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Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978)

 -  Comedy  -  June 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 669 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

Stella Johnson is a single mother living in the town of Harper Valley. Now most of the townspeople, particularly on the PTA board, think that she is a little too liberal and liberated for ... See full summary »


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Title: Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978)

Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis Nye ...
Kirby Baker
Audrey Christie ...
Flora Simpson Reilly
Herbie Maddox
Dee Johnson
Mr. Harper
Willa Mae Jones
J.J. Barry ...
Irene Yah-Ling Sun ...
Myrna Wong
Louise Foley ...


Stella Johnson is a single mother living in the town of Harper Valley. Now most of the townspeople, particularly on the PTA board, think that she is a little too liberal and liberated for them, so they are making things tough for her and her daughter. When the PTA board threaten to have her daughter expelled unless Stella changes her ways, she decides to get back at them by first exposing all their hidden secrets and then pulling all sorts of humiliating pranks on them. When she decides to run for the position of PTA President, they are really infuriated and try to stop her any way they can. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The song was scandalous. The movie is hilarious!




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

June 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harper Valley P.T.A.  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


90% of Ron Masak's dialogue was ad-libbed, as directed. See more »


The scene at the race track was obviously not filmed in Ohio. There are palm trees in the distance. See more »


Alice Finely: [to Stella, pointing to the back seat of her car before they go out to deal with Otis Harper] We've got a passenger.
Dee Johnson: I thought you could use some help.
Stella Johnson: You know?
Dee Johnson: I kind of figured it out.
Stella Johnson: [giving up] Well, welcome aboard the Harper Valley steamroller!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Manure was courtesy of 1977's Triple-Crown Winning horse, Seattle Slew. See more »


Referenced in Crutch (2004) See more »


Words and music by Tom T. Hall
Performed by Jeannie C. Riley
See more »

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User Reviews

Not great, but I view it with affection
14 June 2013 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Back during my youth in the 70s, the town I lived it was very conservative and tightly wound. Parents cringed at the thought of James Bond movies shown on TV, as the locals thought of them as hardcore porn. Strict standards were expected from everyone.

As teens, the local kids started to realize how overflowing with hypocrisy the town was, and when this movie came along, we rejoiced.

Stella Johnson is a freespirited widow in a conservative town who gets a nastygram from a disapproving PTA. Getting an earful from her friend who runs the local beauty parlor (they weren't called "salons" back then!), she confronts them at a meeting with their own failings (alcoholism, promiscuity, gambling, etc.), but after they don't back down, she engages in a series of pranks to expose and humiliate them. In the meantime she makes over her daughter, falls in love, runs for PTA president herself, and uncovers real corruption.

Yes, it's creaky material, done a jillion times before and probably done better. But Barbara Eden is an energetic and sympathetic heroine, and is believable as the dishy nonconformist mom. Nanette Fabray is also a hoot as her friend Alice. And a bunch of old pros do their best.

But we loved it in our town because so many of the younger set were disgusted with the self-righteousness and hypocrisy we saw in our teachers, in the town government, in the church leaders, and frequently in our own parents. We relished our daydreams of exposing their foibles and confronting them, but too often never did. (Unfortunately, the truly self-righteous view these as simple malice and never truly realize they brought it on themselves.) So even if this movie isn't all that, it appeals to the downtrodden teen who still lives in me and is still disgusted with the self-righteous, it's-OK-if-I-do-it establishment. And I STILL need to expose my sticky-fingered mother about her larcenous habits...

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