed by Kirsten Johnson and co-written by Johnson and Nels Bangerter. The story focuses on Johnson's father Richard, who suffers from dementia, portraying different ways—some of them violent "accidents" — in which he could ultimately die. In each scenario, the elderly Johnson plays along with his daughter's black humor and imaginative fantasies. The film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling. It was released on Netflix on October 2, 2020.


Richard Johnson (referred to as "Dick") is a retired clinical psychiatrist who is suffering from dementia. His daughter Kirsten Johnson involves him in a series of imaginative enactments of his impending death, some of them violent "accidents",[1] such as "falling down a flight of stairs, [or] being struck in the neck and bleeding out".[2] She also has him act out his own funeral and fantasizes about him entering the gates of heaven.[2] Dick amiably plays along with her black humor; in one scene he proposes, "You can euthanize me."[3]



  1. "'Dick Johnson Is Dead': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Dick Johnson Is Dead first look review – A moving, absurd portrait of death". Little White Lies. Archived from the original on 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  3. Allen, Nick. "Sundance 2020: Kajillionaire, Dick Johnson is Dead | Sundance | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Archived from the original on 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2020-02-04.

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