An Unmarried Woman (1978)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  26 May 1978 (France)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,129 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 25 critic

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.



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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)
Lisa Lucas ...
Linda Miller ...
Andrew Duncan ...
Daniel Seltzer ...
Dr. Jacobs
Penelope Russianoff ...
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
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Did You Know?


The abstract expressionist artworks seen in the film were painted by Paul Jenkins who trained actor Alan Bates who plays a Soho artist in the movie. See more »


Erica orders white wine at the bar. She is given red wine and sips it. When she joins friends at their table, her wine is white. 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 »


Swan Lake, Op.20
(1877) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpts danced by Jill Clayburgh
See more »

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User Reviews

Mazursky's penchant for the sublimely ridiculous gives the film a wafty comic undertone...
11 September 2005 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

An acting triumph for Jill Clayburgh, playing a N.Y.C. wife and mother whose husband tells her he's fallen in love with another woman. Brittle, biting, funny, and moving; a serious-comedy that benefits from a screenplay which is sometimes strangely over-the-top and yet nearly always on-track emotionally. In his determination to find The Truth about the American woman in the 1970s, writer-director Paul Mazursky gets a little kooky: Clayburgh's Erica throws up on the street after her husband confesses his affair; she later fends off the affections of both her doctor and a blind date (one of those guys who tries covering his bald scalp with overlong side hairs). She's also in therapy and her doctor turns out to be a lesbian (and we never see Erica in therapy again). The mother-daughter dynamics between Clayburgh and tough little nut Lisa Lucas are precise and believable; when Mom brings a man over for dinner, daughter feels defensive and gets mouthy. But the night ends playfully, with the ladies playing piano together and bonding over Paul McCartney! Alan Bates enters in the second-act as a burly, not-pushy artist who falls for Erica, yet she's not so sure. Why she's so reluctant to throw down her defenses for this man isn't made quite clear (playful, sexy Bates would be a godsend to any unattached woman). The film isn't necessarily logical, though it takes pride in being flaky and tart. There are big, passionate feelings in "An Unmarried Woman" and, instead of being some kind of emotional workout, it is surprisingly romantic (which ticked some feminists off, who wanted more than lightweight laughs). I enjoyed it, although it probably seems dated by today's standards. It certainly is peculiar, with Mazursky's penchant for outrageous dialogue punctuated by genuinely affecting emotions. *** from ****

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