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An Unmarried Woman (1978)

A wealthy woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband of 16 years leaves her for a younger woman.



Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Quinn ...
Sue (as Pat Quinn)
Linda Miller ...
Andrew Duncan ...
Daniel Seltzer ...
Dr. Jacobs
Penelope Russianoff ...
Novella Nelson ...
Ivan Karp ...
Herb Rowan


Erica is unmarried only temporarily in that her successful, wealthy husband of seventeen years has just left her for a girl he met while buying a shirt in Bloomingdale's. The film shows Erica coming to terms with the break-up while revising her opinions of herself, redefining that self in its own right rather than as an extension of somebody else's personality, and finally going out with another man. Erica refuses to drop everything for Saul, an abstract expressionist painter, simply out of love for him because he expects her to. It is not so much loneliness that is her problem, and the problems that men, flitting around this newly "available" woman like moths round a flame, bring to her sense of independence. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She laughs, she cries, she feels angry, she feels lonely, she feels guilty, she makes breakfast, she makes love, she makes do, she is strong, she is weak, she is brave, she is scared, she is... an unmarried woman.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 May 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Una mujer descasada  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Mazursky: As Hal. See more »


During Erica's second visit to Tanya, the plants behind Erica change places with each shot. For straight ahead shots of only Erica, the small cactus is on the right. In angled shots, showing both women, the small cactus is on the left. See more »


[first lines]
[Martin and Erica are jogging along the river]
Martin: Jesus Christ! Look at this - my sneaker's ruined!
Erica: They're only thirty-five dollars.
[Erica takes Martin's shoe and cleans it off for him]
Martin: Fucking city's turning into one big pile of DOG SHIT!
[shouting at passing traffic]
Martin: Come on out and take a crap on me - everybody else is. Fuck.
[Martin lights a cigarette]
Erica: ...been jogging for 2 1/2 miles - you're giving yourself lung cancer.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Betsy See more »


A Place in the Sun
(1977) (uncredited)
Written by Bud Cockrell and Cory Lerios
Performed by Pablo Cruise
See more »

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User Reviews

A Time Capsule of the late 70s
21 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Somehow I missed "An Unmarried Woman" when I was a senior in college, but I remember hearing about it. Finally, about five years ago, I was flipping through the channels, and I happened upon this gem. I realize some people might consider this film "dated," but other than period pieces, all movies are eventually "dated" in one aspect or another.

I thought Jill Clayburgh was gorgeous and showed herself to be quite a feisty "Erica Benton." Michael Murphy as her husband Martin was extremely annoying and self-centered, but that was his role and the whole reason wife Erica was sent into the world of unmarried women.

I enjoyed the music, the setting, and the general feeling of having lived through that time (1977-1978). Sadly, several key actors from the film are gone (Alan Bates, Cliff Gorman, Penelope Russianoff), but this movie will live on as it captured the post-Vietnam era quite well. It sounds odd now to say the movie was a breakthrough for women, but for its time, it was pretty controversial.

It's nice to see Jill Clayburgh active on Broadway and the silver screen once again. I'm looking forward to her role on the upcoming TV series "Dirty Sexy Money." I can't wait to see her in scenes with "Six Feet Under" star Peter Krause!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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