Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) Poster

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Funny if dated
preppy-325 February 2006
Mike (Michael Brandon) and Susan (Bonnie Bedelia) are getting married. The movie deals with them and their various families preparing the wedding. Bedelia's parents are played by Gig Young and Cloris Leachman--and Young is sleeping with a cousin played by Anne Jackson. Mike's parents are played by Beatrice Arthur and Richard Castellano who hate each other. Also Mike's brother Richie is divorcing his wife played by Diane Keaton (in her film debut). There's also Jerry and Brenda who just date for the wedding--and fall in love and Anne Meara and Harry Guardino as a couple constantly bickering over who's the boss. Meara's husband Jerry Stiller also appears unbilled and her daughter Amy (who is billed).

As you can see there's a LOT going on in this film--you're never bored. It is very dated--the talks about sex, marriage, relationships and male and female roles are VERY 1960s...but they are quite interesting. The script is sharp and the characters believable and there are funny lines flying nonstop throughout the movie. It's also amusing to see how Mike and Susan are living together before they get married--but can't tell any of their parents as it would kill them! Some of the sexual stereotypes get to be a bit much (Guardino especially is just appalling) but that's a sign of the times. A song in this movie ("For All We Know") won the Academy Award for Best Song at the Oscars but it's sung by a man here not the Carpenters (who had a BIG hit with it).

This was originally rated R for the frank (for the time) sex talk, a flash of nudity and some mild swearing. It's PG now but I wouldn't let kids watch it--it's not too dirty they just wouldn't understand it.

Bssically a fun movie with an outstanding cast. Worth seeing.
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Totally charming, lovable, very funny and moving old favourite!
gezmar6 July 2005
Having just purchased the DVD of this movie, and not having seen it for more than ten years, I feared perhaps it would too antiquated and dated to still be worthwhile owning. This was certainly not the case.

Lovers And Other Strangers is totally charming and lovable movie that despite the emphasis on the year it was made(there are many references to 1970) is still very relevant and moving. I admit to being close to tears at one scene, between a father and son, towards the end. I was also laughing out loud at many other scenes such as the hysterical Italian parents trying to scare their son into remaining in his unhappy marriage(a classic scene with hilarious dialogue you won't ever forget) and the furtive passionate embraces with the bride's father and his mistress in every available bathroom.

The themes that are relevant to today is the search for love in an increasingly uncertain age. The film opens with an outpouring from the groom to be, about all his fears of the future of the world and his doubts about marriage. Today all those fears are still there plus many many more. There is also power struggles between the genders, casual sex, extra-marital affairs and the dilemma of staying in an unhappy relationship. Some of these were very new themes explored in movies at the time it was made.

Having said that there are elements of the film that are charmingly dated which obviously include the music, the clothes and some of the social attitudes(it was at a time when divorce was still a disgraceful scandal for many families, particularly Catholic families). These dated elements though give it more of a nostalgic feel rather deter any enjoyment.

