32 user 11 critic

The Sterile Cuckoo (1969)

Two students from neighboring colleges in upstate New York are swept up in a tragic romantic interlude calling for a maturity of vision beyond their experience of capabilities. Pookie Adams... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Starting Over (1979)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A divorced man falls in love, but somehow he can't get over his ex-wife. This affects his love life in comic ways. Based on Dan Wakefield's novel.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Candice Bergen
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

American Walter Elbertson, in his late teens, is feeling lost within his family of overachievers. Thirty-something Englishwoman Lila Fisher is emotionally repressed. The two meet on their ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Maggie Smith, Timothy Bottoms, Don Jaime de Mora y Aragón
Drama | Western | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Ella Connors is a single woman who gets pressured to sell her failing cattle farm to her corrupt ex suitor, Jacob Ewing. She asks for help from her neighbor, Frank Athearn. As Ella and ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: James Caan, Jane Fonda, Jason Robards
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Junie Moon's face has been disfigured by ill-gotten burns, and depends on her friends and her with to cope. She, Warren, and Arthur leave the hospital - they yearn for independence - and ... See full summary »

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Ken Howard, Robert Moore
Dream Lover (1986)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

After she's been attacked in her apartment, Cathy starts reliving the event in her dreams. She seeks help at a sleep disorder research center, but in doing so she encounters some unexpected... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Kristy McNichol, Ben Masters, Paul Shenar
Orphans (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The two brothers Treat and Philip lived alone since they were kids. Interdependent they dwell in a loft house and live on little thefts, until an aging minor criminal moves in with them and takes over the role of a father.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Albert Finney, Matthew Modine, Kevin Anderson
Rollover (1981)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An Arab oil organization devises a plan to wreck the world economy in order to cause anarchy and chaos.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jane Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Hume Cronyn
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Three years after his divorce from his model-wife is the psychologist Larry Livingstone ready for a new commitment. He falls in love with the young widow Beth who has two children. But Beth... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Alice Krige, Farrah Fawcett
Klute (1971)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Can a bickering odd couple in Manhattan become friends and maybe more? Owlish Felix is an unpublished writer who vents his frustration by reporting to the super that the woman in a ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Barbra Streisand, George Segal, Robert Klein
Cabaret (1972)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A married writer has an affair with his secretary.

Director: Albert Finney
Stars: Albert Finney, Colin Blakely, Billie Whitelaw


Complete credited cast:
Pookie Adams
Tim McIntire ...


Two students from neighboring colleges in upstate New York are swept up in a tragic romantic interlude calling for a maturity of vision beyond their experience of capabilities. Pookie Adams - a kooky, lonely misfit with no family and no place to go, insists on calling all those who won't participate in her world, "weirdos," clings to a quiet studious Jerry, who has the ability to make a choice of living in Pookie's private little world or be accepted by the society that Pookie rejects. Unwittingly, it is through their awkward relationship that Pookie actually prepares Jerry for the world of "weirdos" that she doesn't fit into or wish to be apart of. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First love is beautiful hurt....if it happens to you once, you're lucky.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


M | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pookie  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alan J. Pakula recalled that Liza Minnelli became very attached to him as a father-figure on the set, always asking Pakula to tell her the story's plot in child-like terms before a big scene was to be shot. He also said that Liza carried around the book by John Nichols "like a Bible" until she knew the character of Pookie Adams inside and out. See more »


The film's penultimate shot, that of Pookie looking out the bus window, was shot with the camera attached to the outside of the moving bus, but no one apparently thought about the trees lining the street behind the camera. The visual is shaken for a second after tree branches inadvertently brush up against the equipment. See more »


'Pookie' Adams: [a little brassily, during her first tryst with Jerry] So, would you like to peel a tomato?
Jerry Payne: [confused] What?
'Pookie' Adams: [quieter, more seductively] Do you want to strip me?
See more »


Referenced in Arrested Development: Queen B. (2013) See more »


Traditional English song
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Terrific, one of Liza's best
1 November 2001 | by (xxxx) – See all my reviews

Liza Minnelli...That name conjures up so many images: Her mother, Judy, elegance, beauty, humor, and sometimes pain. Well, she sheds all of them except the last 2. In this role as the odd Pookie Adams, a girl who is afraid of "weirdos" but who in a sense really is, Liza Minnelli has to pull together a wonderful (Academy Award Nominating) part that will tug at your heart and look at the world through HER eyes. Pookie meets Jerry Payne (Wendell Burton) and goes through a couple of sly tricks to make sure that he never forgets her. Jerry falls in love with this strange but lovable girl. That is until her fear of him leaving makes her over-protective and a little pushy. It begins to drive him away. But what movie on teenage lovers is really convincing? Well, these two sure are convincing. Sometimes you just want to strangle Pookie and other times you just want to jump into the screen and hold her close and say "It's gonna be all right". I rated this a 7 because there was something missing and I felt it. But otherwise, Liza Minnelli fans, this is way worth it!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ebert Being a Jerk wmarkley
What does the title mean? MJBRLD
On TCM Jan 27/08 patchofblue65
Bloopers and Trivia dasein451
Locales where the Sterile Cuckoo was Filmed. definitedoll
The Friend Charlie Lady-Mercedes
Discuss The Sterile Cuckoo (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: