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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)
Lola Gump
Bettina Panama
David Sheehan ...
David Sheehan
Michael Boyle ...
Desk Clerk


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


CALIFORNIA SUITE promises to be loads of laughs and great fun. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's California Suite  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$29,000,000, 31 December 1979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Walter Matthau was the only cast member from Neil Simon's earlier "Suite" movie Plaza Suite (1971) that appeared in this film. 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 »


References The 50th Annual Academy Awards (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Worth it for one of the all-time great scenes
7 December 2009 | by See all my reviews

Neil Simon's 1978 film, California Suite, is four vignettes of couples descending upon Los Angeles at Oscar time: one couple (Maggie Smith and Michael Caine) for the Oscar ceremonies, two couples for vacation (Richard Pryor, Gloria Gifford, Bill Cosby, Sheila Frazer) one couple for a bar mitzvah (Walter Matthau and Elaine May), and one divorced couple (Alan Alda and Jane Fonda) to discuss their daughter.

The film is a mix of comedy, slapstick, and drama, with the Fonda-Alda segment witty but serious, the Matthau-May segment hilarious, the Cosby-Pryor segment slapstick, and the Smith-Caine segment a classic. Their conversation in the hotel suite before the Oscar ceremony is one of the best acted, best written scenes ever written. "I'm a dark horse," Smith says of her Oscar nomination, entering the room in a gown. "They must have seen the dress," Caine concludes. This is probably the most fully fleshed-out story, with the truth behind their marriage emerging as Smith descends into drunkenness later on. That and the Matthau-May vignettes are the best, with the Alda-Fonda scene coming off as somewhat dated today. The weakest is the Pryor-Crosby.

Entertaining - if you don't feel like watching the whole thing, just watch the Caine-Smith and Matthau-May.

Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor try their best as doctor friends who are having an awful time on their vacation with their wives. It's just not that funny, despite them both being extremely likable.

Alan Alda and Jane Fonda do well in their dramatic story of separated couple meeting after nine years to discuss their child. Their segment is too short to really have an impact, might have worked well as a feature film. It's not all that involving.

Michael Caine and Maggie Smith are both excellent in their little segment, with Smith portraying an actress who's up for the academy award. Caine plays her show off gay husband. The two stars really shine in an otherwise average story, not all that interesting.

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