Michael Brandon and Bonnie Bedilia are lovable as the newly weds and Bea Arthur and Richard Castellano are the hilarious parents of the groom. The whole of the ensemble cast is great and watch for Dianne Keaton's film debut as the estranged daughter-in-law.
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Holds Up So Well After 35 plus years
Sintelin25 February 2006
Classic comedy with legendary comedians (e.g. Stiller and Meara.) Imagine holding up and being topical for more than 35 years! While the superb writing as mentioned holds up fantastically, the 60's style also adds to the overall pleasure of this movie. Do you get the feeling I like this flick! Do yourself a favor and take the time to watch this when you get the opportunity. Check out the cast and see just how amazing an impact this movie had - Bea Arthur year before being cast as Maude in All in the Family (Conrad Bain in small role, to be linked as Maude's neighbor within a couple of years of the movies release.) And the casting director, was he prophetic or what, see how many appeared for the first time in a movie here, Diane Keaton of course, but how about Sly Stallone as an extra, Jerry Stiller, etc, etc.
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Lovers and Other Strangers
Coxer9926 May 1999
One of the finest ensemble comedies ever. A first rate cast delivers warmth and tenderness to Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor's play about marriage, infidelity and the true meaning of love. Young, Arthur and Castellano are especially marvelous. Castellano also starred in the stage version of the play.
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what a wonderful memory
Mike Rappaport15 December 2004
I saw this movie when it first came out, and I hadn't seen it for more than 30 years. Imagine my delight to pick it up for $8 at the DVD store and watch it again. Of course Diane Keaton was lovely in her first film, but I'll bet more people were surprised to remember how beautiful Bonnie Bedelia was at age 22. Some of the 1970 stuff wears a little thin, and of course it's sad to remember what happened to Gig Young, but all in all, this was a wonderful time capsule of a movie. And yes, "For All We Know" was part of the music the first time I got married -- in 1975. I wish I could find more movies from this time period in DVD. Of course, they are all starting to come out slowly. Too bad the DVD didn't have any extras, even the trailer.
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A Wonderful Movie
Frank-9725 March 2003
This is a very warm and extremely funny film that for some reason seems to have been totally forgotten. It has a fine ensemble cast including Gig Young, Harry Guardino, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Bea Arthur, Diane Keaton and Richard Castellano (So Richie...what's the story?).Buy it, rent it, SEE it!! A lost classic to be sure..and it features the wonderful Carpenters song "For All We Know". This movie is a gem!
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Great Wedding Film
Brian Washington11 September 2006
This is one of the funniest wedding pictures I have ever seen. The film pretty much accurately portrays a lot of the things that go on around the time of a wedding. Things like the mother of either the bride or groom about to suffer a nervous breakdown, one couple on the verge of a divorce while the brother (or sister) is getting married or one of the groomsmen trying to make it with one of the bridesmaids. The writer must have been to a lot of weddings to really come up with this great slice of life comedy.

As for the cast, Bonnie Bedelia and Michael Brandon are perfectly cast as Susan and Mike, who seem to be the only ones that are happy while everyone else isn't. Cloris Leachman (a few months before taking the role of Mary Richard's annoying and overbearing neighbor Phyllis) is also great as Susan's mother, who is oblivious to her husband's philandering. Also, in a very quiet performance, Dianne Keaton makes a solid debut as Mike's soon to be ex-sister-in-law, who show's up even though she know's she has to face her in-law's as well as her estranged husband. However, Bea Arthur (a couple of years before her career defining role as overbearing liberal Maude) steals the show as Mike's overbearing, devoutly Catholic mother. This film is definitely a sleeper.
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Delightful, warm comedy
gary-1092 February 2001
A couple decides to get married (finally) and we see the preparations and wedding from their point of view as well as her parents, his parents, and their other family members and friends. Originally a play with separate scenes presenting the different points of view, it was wonderfully and smoothly incorporated into one screenplay. Many memorable lines, scenes, and performances. This is another of the movies I consider to be perfectly cast, from the lead roles to the bit players. Don't see it alone--this movie was meant to be shared.
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A wonderful film
DepartmentStoreLover15 October 2003
This film is a wonderful comedy, with glowing portrayals, a great comic atmosphere, and some deliciously insightful moments of human interaction. I wish that I owned it on video. Watch for Bea Arthur and Richard Castellano, they are simply marvellous. Highly recommended.
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You don't have to be Italian-American......
mangeleno25 June 2014
This was the first "R" rated film that we ever took my mother to see. The whole family saw it at the Dyker Theater in Brooklyn, and we just about fell out of the balcony from laughing so hard! Nobody does the culture clash between Italian-Americans and the rest of the US of A better than Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor.

Although some of the humor is a bit dated, most of the gags hold up very well. The interplay between all of the various Vecchio family members is timeless. The whole rap about "they're STILL together" is classic!

While Gig Young is spot on as the philandering father of the bride, the best repartee is by and between Bea Arthur and Richard S Castellano. Joseph Hindy is a stalwart foil for Castellano. Bob Dishy, Ann Meara and Harry Guardino have memorable character turns to flesh out a top-shelf ensemble.

