‘Sr.’ Trailer Captures the Last Days of Robert Downey Jr.’s Father

Netflix will release the documentary film about the "Putney Swope" director on December 2.
PUTNEY SWOPE, director Robert Downey (gesturing), Stanley Gottlieb (far right), on set, 1969
Robert Downey Sr. on the set of "Putney Swope"
Courtesy Everett Collection

One year after Robert Downey Sr.’s death, a celebration of his life is coming to Netflix. The streamer released the official trailer for “Sr.,” a documentary about the final days of the director.

A prominent figure in the independent and counterculture film scene of the ’60s and ’70s, Downey Sr. is best known for his 1969 film “Putney Swope,” a vicious satire of the New York advertising world that has been cited as an influence from acclaimed directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Jim Jarmusch. Of course, today, many probably know Downey Sr. better as the father of his son, Robert Downey Jr., who developed a much more mainstream level of fame through acting, particularly as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Filmed across the last three years of Downey Sr.’s life, “Sr.” profiles the filmmaker’s career and features extensive interviews between him and his son about his career his relationship with his third wife Rosemary Rogers, and his attempts to finish his final film project. The movie also features focuses on Downey Jr.’s struggles to accept his father’s morality, as the man’s health begins to decline.

“Whatever’s unfolding, funny or tragic, it’s happening with the camera going,” Downey Jr. says during an emotional moment in the trailer. “But then there’s some part of me that’s like, ‘Oh. I’ll miss him.'”

Chris Smith, best known for his acclaimed 1999 doc “American Movie,” directs “Sr.” Smith has in recent years worked extensively for Netflix, receiving Primetime Emmy Nominations for directing documentary features “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond,” about the making of the 1999 film “Man on the Moon,” and “Fyre,” about the infamous Fyre Festival scam organized by Billy McFarland. He also directed “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” and “Bad Vegan” for the streamer, in addition to executive producing the first season of true crime doc phenomenon “Tiger King.”

“Sr.” first premiered at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival this September, where it received positive reviews from critics. In his review for IndieWire, critic Vikram Murthi praised the film’s portrait of Sr. and Jr.’s father-son relationship, writing that “anyone who has any emotional investment in Robert Downey Sr.’s rebellious body of work will at least appreciate how he tries his best to make one last movie in his own image.”

“Sr.” will be released in select theaters November 18, before streaming on Netflix beginning December 2. Check out the full trailer for the documentary below.

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