.:Moonstruck:.

Director: Norman Jewison

Year: 1987
Country: USA

Tagline: Life. Family. Love.

Production Companies: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Star Partners

Cast: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Anita Gillette, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Leonardo Cimino

Writer: John Patrick Shanley

Produced by: Norman Jewison, Bonnie Palef, Patrick J. Palmer

Original Music by: Dick Hyman

Cinematography by: David Watkin

Film Editing by: Lou Lombardo

Genre: Comedy | Drama

Runtime: 102 min

Release Date:

16 December 1987 USA (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

Opening Weekend: $5,069,508 (USA)

US Gross: $80,640,528

Worldwide Gross: $156,239,800

Filming Dates: 1 December 1986 - 23 February 1987

Filming Location:

19 Cranberry 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)

Official site: mgm

Trailer:

 

 

 

Plot summary:

 

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 wolf."

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.

 

Reviews and other links:

Rotten Tomatoes - Critic Reviews for Moonstruck

By Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

Dear Author: Friday Film Review by Jayne

TCM's article on Moonstruck

"Moonstruck" Script by John Patrick Shanley (Final Draft)

Moonstruck Film Locations - photos from the set in New York

Moonstruck Filming Locations - photos

By Charli Mac - The Magic of Moonstruck: Ma, I Love Him Awful

Moonstruck - AFI: 10 Top 10

By Janet Maslin (New York Times)

By Rita Kempley (Washington Post)

By Billy Stevenson (Film Canon)

By Michael Reuben (Blu-ray.com)

By Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)

 

American Film Institute recognition:

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - Nominated
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs - #41
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions - #17
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs: That's Amore - Nominated
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes: "Snap out of it!" - #96
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - Nominated
AFI's 10 Top 10 - #8 Romantic Comedy
 

Photos:

  

See all photos in the gallery.

Trivia:

- 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 instead.
- 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 discarded.
- 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 Cher.
- 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 her instantly.
- 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 All Time".
- 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.
 

Memorable quotes:

 

Ronny 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?
Loretta Castorini:
No.
Rose:
Good.
[She looks at Cosmo]
Rose:
When you love them they drive you crazy because they know they can.

[Johnny, at his mother's deathbed, telephones his fiancee Loretta]
Loretta Castorini:
Did you tell her we're getting married?
Johnny:
I'm waiting... I'm waiting for a moment when she is peaceful.
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 mouth.

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 some dessert?
Loretta Castorini:
[looks at the cart] You know I really shouldn't.
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 man's ring.
Loretta Castorini:
It's temporary.
Cosmo Castorini:
Everything is temporary. That don't excuse nothin'.

 

Weekend Chart Record

 

Date Rank Gross % Change Theaters Per Theater Total Gross Days
1988/01/15 3 $5,069,508   635 $7,983   $6,400,879 33
1988/01/22 3 $4,801,681 -5% 635 $7,562   $13,362,551 40
1988/01/29 3 $4,056,097 -16% 635 $6,388   $19,033,999 47
1988/02/05 3 $4,590,988 +13% 985 $4,661   $25,024,293 54
1988/02/12 5 $4,412,800 -4% 1,000 $4,413   $30,720,725 61
1988/02/19 3 $4,738,329 +7% 1,168 $4,057   $36,554,875 68
1988/02/26 4 $3,376,975 -29% 1,178 $2,867   $41,285,375 75
1988/03/04 4 $3,287,038 -3% 1,177 $2,793   $45,670,253 82
1988/03/11 5 $2,657,247 -19% 1,155 $2,301   $49,377,054 89
1988/03/18 6 $2,324,615 -13% 1,124 $2,068   $52,614,427 96
1988/03/25 10 $1,747,446 -25% 1,041 $1,679   $55,157,338 103
1988/04/01 12 $1,328,853 -24% 902 $1,473   $57,246,512 110
1988/04/08 9 $1,820,417 +37% 985 $1,848   $59,709,892 117
1988/04/15 6 $2,900,253 +59% 1,025 $2,830   $63,520,335 124
1988/04/22 8 $2,339,002 -19% 1,009 $2,318   $66,885,111 131
1988/04/29 10 $1,574,686 -33% 897 $1,756   $69,124,607 138
1988/05/06 10 $1,177,630 -25% 830 $1,419   $70,791,647 145
1988/05/13 8 $1,097,858 -7% 743 $1,478   $72,324,513 152
1988/05/20 6 $1,176,006 +7% 771 $1,525   $73,972,593 159
1988/05/27 7 $1,126,234 -4% 734 $1,534   $75,492,040 166
1988/06/03 9 $612,475 -46% 631 $971   $76,368,663 173
1988/06/10 12 $401,767 -34% 511 $786   $77,051,120 180

 

Awards:

 

 

 

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1989

Won

ASCAP Award

Top Box Office Films
Dick Hyman

 

Academy Awards, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Oscar

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cher

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Olympia Dukakis

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
John Patrick Shanley

Nominated

Oscar

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Vincent Gardenia

Best Director
Norman Jewison

Best Picture
Patrick J. Palmer
Norman Jewison

 

American Comedy Awards, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

American Comedy Award

Funniest Supporting Female Performer - Motion Picture or TV
Olympia Dukakis

 

Awards of the Japanese Academy

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1989

Nominated

Award of the Japanese Academy

Best Foreign Language Film

 

BAFTA Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1989

Won

BAFTA Film Award

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Olympia Dukakis

Nominated

BAFTA Film Award

Best Actress
Cher

Best Score
Dick Hyman

Best Screenplay - Original
John Patrick Shanley

 

Berlin International Film Festival

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Silver Berlin Bear

Best Director
Norman Jewison

Nominated

Golden Berlin Bear


Norman Jewison

 

Casting Society of America, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Artios

Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy
Howard Feuer

 

David di Donatello Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

David

Best Foreign Actress (Migliore Attrice Straniera)
Cher

 

Golden Globes, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Golden Globe

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Cher

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Olympia Dukakis

Nominated

Golden Globe

Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Nicolas Cage

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
John Patrick Shanley

 

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

Silver Ribbon

Best Actress - Foreign Film (Migliore Attrice Straniera)
Cher
Tied with Stéphane Audran in Babettes gæstebud (1987).

 

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

KCFCC Award

Best Actress
Cher

Best Film

Best Supporting Actress
Olympia Dukakis

 

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1987

Won

LAFCA Award

Best Supporting Actress
Olympia Dukakis

 

National Board of Review, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1987

Won

NBR Award

Best Supporting Actress
Olympia Dukakis

 

Writers Guild of America, USA

Year

Result

Award

Category/Recipient(s)

1988

Won

WGA Award (Screen)

Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
John Patrick Shanley

 

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