The characterization of a working-class Italian-American family is perfect. When Mama Vecchio uses "Have some more soup, Frank" as the double -edged sword of nourishing her family while attempting to steer away from conflict, I could almost hear my Nonna (grandmother). She used soup to solve all the world's problems one bowl ata a time, too! My Mom still thinks that this is one of the funniest pictures she ever saw. I concur.
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Incredible comic ensemble works hard at elevating marginal material...
moonspinner552 July 2006
A big, bright cast including Gig Young, Beatrice Arthur, Cloris Leachman and Diane Keaton (in her debut) can't quite make this lackluster comedy worth seeing. A critical success at the time, the film, about two young lovers prepping their respective families for their upcoming wedding, is full of sub-plots that don't play, fall flat, or are gratingly unfunny. It begins promisingly but soon comes undone, and Cy Howard's direction is like that of a traffic cop. Arthur has the funniest moments as the all-knowing mother of the groom, and Keaton is very attractive. Oscar winner for its lovely theme song, "For All We Know". *1/2 from ****
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70s Gem!
mrcaw127 April 2004
Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) Dir: Cy Howard Diane's first feature film and it's a hit! A classic early '70s comedy concerning the events leading up to and including the traditional family wedding. Diane has a small part but makes the most of it. The Carpenters' title single figures prominently in the movie and became an instant real life wedding fixture. Screenplay by sometime acting husband and wife duo Joseph Bologna and Rene Taylor (of The Nanny fame).
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Surprisingly intelligent and honest comedy of sex and relationships.
mark.waltz19 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
What could have been several episodes of "Love American Style" rolled into one, this lovely romantic comedy turns out to be a delightful surprise. Mike (Michael Brandon) and Susan (Bonnie Bedelia) are roommates and lovers, engaged to be married. It is right before the wedding, and Mike has second thoughts. Their families are excited about the event but dealing with issues of their own. The mamas are soon-to-be TV stars Beatrice Arthur and Cloris Leachman, whose characters of Maude and Phyllis on their perspective shows would go down in TV comedy history. Susan's sister Wilma (Anne Meara) is having sexual control issues with her husband Johnny (Harry Guardino) who insists on being in control in the marriage. It's obvious from the get-go that this would never sit well with the brassy Wilma. The bride's parents Hal (Gig Young) and Bernice (Cloris Leachman) have a marriage that is best described as boring, because Bernice simply is content being the perfect wife, mother and socialite. He has begun an affair with Bernice's sister Kathy (Anne Jackson), but seems to have no intention of leaving Bernice. Mike's family is equally as wacky. We learn from Bea Arthur's matriarch (also named Bea) that it doesn't pay to be happy in a marriage. That only brings on misery. In fact, she and her husband Frank (Richard Castellano) are more content with their arguing than on settling on just "happy". Their older son Richie (Joseph Hindy) has separated from his wife Joan (newcomer Diane Keaton) which displeases his parents very much, as they are extremely "devoted" Catholics. Add on a playboy best man and a virginal bridesmaid, and you have as much soap opera that a 100 minute movie can have, yet it's all very funny. Talk about "As the Stomach Turns!" The cast is simply outstanding, yet it is the humour and tenderness of each of the story lines that really makes the film work. The philosophy of the older couples isn't preachy, and gives a statement that the passage of time doesn't change marriages-people and society do. Fans of TV veterans Leachman and Arthur will tune in to see them together, but they don't exchange any dialogue, only their husbands in a reception dance scene. Leachman has little to do as the perfect wife and mother unaware of what her husband and sister are doing, but Arthur steals every scene she is in, playing an Italian matriarch that seems like a pre-cursor of her own "Golden Girls" Sicilian mama, Sophia Petrillo. Meara is totally on fire in her role, although it seems a bit ridiculous that she would be Leachman's daughter, as she is only 3 years younger than her! The Oscar winning "For All We Know" plays beautifully over the wedding, and later became a hit for Karen Carpenter. It is certainly one of the most deserving songs to ever take home the gold statue. Be sure to stay through the closing credits.
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Large, talented cast covering the spectrum of romantic situations.
Poseidon-313 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Set against the advent of a fancy wedding, this comedy examines the many aspects of late sixties/early seventies love relationships amongst the wedding party and guests. Brandon and Bedelia play the bride and groom. They've been living together for a year, unknown to their parents, and barely see any reason to make it legal, apart from the fact that it's expected of them. Young and Leachman are Bedelia's affluent parents. Young, though he cares about Leachman, has been carrying on a decade-long affair with her best friend Jackson. Brandon's middle-class Italian parents are played by Castellano and Arthur. They seem to have stayed together out of duty and religion rather than love, yet have attained a level of comfort between themselves. Brandon's brother Hindy is on the verge of divorcing his wife Keaton. Bedelia's sister Meara is having sexual issues with her macho husband Guardino. Finally, Brandon's friend Dishy is embarking on a relationship with Bedelia's friend Hailey. These thirteen lives are examined in vignettes before, during and after the wedding, often with comedic results, but occasionally with poignant ones. Though many of the attitudes and situations may appear dated now, it's still a pretty intriguing time capsule of what different thought processes went in to the various relationship situations of the day, a time when women's lib and the sexual revolution were hot-button topics. Also, many of the observations regarding love between men and women are relevant now, despite the presence of such patently tacky clothes, furnishings and wallpaper. Arthur plays a type of role far different from the more assertive and brusque ones often associated with her and she plays it well. Comparatively monosyllabic Castellano is a good counterpoint to her and winds of providing the most touching moment in the film when he attempts to explain his wedding gift to Brandon. Young, hot off his Oscar win for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", does a nice job wrangling Jackson, whose character is often in a state of hysterics over their rather doomed affair. Meara enjoys one of her most substantial film roles and crafts a three-dimensional character despite having to shoulder the burden of some topical gender issue repartee with Guardino's closed-minded character. In a bizarre casting decision, Meara's mother is played by Leachman, even though Leachman is only 3 years older than Meara! (Leachman is given very little to do in the film, but does look nice.) Keaton, in her debut, is almost able to open her eyes, which are weighted down with heavy false eyelashes. She does a nice job, but doesn't suggest the significant career that was around the bend for her. As the newlyweds, Brandon and Bedelia are both immensely appealing. She is the better known, thanks to a latter day spate of roles in some high-powered films featuring Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford, but he was able to maintain a long, if more subdued career as well. It's a colorful, at times insightful, often amusing look at the many facets of love, dating and marriage at the time and features a great cast. It seems surely to have provided some degree of inspiration for Robert Altman's "A Wedding", though the latter film is more cynical and more heavily focused on the matrimonial ceremony itself.
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Not That Great
tomgrunick17 March 2006
I watched this movie yesterday and it's not that great.

