Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage,
Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis,
Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso,
John Mahoney, Anita Gillette,
Chaliapin Jr., Leonardo Cimino
Writer:John Patrick Shanley
Produced by:Norman Jewison, Bonnie Palef,
Patrick J. Palmer
Music by:Dick Hyman
Cinematography by:David Watkin
Editing by:Lou Lombardo
Genre: Comedy | Drama
1987USA (New York City, New York)
18 December 1987 USA
February 1988 West Germany (Berlin International Film Festival)
25 February 1988 Argentina
4 March 1988 Spain (Madrid)
5 March 1988 Japan
10 March 1988 Australia
11 March 1988 Italy
11 March 1988 Spain (Barcelona)
17 March 1988 Belgium (Gent)
17 March 1988 West Germany
24 March 1988 Netherlands
25 March 1988 Denmark
25 March 1988 Portugal
25 March 1988 Sweden
1 April 1988 Finland
6 April 1988 France
21 April 1988 Hong Kong
22 July 1988 Ireland
4 August 1989 East Germany
8 June 1990 Turkey
Dates:1 December 1986 - 23
Street, Brooklyn, New York City (New York, USA); Brooklyn Heights,
Brooklyn, New York City (New York, USA); Brooklyn, New York City (New
York, USA); Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center for the Performing
Arts - Columbus Avenue & 61st Street, Manhattan, New York City (New
York, USA); Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
Thirty-seven-year-old Loretta Castorini (Cher), an Italian American
widow, is an accountant for a few local businesses in Brooklyn
Heights, New York. She lives in a large, comfortable house with her
parents: Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) a successful plumber, Rose (Olympia
Dukakis) and her grandfather, Cosmo's father (Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.).
Her boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), proposes to her over
dinner in a neighborhood Italian restaurant, The Grand Ticino,
before leaving for Sicily to attend to his dying mother. She agrees
on the condition that he observes the formalities of kneeling and
presenting a ring because she considers that her previous marriage
was cut short because they hadn't observed them. Johnny asks Loretta
to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to the
wedding. Loretta drives Johnny to the airport, then stops at a
liquor store for a bottle of champagne, where she hears the
proprietors bickering, the wife accusing the husband of being "a
At home, Cosmo is listening to Vicki Carr's recording of "It Must Be
Him" and brooding. Loretta pours them a drink and shares her news.
Cosmo points out that she married before and it didn't work out.
Loretta says that she had bad luck, that her husband was hit by a
bus. She believes the bad luck was caused by her not having had a
real wedding. Cosmo had not approved, and they had gotten married at
City Hall, with no party, dress, no cake... and had had bad luck. He
agrees. She tells him she has to have a "real" wedding this time.
They wake Rose to tell her the news. She asks Loretta if she loves
Johnny. Loretta says no, but she likes him. Rose says that is good,
"When you love them they drive you crazy because they know they can."
The next morning as Loretta and Rose have breakfast, Johnny calls
from Sicily where his mother is dying. He hasn't told her about his
engagement yet. Loretta urges him not to wait until she is dead. He
reminds Loretta of her promise to visit Ronny. She visits the bakery
that Ronny owns. He explains the reason for the bad blood: Ronny had
been engaged to a woman, and during that time Johnny had come in one
day to buy bread. Ronny talked to Johnny as he sliced the bread and
wasn't paying attention, and he lost his hand in the slicer. His
fiancée left him because he was "maimed." Ronny blames Johnny for
the accident. He is very upset. Loretta tells him she has not come
to upset him but to talk. They go to his apartment above the bakery
and Loretta cooks him a meal and they drink whiskey and talk.
Loretta tells Ronny that he is a "wolf" who allowed himself to lose
his hand rather than be caught in a trap. Ronny sweeps Loretta into
bed, and they make love.
That night an amazing full moon shines over the couples in the story.
In the morning, Loretta feels ashamed and tells Ronny they can never
see each other again. He admits he's fallen in love but agrees to
not see her again--if she will go to the opera with him that night,
because then he would have had the two things he loves most, the
opera and Loretta. She agrees to meet him at the Met.
