Despite admitting that she was scared of him in her never-ending quest to please him, thirty-five year old housewife and mother Alice Hyatt is devastated when her husband Donald is killed in an on the job traffic accident. With few job skills except that as a singer, Alice, along with her precocious eleven year old son Tommy, decides to move from their current home in Socorro, New Mexico to her home town of Monterrey, California, the only place she has ever felt happy. She plans on getting singing gigs along the way to earn money to get back to Monterrey by the end of the summer and the start of Tommy's school year. Alice's quest for a job at each stop leaves Tommy often to fend for himself, which may make Tommy even more precocious. His behavior is fostered by Alice, as their relationship is often more as trouble-making friends than mother and son. Alice's plans often do not end up as she envisions, especially as she is forced to take a waitressing job at Mel and Ruby's Diner in ... Written by
Martin Scorsese said one of his favorite leading men to direct was Kris Kristofferson, since he represented the strong, silent masculine hero that Scorsese always looked up to but rarely worked with throughout his career. See more »
When Alice and her son leave in their station wagon for Arizona, the rear view mirror is removed during close-ups of Alice and Tommy together shot through the windshield (56:53-58:14 and 59:33-59:35). See more »
[after Tommy, was being a smart aleck]
If you open your mouth, once more, I swear to God, I'm gonna nail it shut.
[Opens his mouth]
I'm warning you, Tommy. I'm gonna throw you out, and you're gonna walk the last mile home.
[Tommy makes, faces at his mother]
[Kicks Tommy, out of the car, and Alice drives away]
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Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is the film that brought director Martin Scorsese into the commercial limelight; and even though he's had many bigger successes since, this simple and easily accessible story of a woman and her son is well worked and interesting; and personally, I prefer it to a number of his more famous gangster films. The plot is very simple, thus making the film easy to follow and therefore light viewing; and it could also be called a 'chick flick'. However, Scorsese directs with his usual verve and manages to implement a number of memorable characters along the way; some of which are played by the stars of future Scorsese films. The film starts when we are introduced to a young girl named Alice, who has aspirations of being a singer. Several years later, and after the death of her husband, she and her son set off across the country in order for her to pursue her dream career. After her first job and choice of boyfriend go awry, she travels on and ends up meeting a man named David.
This film provides an acting credit for Ellen Burstyn who, just as she would go on to do in the likes of The Exorcist, delivers a well worked and believable performance. Kris Kristofferson is her opposite number, although he doesn't get to flex his acting muscles much - while Taxi Driver co-stars Jodie Fosters and Harvey Keitel deliver memorable portrayals in small roles. The film benefits from a very well written script, which manages to give credence to all of its lead characters, which elevate the film above similar material in its class. The locations are well used, and the director does well in implementing a gritty country style; as well as the central theme of ordinary people trying to make something out of themselves. The main problem with the film is that sometimes it can be a little too light-hearted, and some of the heavier plot ideas aren't allowed to shine through as they should. Overall, this film may be disliked by fans of Scorsese films such as Goodfellas and Casino, and it definitely is a chick flick; but personally, I have no qualms with naming it as one of the better films on Scorsese's list of film credits.
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