Based on a stage play, It can never get away from those stagey origins, and most of the scenes are just a couple of people sitting around talking. If it weren't for the song (NOT sung in the movie by the Carpenters, by the way) this film would be forgotten, even allowing for the many big names who star in it.

As a period piece from the mid-60s it is vaguely interesting...too bad it was made in 1970, when Hollywood still thought that people talking about sex was daring.

There was one good bit, though, and that was when a very young Diane Keaton is talking to Bea Arthur. Bea mentions the Bing Crosby-Ingrid Bergman film "The Bells Of St. Mary's", which Diane hadn't seen.

But she does get to see it, of course, because that is the movie she is coming out of with Al Pacino in "The Godfather" when they read that Don Corleone has been shot.

Skip it, or watch it on fast-forward.
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A Fine comedy of the 70's!
Brian T. Whitlock (GOWBTW)11 September 2006
Anything from New York is a true gem. "Lovers and other Strangers" is a comedy farce that takes you to the lives of lovers in different places. Here you have a couple who are about to get married, and there's a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. One couple is in new romance, the other is heading towards divorce because of communication problems. Then you have a bachelor who is totally luckless in love until he meets a cousin of the soon-to-be married couple who is indeed book smart, but doesn't follow what that person says, because she thinks it's misleading. The cast of the characters are well put: Beatrice Arthur, Harry Guardino, Richard Castellano, Anne Meara, Bonnie Bedelia, Cloris Leachman, and several others makes this movie a moment that will never be forgotten. The scenes I've seen are truly amazing, and the storyline is unforgettable. This one movie I think is a real keeper. I would also say, this is for New Yorkers only too. Rating 4 out of 5 stars.
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Flawed but entertaining!
Syl1 January 2011
This movie has a first rate cast like Bea Arthur who plays Italian matriarch, Bea Vecchio. Her Italian husband is played by Richard Castellano right before he filmed Godfather. The rest of the cast includes Bonnie Bedelia who plays Susan, the bride to be, and Michael Brandon who played Mike Vecchio as the nervous groom. His brother's wife is played by Diane Keaton in her first film appearance ever as Joan Vecchio. Anne Meara has a part as Wilma, a woman who seeks equality in her marriage to Johnny, a mama's boy. Then there is Hal (played by Oscar Winner Gig Young) as father of the bride and his wife, Bernice (played by Oscar Winner Cloris Leachman) and her best friend, Kathy (played by Anne Jackson). Even Conrad Bain and Jerry Stiller have a small appearance in the film, the film was written originally as a play by real-life couple Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna. I would have loved to have seen them on screen as well. Anyway, the couples trade usual barbs about men and women and relationships. The film might be a little dated since it might offend some people but it was set in 1970 New York City. My other complaint is the lack of use of Cloris Leachman in the film. She wasn't used enough as mother of the bride which was a shame because she's an excellent actress. Anyway, the film is worth watching for 70s nostalgia and a look at how relationships haven't changed much since then. Bea Arthur steals the film away in my opinion as the interfering, loving Italian Catholic mother and wife.
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Brilliant comedy performed by an excellent cast
schuhhorn27 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Since I first saw this in 1970, it has been one of my favorite movies. The fine script by Joseph Bologna and Renée Taylor reminds me more than a little of the work of Preston Sturges: crisp, witty, clear-eyed, and very much to the point. The film offers an intelligent and critical, yet affectionate, image of US marriage during a period of rapidly changing mores, when the recent invention of the pill had made sex, both casual and committed, less daunting to middle class Americans than it used to be.

