Mommie Dearest, best-selling memoir turned motion picture, depicts the abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,855 ( 129)

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
HerzHaft (2007)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Felix is secretly in love with Ralph. This doesn't seem to be the biggest problem. But Felix is 15 and Ralph his 34 years old soccer coach. They meet every day in an ambush. One day Felix ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Busker
Stars: Tommaso Cacciapuoti, Ferdinand Hanisch, Johanna Niedermüller
Queen Bee (1955)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young woman arrives at the home of her socialite cousin, and soon finds herself sucked into the woman's complex web of deceit.

Director: Ranald MacDougall
Stars: Joan Crawford, Barry Sullivan, Betsy Palmer
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After a 20-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson
Vera II (1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Young girl spends her adolescence in an institution for minors, developing some masculine traits in her personality. In this hostile environment, she can only find some sympathy in a ... See full summary »

Director: Sergio Toledo
Stars: Ana Beatriz Nogueira, Adriana Abujamra, Cida Almeida
Nine to Five (1980)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him.

Director: Colin Higgins
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton
Downing (2011)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Amidst a vibrant house party, Downing explores the complicated minefield of teenage sexuality as John, the isolated local gay lad, finds an opportunity to exact revenge on his straight oppressor, the popular and handsome Daniel.

Director: Ben Peters
Stars: Jamie Brotherston, Ross William Wild, Krystina Coates
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Beneath a railroad bridge a young rural gay man begins to his explore his gay feelings with the aid of an understanding friend.

Director: Michael Burke
Stars: Mickey Smith, Jason Hayes, Todd Batstone
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Film version of Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel chronicling the rise and fall of three young women in show business.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, Paul Burke
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An aging, reclusive Southern belle, plagued by a horrifying family secret, descends into madness after the arrival of a lost relative.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten
No Way Out (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Joaquin (Polo Ravales), an unassuming fisherman, is forced to confront his homosexuality when his sex-starved wife Cynthia (Althea Vega) returns from her overseas job eager to get pregnant.... See full summary »

Director: Joel Lamangan
Stars: Polo Ravales, Joseph Bitangcol, Emilio Garcia
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mara Hobel ...
...
Harry Goz ...
...
...
...
Joe Abdullah ...
Captain
Gary Allen ...
Jimmy
Selma Archerd ...
Connie
Adrian Aron ...
Wedding Guest
...
Christopher Crawford (adult)
Edit

Storyline

Based on the book about Joan Crawford, one of the great Hollywood actresses of our time, written by her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. Joan decides to adopt children of her own to fill a void in her life. Yet, her problems with alcohol, men, and the pressures of show business get in the way of her personal life, turning her into a mentally abusive wreck seen through the eyes of Christina and her brother Christopher, who unwillingly bore the burden of life that was unseen behind the closed doors of "The Most Beautiful House in Brentwood." Written by Geoffrey A. Middleton <gamidd01@morehead-st.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the biggest MOTHER of them all! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maman très chère  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Faye Dunaway truly felt she would win an Oscar for her performance as Joan Crawford. When the film was released to poor reviews and Paramount's promotion of the film as a camp classic, Dunaway was furious. To this day she refuses to talk about the film. In fact, when she is interviewed she submits a list of topics that are off-limits to the interviewer, one of which is Mommie Dearest (1981). She has been known to stop interviews if asked about the film. It has been stated by Christina Crawford that Dunaway claimed to have been haunted by the ghost of Joan Crawford and this has provided an explanation as to why Dunaway does not like to talk about the film. See more »

Goofs

During opening sequence set in late Thirties, a sightseeing tour bus drives past with an illustration of the famous Hollywood sign on its side. In reality, at that time the sign would have read "HOLLYWOODLAND" - the "LAND" portion of sign (which originally promoted a housing development called HOLLYWOODLAND) was not removed until the late 1940s. See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: [after giving Christina a pearl necklace as a gift] Oh, and Tina - if you don't get this part, for Chrissakes, don't hock 'em.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: The Snatch Game (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Isn't It Romantic
Written by Richard Rodgers (as Rodgers) & Lorenz Hart (as Hart)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

There is no doubt that Christina Crawford's scathing 1978 memoirs did much initial harm to her late mother's reputation. The subsequent 1981 film has eclipsed even the bestselling book to become the standard by which the real-life Joan is judged. However, I'm inclined to believe that those who dismiss Joan today as a psychotic harpy and nothing more never even saw the film version of "Mommie Dearest," and only heard secondhand reports of the most infamous scene ("No...wire...hangers!").

Most tellingly, Christina Crawford reportedly hated the film version of her book, and wailed upon seeing it, "They turned it into a Joan Crawford movie!" She's right. With the exception of the two most graphic scenes ("No wire hangers" and the choking scene), Joan's "abuse" of Christina is not all that much different from what passed as "discipline" in those days--just ask your parents or grandparents--and despite Faye Dunaway's full-throttle acting, Joan always somehow comes off in a strangely sympathetic light.

What we see is an insecure woman fighting for survival in an age-obsessed, male-dominated industry. Such scenes as Joan's heartless dismissal from MGM invite sympathy; while her snarling, veritable takeover of Pepsi Co. elicts cheers for her ballsiness and strength. Christina, on the other hand, is invariably depicted as either gratingly whiny or cardboard stiff. It's difficult to empathize with such an annoying character.

"Mommie Dearest"'s grandest artistic achievement is through the impeccable art direction, which truly makes the audience believe they are watching a film unfold in the 1940's and 1950's. Its lasting legacy, however, is Faye Dunaway's career-ending performance, which, depending on your point of view, is either jaw-droppingly awful or unbelievably brilliant.

Dunaway's acting "choices" are nothing if not idiosyncratic: clutching her bosom frantically as she cries, "You...deliberately...embarass me in front of a REPORTER!"; copying the real-life Crawford's facial expressions from the horror flick "Strait-Jacket" in the axe-wielding scene; and, most famously, her odd, cross-eyed pose that she strikes not once, or twice, but three times: holding baby Christina on the staircase, rubbing moisturizer on her elbows after hiding Christina's dolls, and following her wire hanger/cleansing powder attack.

It is Dunaway's nostril-flaring, hair-pulling, bosom-clutching style that really sends this film into the camp stratosphere. On paper, such scenes as Joan swatting Christina on the butt for defying her orders, or Joan insisting that Christina finish her rare steak, would seem bland. In Dunaway's hands, they become something else altogether!

Actually, Christina Crawford should thank Faye Dunaway; if not for her crazed, unforgettable portrayal, "Mommie Dearest" would have been just another trashy Hollywood memoir that eventually would've been forgotten (does anyone really care about B.D. Hyman's book about Bette Davis anymore?). And a film version without Dunaway would've been rightfully panned, forgotten, and relegated to cut-out bins at your local video emporium. Instead, Faye Dunaway has ensured its place in film immortality. It still stands alone among camp classics, but perhaps some re-evaluation of it (and of Joan Crawford herself) is due.


80 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Filming Locations centipede84
She's a natural Miss Crawford spice-18
Christopher larassilveira
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
Anyone know about the house this was filmed in? andrenkrystel
Joan's Last Scene Alive In The Film = Money Problems? poplion
Discuss Mommie Dearest (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?