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California Suite (1978)

Misadventures of four groups of guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel.




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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Michaels (as Herbert Edelman)
David Sheehan ...
Michael Boyle ...


Four totally different and separate stories of guests staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine come from England to attend the Oscars; Jane Fonda comes from New York, Alan Alda is her ex who lives in California; in the slapstick part Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and their wives come to the hotel to relax and play tennis, only to find there is only one room vacant; in the fourth segment Walter Matthau arrives a day before his wife for his nephew's Bar Mitzvah while his brother (Herb Edelman) sends a prostitute to his room. Written by Jonathan (jrd@netvision.net.il)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The best two-hour vacation in town!


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's California Suite  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "Diana and Sidney" one-act segment from Neil Simon's "London Suite" play features the Diana and Sidney characters from Simon's California Suite (1978) play and film. In California Suite (1978), Diana is portrayed by Maggie Smith (who won an Oscar for the part) whilst Sidney is played by Michael Caine. In London Suite (1996), Diana is played by Patricia Clarkson whilst Sidney is played by Kelsey Grammer. The London Suite (1996) Diana and Sidney characters are based on the California Suite (1978) Diana and Sidney characters, except the names have been changed slightly. In London Suite (1996), they are called Diana Nichols and Sidney Nichols, whereas in California Suite (1978), they were known as Diana Barrie and Sidney Cochran. See more »


Bill Warren made a 1:30 lunch reservation for him and his ex-wife Hannah. After lunch, some time at the beach, and post-beach freshening up, Hannah says "It's 2:30; do you wanna call Jenny, or shall I?" It wouldn't be possible for all that activity to have taken place in just one hour. See more »


[first lines]
[a two-seater plane is flying over snow-capped mountains]
Harold: For heaven's sake, Wendy - look for an airport. Will you look for the airport?
Diana Barrie: Oh don't make such a fuss. Just put it down on a mountain.
Harold: What do you mean 'just put it down'? I'm lucky I can keep it up. I told you I never flew before.
Diana Barrie: Don't shout at me - I'm a first-class passenger.
Harold: You're a first class lunatic. It's all over Wendy - our relationship has a quarter of a tank to go.
Diana Barrie: Yes, but - you do love me, don't you Harold? ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, famous 70s artworks of British artist David Hockney are featured. The painting before Elaine May's name is entitled "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures), 1972" and features a swimming pool with the Hollywood hills in the backdrop. The "two figures", both male, one swimming and the other standing over watching have been mysteriously edited out of the picture for some unknown reason. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Mediocre Simon is better than none...
8 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

California SUITE is the 1978 film adaptation of Neil Simons' quartet of one-acts set at swank Los Angeles hotel. Out of the four stories, the strongest is "Visitors from London" which stars Maggie Smith as an actress in town for the Academy Awards after receiving her first nomination, in deep denial about her in-name only marriage to a closeted antique dealer (Michael Caine). Smith delivers a flawless comedy performance that ironically won her her second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actress. Caiine is just as effective in this bittersweet tale. "Visitors from New York" stars Jane Fonda as a workaholic New Yorker who has flown to California to retrieve her daughter (Dana Plato) who flew away from home to move in with Fonda's ex (Alan Alda). Fonda's character is a little on the unsympathetic side but she and Alda make their scenes work. "Visitors from Philadelphia" stars Walter Matthau as a man in town for a convention who tries to conceal from his visiting wife (Elaine May) that there's a passed out hooker in his bed. This episode is pure slapstick with little substance but Matthau makes it bearable. The other episode "Visitors from Chicago" stars Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Sheila Frazier, and Gloria Gifford as two couples vacationing together who get involved in some silly travel situations. This is definitely the weakest of the four playlets and looks like it should be in another movie of its own. A well-mounted, but spotty effort at best, California SUITE is worth the rental for the glorious performance of Maggie Smith alone.

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