The film looks at three marriages and one relationship that would have been regarded as improper (at that time, at least) but that is about to be sanctified by marriage. Particularly good are the exchanges between Beatrice Arthur, who is quite wonderful in her role as an Italian Catholic mother, and her husband Richard Castellano, and their older son, who informs his distressed parents that he and his wife (played by Diane Keaton in her screen debut) want a divorce just as his younger brother, played by Michael Brandon, is about to marry an Irish Catholic girl, played by Bonnie Bedelia, fresh from her role in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They." Their assurances to their older son that happiness should not be expected from marriage, and that "too much happiness will only make you miserable," are delivered in a thoroughly believable way.

A determination to stick with what you're stuck with, reinforced by a generous dose of hypocrisy, seems especially to the older generation to be essential. Will Brandon and Bedelia find a different way of doing things? The writers and director do not commit themselves; viewers will form their own conclusions.

In addition to those mentioned, Gig Young, Cloris Leachman, Anne Jackson, Joseph Hindy, Bob Dishy, and Marian Hailey all perform very ably. This is an excellent film that has never received the credit it deserves.
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Some scenes have aged well, some haven't.
Clothes-Off27 July 2007
This is wedding movie that is less about the actual couple than it is everyone around them. So many characters are at turning points in their lives that it's difficult to keep all the story lines straight. Many of the characters are unsympathetic, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, as the movie would be dreadful if they were all nicey-nice.

At the same time, unsympathetic doesn't have to be as annoying as Anne Meara's character, who is sympathetic at firs but then turns shrewish as she spits out some homophobic dialogue about her husband's manhood. (For this, I have deducted a full point in my rating, because even back then writers Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor should have known better.) Diane Keaton fares better in her brief screen time (her character is discussed more than seen for much of the film), looking much different (and quite fabulous) but one can tell it's definitely her once she begins speaking with other characters.

The film definitely deals with relationship/marital issues that are still relevant today, and I liked the way the stories were wrapped up at the end. For that reason, I say this film is still a worth see, though maybe no longer a "must see." (Although I'm sure Golden Girls fans will consider it a must to see a post-Broadway but pre-Maude Bea Arthur.)
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Likable ensemble film of its time, still has its moments
highwaytourist12 September 2010
"Lovers & Other Strangers" was a big hit back in the day and much of it still works. An outstanding ensemble cast was gathered and they made the best of the material. Gig Young, Beatrice Arthur, and Richard Castellano are especially deserving of critical praise. The best scene would have to be the wedding itself between Michael Brandon and a very young Bonnie Bedilia, which the theme is especially poignant. More great scenes are when Michael Brandon's parents tell their older son and daughter in law (Diane Keaton & Joseph Hindy) about their secret marital problems and how they coped with them. Other parts of the film don't work well, in spite its good actors. The martial problems of Anne Meara and Harry Guardino are believable at first, but then go over the top. The set-up date between the usher and bridesmaid is mostly exasperating. Anne Jackson is stuck with a completely one-note role, where her character is constantly crying about something. This film is overrated and dated, but it works more often than it doesn't.
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