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Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 March 1978 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 4,723 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 15 critic

A dedicated schoolteacher spends her nights cruising bars, looking for abusive men with whom she can engage in progressively violent sexual encounters.



(based on the novel by), (written for the screen by)
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Title: Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Dunn
Laurie Prange ...
Joel Fabiani ...
Julius Harris ...
Black Cat
Richard Bright ...
Cap Jackson
Marilyn Coleman ...
Mrs. Jackson
Carole Mallory ...


Theresa is a successful teacher of deaf children during the day but after a short unhappy affair starts to spend her nights cruising bars. Her craving first for sex but later also for drugs leads into increasingly demeaning and dangerous situations completely at odds with her daytime commitment to her children. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 March 1978 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Buscando a Mr. Goodbar  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$16,900,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Brian Dennehy. See more »


In the book, Theresa's sister Katherine goes to Puerto Rico to procure an abortion during a scene that takes place in the mid-1960s. In the movie, the timeline is changed so that this scene is set in 1975, two years after abortion was legalized by the Roe v. Wade ruling, making the trip to Puerto Rico unnecessary. See more »


Theresa: Most guys first time out they try to score, they expect it. And some of them get pretty nasty if they don't get it. So by the 2nd time it's either fuck or forget it.
See more »


Referenced in Dharma & Greg: Looking for the Goodbars (1999) See more »


She's Lonely, She Wants To
Performed by Bill Withers
Courtesy of CBS Records
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User Reviews

Life Sex & Death in the Swinging 1970's: A True Story
23 July 2004 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** It was not until almost the end of the movie "Looking For Mr. Goodbar" just before Theresa Dunn's, Diane Keaton, fatal encounter with Gary, Tom Berenger, that I realized why she was bent on being on the path of self-destruction both emotionally as well as physically. Theresa's fear of transmitting to her children the disease that she was suffering from and that left her emotionally as well as physically scared since she was a little girl; Congenital Spinal Scoliosis the curvature of the spine.

This revelation came out when Theresa had a violent spat with James, William Atherton, the only man in the movie who really was in love with and wanted to marry her. The other two men that Theresa had affairs with in the movie Martin, Alan Feinstein, and Tony, Richard Gere, looked at Theresa as a piece of tail who was only good for a one night stand. Who after having their way with her with put Theresa away in the drawer until the next time they felt like having a romp in the woods.

Being brought up in a strict Irish-Catholic home but with a dark fear of getting married and having children Theresa choose the life that she led as a 1970's swinger by night and a teacher of deaf children by day in NYC. Her younger sister Katherine, Tuesday Weld, was also not what her father Mr. Dunn, Richard Kiley, thought a nice Catholic girl should be. Even though she kept it from her father Katherine had at least one abortion and married a man out of her faith Barney,Joel Fabiani, who was Jewish and who her father openly resented. It was Barney who later introduced Katherine into a sex and drug lifestyle and in the end left her for a much younger girl who he was shacked up with.

Theresa's father was obsessive but very sympathetic in his wanting Theresa not to leave home and move in with Katherine and Barney in New York City. Still he could do nothing to stop her since she was an adult. Working as a teacher for young deaf children seemed to give Theresa the family that she was longing for but at the same time denied for herself by not wanting to be a wife and mother.

The two lovers that Therea had before James were just what she wanted, persons only to have sex with and really nothing else. Martin who after he had sex with Theresa couldn't even look at or talk to her and Tony who was both a 1970's stud-type and coke-head not only got her turned on to coke but got her fired from her job as a teacher for being arrested for drug possession. The only man who could have turned Theresa's life around and who Theresa's father looked upon as his own son, James a social worker in NYC was rejected by Theresa when he, unlike Martin and Tony, showed that he really loved her and wanted to marry her and not just spend the night with Theresa and leave her the next morning.

On New Years Eve Theresa was at the singles-bar celebrating the coming of the New Year when she picked up Gary, a male hustler. Gary was just attacked by a gang of thugs together with his room-mate for being in drag. The very disturbed young man was a ticking time bomb ready to explode and it was his affair with Theresa that New Years Eve night that set him off. Feeling inadequate because he couldn't preform sexually with Theresa, probably because he was almost dead drunk at the time, Gary took out his frustrations on Theresa who realized only too late what an unstable and dangerous person she was involved with and brutally slashed and strangled her to death.

"Looking for Mr. Goodbar" is a dark and depressing film but it honestly reflects the world of the 1970's drug and swinging generation and the story of a young woman who's psychosis played right into that world. The movie is based on the true story of Roseann Quinn who was murdered by John Wayne Wilson whom she picked up at the Tweeds Bar on New Years Eve 1973. Wilson hanged himself in his jail cell on May 5, 1973 some five months later while awaiting trial. It was later reported that a jail guard who was sick and tired of Wilson's threats of committing suicide provided him with the bed sheets that he ended up hanging himself with.

23 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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