That day Loretta goes to a beauty salon and has her hair colored and
styled, her eyebrows plucked--a complete makeover. She shops for a
beautiful gown and shoes. She stops at the church to go to
confession, telling the priest that she has slept with her fiancé's
brother. The priest urges her to "consider her life." She sees Rose
sitting in the church, and they talk. Rose tells her that Cosmo is
seeing another woman. Loretta does not believe her. Meanwhile, Cosmo
is having lunch at a fancy restaurant with his mistress Mona (Anita
Gillette). He presents her with a gift of a gold bracelet.
There is a scene that evening where Loretta plays romantic music as
she leisurely dresses for the opera and then takes a cab to meet
Ronny at the Met. He is wearing a tux and they are both transformed.
Loretta is deeply moved by her first opera, Puccini's "La Bohème".
That night Rose dines alone at The Grand Ticino and witnesses a
dramatic breakup between a young coed and a college professor named
Perry (John Mahoney). She invites Perry to dine with her; afterwards
he walks her home. She knows her husband has a mistress but refuses
to be unfaithful and doesn't take Perry's suggestion that she invite
him in "because I know who I am."
As Loretta and Ronny leave the opera, she sees Cosmo with Mona; both
Loretta and Cosmo are shocked to see the other with someone other
than their proper partner, but they agree to ignore the fact that
they saw each other. Loretta and Ronny stop at a bar for a drink.
Loretta is upset about Cosmo's infidelity and feels guilty for being
with Ronny. She explains to him how a person can decide to do things
differently and change. But he desperately and passionately
persuades her into another tryst.
Meanwhile, Johnny's mother has made a miraculous recovery after
being told of his plans to marry Loretta, and he has returned from
Sicily unexpectedly, stopping at Loretta's house on his way back
from the airport. Rose tells him that Loretta is out, she doesn't
know where. While they have the opportunity to talk, Rose asks him
why men cheat on women. First he suggests that it might have
something to do with Adam looking for his missing rib, but Rose lays
out her opinion that the real reason is fear of death. While they
are talking, Cosmo comes home from the opera. Rose says to him, "I
just want you to know no matter what you do, you're gonna die just
like everyone else."
Loretta arrives home the following morning, having spent another
night with Ronny. Rose is alone in the kitchen and tells her that
Johnny has come back from Italy and will be there soon and remarks
that Loretta has a love bite on her neck. As they wait, Ronny
arrives. Rose lets him in and looks at his neck where she sees a
love bite. Rose invites Ronny to stay for breakfast, and he accepts
before Loretta can stop him. Cosmo and the grandfather come down for
breakfast. Cosmo's father tells him that he must pay for Loretta's
wedding this time, and sits down. As they all sit around the table,
Rose asks Cosmo if she has been a good wife, and when he tells her
yes she tells Cosmo that she wants him to stop seeing his mistress.
After hesitating, he agrees to, but complains that his life is worth
nothing. Rose counters that his life is not worth nothing, that she
loves him. Rose's brother Raymond Cappomaggi (Louis Guss) and his
wife Rita (Julie Bovasso) stop in because Loretta, who does their
books, forgot to make the bank deposit from their delicatessen while
she was getting her makeover, and they are worried. Everyone is
introduced to Ronny, and they all await Johnny's arrival.
When Johnny finally comes in, he explains to Loretta that if he
marries her, his mother will die. Loretta, forgetting momentarily
that this is good news, throws the engagement ring at him. Seizing
the moment, Ronny asks Loretta to marry him; he borrows Johnny's
ring, and Loretta accepts. Rose asks Loretta if she loves him, and
when Loretta says, "I love him awful," Rose comments that that's too
bad. The family shares a bottle of champagne to celebrate and the
grandfather insists that Johnny join in the toast because he will
now be one of the family as well.
Screenwriter John Patrick Shanley wrote the film's script with Sally
Field in mind for the lead role which in the end was played by Cher
- Director Norman Jewison was fined by the actors' union for not
allowing his actors to go to lunch until they perfected the moods of
their characters for the climax scene in the kitchen.
- Originally, the film was called "The Bride and the Wolf".
