Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Norman Jewison|
|Written by||John Patrick Shanley|
|Music by||Dick Hyman|
|Edited by||Lou Lombardo|
|Distributed by||MGM/UA Communications Co.|
|Box office||$80.6 million|
Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley. It is about a widowed, 37-year-old, Italian-American woman (Cher) who falls in love with her fiancé's (Danny Aiello) estranged, hot-tempered younger brother (Nicolas Cage). Vincent Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis play supporting roles.
The film was released on December 16, 1987 in New York City, and then nationally on January 15, 1988. Receiving largely positive reviews from critics, it went on to gross $80 million at the North American box office, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of that year in North America.
Thirty-seven-year-old Loretta Castorini, an Italian-American widow, lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, with her family: father Cosmo; mother Rose; and paternal grandfather. Her boyfriend Johnny Cammareri proposes to her before leaving for Sicily to be with his dying mother; Loretta is insistent that they carefully follow tradition as she believes her first marriage was cursed by her failure to do so, resulting in her husband's death after two years. Johnny asks Loretta to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny to the wedding. Loretta returns home and informs her parents of the engagement. Cosmo dislikes Johnny and is reluctant to pay for the "real" wedding that Loretta insists on, while Rose is pleased that Loretta likes Johnny but does not love him; she believes that one can easily be hurt by a partner whom one loves.
When Loretta goes to see Ronny at his bakery, he reveals that he has a wooden prosthetic hand and blames Johnny for his loss in a moment of inattention, after which his fiancée quitted him. Loretta insists that they discuss things in his apartment, where she cooks a meal and then tells him that she believes he is a "wolf" who cut off his own hand to escape the trap of a bad relationship. Ronny reacts furiously and passionately, kissing Loretta and then carrying her to his bed where they make love.
That evening, Rose's brother Raymond and his wife Rita join Rose and Cosmo for dinner and they wonder where Loretta is. Raymond recalls a particularly bright moon like the one shining now that he thought long-ago was brought to the house when Cosmo was courting Rose. The next morning, Loretta tells Ronny they can never see each other again but agrees to go with him to the opera (his other great love) that night. She then goes to church and confesses her infidelity and afterwards calls at Raymond and Rita's store to close out the cash register. On leaving, she impulsively goes to the hair salon and buys a glamorous evening gown and shoes.
Loretta is deeply moved by her first opera, Puccini's La bohème. But as they leave, she sees Cosmo together with his girlfriend Mona and confronts her father. Since Loretta is with Ronny, he suggests that they agree that they did not see each other at all. Loretta had meant to return home, but Ronny desperately persuades her into another tryst. That same night, Rose decides to dine alone at a restaurant and sees a college professor, Perry, being dramatically dumped by a female student. Rose invites him to dine with her instead, allowing him to walk her home but refusing to invite him in "because I'm married". Later, Johnny unexpectedly returns from Sicily after his mother's "miraculous" recovery and calls at the house; since Loretta is not there, Rose asks him instead why men chase women and agrees that it is because they fear death.
Returning home next morning, Loretta is distressed to learn from Rose that Johnny will be there soon. But it is Ronny that arrives, and Rose invites him for breakfast over Loretta's objections. Cosmo and his father emerge from upstairs, and the older man insists that Cosmo agree to pay for Loretta's wedding. Rose then confronts Cosmo and demands that he end his affair; he is upset but gives in and, at Rose's insistence, also agrees to go to confession. Both then affirm their love for each other. Now Raymond and Rita arrive, concerned that Loretta had not deposited the previous day's takings at the bank, and are relieved to learn that she merely forgot and still has the money. When Johnny finally arrives, he breaks off the engagement, superstitiously believing that their marriage would cause his mother's death. Loretta berates Johnny for breaking his promise and throws the engagement ring at him. Seizing the moment, Ronny borrows the ring and asks Loretta to marry him, to which she agrees. The family toasts the couple with champagne and Johnny joins in at the grandfather's urging, since he will now be part of the family after all.
Moonstruck was a major critical and commercial success. The film holds an approval rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's consensus reading, "Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies." On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a normalized score of 83 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Time wrote, "John Patrick Shanley's witty, shapely script puts an octet of New Yorkers under a lunar-tuney spell one romantic night. Cher shines brightest of all." Roger Ebert, who later added the film among his "Great Movies" list, said: "Reviews of the movie tend to make it sound like a madcap ethnic comedy, and that it is. But there is something more here, a certain bittersweet yearning that comes across as ineffably romantic, and a certain magical quality"
According to Gene Siskel, writing for the Chicago Tribune: "Moonstruck, which is being sold as a romance but actually is one of the funniest pictures to come out in quite some time. [...] You will not easily forget this incredibly robust family, created by writer John Patrick Shanley and directed by Norman Jewison, who makes a comeback with this uproarious film."
It appeared on both critics' Top 10 lists for 1987.
On its wide release, the film opened at #3 and spent 20 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 and finally grossed $80,640,528 on a budget of $15 million. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
|Academy Awards||Best Actress||Cher||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Olympia Dukakis||Won|
|Original Screenplay||John Patrick Shanley||Won|
|Best Picture||Norman Jewison, Patrick Palmer||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Vincent Gardenia||Nominated|
|Best Director||Norman Jewison||Nominated|
|Berlin Film Festival||Silver Bear for Best Director||Norman Jewison||Won|
|British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress||Cher||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Olympia Dukakis||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award for Best Film Music||Dick Hyman||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay||John Patrick Shanley||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Cher||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Olympia Dukakis||Won|
|Best Picture - Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy||Nicolas Cage||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||John Patrick Shanley||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America||Best Original Screenplay||John Patrick Shanley||Won|
In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"--the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres--after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Moonstruck was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the romantic comedy genre. The film is also number 72 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and number 41 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
|That's Amore||Dean Martin||Harry Warren, Jack Brooks|
|Canzone Per Loretta/Addio, Mulberry Street||Jack Zaza (mandolin)||Dick Hyman|
|Mr. Moon||Dick Hyman|
|It Must Be Him||Vikki Carr||Gilbert Bécaud, Mack David, Maurice Vidalin|
|Old Man Mazurka||Dominic Cortese (accordion)||Dick Hyman|
|Lament for Johnny's Mama||Dick Hyman|
|Che gelida manina||Ed Bickert (guitar)||Giacomo Puccini|
|Donde lieta uscì||Renata Tebaldi||Giacomo Puccini|
|Canzone Per Loretta||Dick Hyman|
|O soave fanciulla||Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Tebaldi||Giacomo Puccini|
|Musetta's Waltz||Moe Koffman (alto saxophone)||Giacomo Puccini|
|Musetta's Entrance||Nora Shulman (flute)||Giacomo Puccini|
|La bohème (instrumental excerpts)||Giacomo Puccini|
|(In Loretta's Bedroom) Gettin' Ready||Moe Koffman (alto saxophone)||Dick Hyman|
|Brooklyn Heights Stroll||Dick Hyman|
|Beautiful Signorina||Dick Hyman|
|Moonglow||Eddie DeLange, Will Hudson, Irving Mills|
|Canzone Per Loretta||Dominic Cortese (accordion)||Dick Hyman|
|Gioventù mia, tu non sei morta (La bohème, act 2)||Carlo Bergonzi, Cesare Siepi, Ettore Bastianini, Fernando Corena, Gianna D'Angelo, Renata Tebaldi, Renato Cesari||Giacomo Puccini|