I saw this movie on an American PBS station, I think in the late '70s or early '80s. The premise was very similar to the Justin Timberlake film "In Time". Time is used as currency, and people die when they run out. I thought the title was "Time is Money", or "If Time were Money", but could not find anything by either name online. Some things I remember from the movie are:

  • An irresponsible girl spends all of her currency living the high life, and then at a party realizes she has only seconds of life remaining. In a panic, she starts begging those around her for some more time, but dies when nobody helps her.
  • A financial genius has a plan for accruing a fortune in time. The rest of his family are somewhat dim-witted.
  • There is a scene where a wealthy woman gives her necklace to two people so they can sell it for more time, but they fight over it. The necklace breaks and the pearls are scattered on the ground.
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    A similar concept is used in a brilliant child novel by Michael Ende (of the Neverending Story): Momo – Geerten Mar 8 '13 at 8:37

The movie that you are trying to identify is probably the short film, The Price of Life (1987). An article on Yahoo notes the obvious plot similarities to In Time:

In 1987, Stephen Tolkin co-wrote and directed "The Price of Life," a brilliant short film that appeared as part of the PBS series "American Playhouse." The short also popped up on at least one premium cable station in the early 1990s as between movie filler.

In Tolkin's film, each newborn is issued a credit card with a set number of years on it. The card can be used for any transaction, but when the balance hits zero, the cardholder dies.

Jim Youngs plays Zachary, a young man who learns how to wheel and deal at a very early age. Unlike his spendthrift sister, Zachary banks over 300 years in his personal account before a crisis of conscience forces him to make a life or death choice regarding his family.

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