- Cher had just done two movies back-to-back and was so tired, she
originally turned this part down. She also thought she could not
play a bookkeeper because she is such a lavish spender in real life.
- The original screenplay featured a subplot that showed the
characters played by Cher and Vincent Gardenia volunteering at a
men's homeless shelter as penance for their sins. The subplot was
- The "Old Man" is played by Feodor Chaliapin Jr. (although credited
in the film as Feodor Chaliapin). He is the son of Feodor Chaliapin
Sr., who was one of the greatest basses of all time - a Russian who
often performed at the Metropolitan Opera in the early 1900s.
- Nicolas Cage's screen test didn't impress the studio, and they
wanted to get someone else to play Ronny. But Cher insisted that
Cage was the one to play that role, and threatened to quit unless he
was hired. After a few days, the studio relented.
- Olympia Dukakis is only 15 years older than her on-screen daughter
- According to casting director Howard Feuer, both Anne Bancroft and
Maureen Stapleton had been considered for the role of Cher's mother,
but their fees were too expensive for the production budget. Feuer
remembered Olympia Dukakis, a character actress known for years to
most in casting, she read for director Norman Jewison and he hired
- The movie's line "Snap out of it!" was voted as the #96 movie
quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
- Ranked ninth on Premiere Magazine's "20 Most Overrated Movies of
- Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest
films in the genre "Romantic Comedy" in June 2008.
- The opening title sequence was originally played on the score from
"La bohème" opera but was changed to the Dean Martin track "That's
Amore" as the preview drew negative test audience reaction. Many
shifted uncomfortably on their seats thinking that they had been
lured into an art film.
- Norman Jewison has stated that the climactic kitchen sequence was
the most difficult scene that he ever shot in his career. The crew
were dismissed and Jewison rehearsed with the cast for some time,
using a stage production approach. Only after the actors perfected
their timing did he decide where to put the camera.
Influential film critic Roger Ebert entered the film to his "Great
Movies" collection in June 2003.
-It went on to gross $80,640,528 at the North American box
office, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of that year.
Cammareri: I love you.
Loretta Castorini: [slaps him twice] Snap out of it!
Loretta Castorini: [after seeing La Boheme] That was so awful.
Ronny Cammareri: Awful?
Loretta Castorini: Beautiful... sad. She died!
Ronny Cammareri: Yes.
Loretta Castorini: I was surprised... You know, I didn't really
think she was gonna die. I knew she was sick.
Ronny Cammareri: She had TB.
Loretta Castorini: I know! I mean, she was coughing her brains
out, and still she had to keep singing!
Ronny Cammareri: This was painted by Marc Chagall. And, as you
can see, he was a very great artist.
Loretta Castorini: It's kind of little gaudy, don't you think?
Ronny Cammareri: Well, he was havin' some fun.
[Loretta announces she's going to marry Johnny Camareri] Cosmo Castorini: I don't like him.
Rose: You're not going to marry him, Cosmo. Do you love him,
Loretta Castorini: No.
[She looks at Cosmo]
Rose: When you love them they drive you crazy because they know
[Johnny, at his mother's deathbed, telephones his fiancee
Loretta Castorini: Did you tell her we're getting married?
Johnny: I'm waiting... I'm waiting for a moment when she is
Loretta Castorini: Well, don't wait until she's dead.
Rose: How's the mother?
Loretta Castorini: She's dying. But I could still hear her big
Ronny Cammareri: You ruined my life.
Loretta Castorini: That's impossible! It was ruined when I got
here! *You* ruined *my* life!
Loretta Castorini: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has
been two months since my last confession.
Priest: What sins have you to confess?
Loretta Castorini: Twice I took the name of the Lord in vain,
once I slept with the brother of my fiancee, and once I bounced a
check at the liquor store, but that was really an accident.
Priest: Then it's not a sin. But... what was that second thing
you said, Loretta?
Loretta Castorini: What am I going to tell him?
Cosmo Castorini: Tell him the truth. They find out anyway.
Johnny: In time you will see that this is the best thing.
Loretta Castorini: In time you'll drop dead and I'll come to
your funeral in a red dress!
Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?
Loretta Castorini: Aw, ma, I love him awful.
Rose: Oh, God, that's too bad.
Ronny Cammareri: You're gonna marry my brother? Why you wanna
sell your life short? Playing it safe is just about the most
dangerous thing a woman like you could do. You waited for the right
man the first time, why didn't you wait for the right man again?
Loretta Castorini: He didn't come!
Ronny Cammareri: I'm here!
Loretta Castorini: You're late!
Loretta Castorini: I'm getting married.
Cosmo Castorini: Again?
Loretta Castorini: Yeah.
Cosmo Castorini: You did this once before, it didn't work out.
Loretta Castorini: The guy died!
Rose: Are you drunk?
Loretta Castorini: No. Are YOU drunk?
Rose: No... but I have a hangover.
Ronny Cammareri: A bride without a head!
Loretta Castorini: A wolf without a foot!
Old Crone: You have someone on that plane?
Loretta Castorini: Yeah, my fiancé.
Old Crone: [angry] I put a curse on that plane. My sister is on
that plane. I put a curse on that plane that it's gonna explode,
burn on fire and fall into the sea. Fifty years ago, she stole a man
from me. S'aprese il mio uomo! Today she tells me that she never
loved him, that she took him to be strong on me. Now she's going
back to Sicily. Ritorna in Sicilia! I cursed her that the green
Atlantic water should swallow her up!
Loretta Castorini: I don't believe in curses.
Old Crone: [shrugging] Eh, neither do I.
Rose: Would anyone like some oatmeal?
Ronny Cammareri: Yes, Mrs. Castorini, I would LOVE some oatmeal.
Loretta Castorini: No, we don't want any oatmeal!
Loretta Castorini: You ruined my life!
Ronny Cammareri: No, I didn't.
Loretta Castorini: Oh, yes, you did! Oh, yes, you did! Y'know,
you got them bad eyes, like a gypsy, and I don't know why I didn't
see it yesterday. Bad luck! That's what it is. Is that all I'm ever
gonna have? I should have taken a rock and killed myself years ago!
Loretta Castorini: [on the phone with Johnny] Call me after you
tell her... and uh, don't stand directly under the sun - you got a
hat, use your hat.
Johnny: Ok, I got my hat, all right.
Loretta Castorini: [after spending the night with Ronny] I'm
gonna marry him.
Ronny Cammareri: What?
Loretta Castorini: Last night never happened, you hear me? I'm
gonna marry him anyway and last night never happened, and you and I
are gonna take this to our coffins!
Ronny Cammareri: I can't do that.
Johnny: [Bobo shows up with the dessert cart] Would you like
Loretta Castorini: [looks at the cart] You know I really
Johnny: Will you marry me?
Loretta Castorini: Bobo, take the cart away.
Bobo: Veddy good, miss.
Ronny Cammareri: Son of a bitch!
[he lifts Loretta into his arms]
Ronny Cammareri: .
Loretta Castorini: Wait a minute! Where are you taking me?
Ronny Cammareri: To the bedroom.
Cosmo Castorini: It looks stupid. It's a pinky ring. It's a
Loretta Castorini: It's temporary.
Cosmo Castorini: Everything is temporary. That don't excuse
Weekend Chart Record
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
Top Box Office Films
Academy Awards, USA
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
John Patrick Shanley
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Patrick J. Palmer
American Comedy Awards, USA
Funniest Supporting Female Performer - Motion Picture or TV
Awards of the Japanese Academy
Award of the Japanese Academy
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Screenplay - Original
John Patrick Shanley
Berlin International Film Festival
Casting Society of America, USA
Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy
David di Donatello Awards
Best Foreign Actress (Migliore Attrice Straniera)
Golden Globes, USA
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion
Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
John Patrick Shanley
Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists
Best Actress - Foreign Film (Migliore Attrice Straniera)
Tied with Stéphane Audran in Babettes gæstebud (1987).
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review, USA
Best Supporting Actress
Writers Guild of America, USA
WGA Award (Screen)
Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
John Patrick Shanley