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Mommie Dearest (1981)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  18 September 1981 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 9,406 users  
Reviews: 153 user | 70 critic

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.

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(book), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Mommie Dearest (1981)

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In this documentary on the life of 'Joan Crawford', we learn why she should be remembered as the great actress she was, and not only as the "mommie dearest." caricature she has become. ... See full summary »

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Cast

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

The greatest role of her life...was her life. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Christina Crawford, there were several scenes in which the script had to make alterations for real-life events. For example, for the famous rose bush cutting scene Christina said that those manic occasions happened periodically due to no real cause. The producers wanted to use the scenes but had to write in that it was brought on by Joan being fired by MGM executive Louis B. Mayer. Also in reference to Joan helping the maid scrub the floor, Christina stated that Joan never cleaned floors that she could remember. Joan would make Christina or Christopher clean the floors while she supervised. See more »

Goofs

When Joan brings Christina home from Chadwick school, she is wearing a hat, gloves and skirt all in the 50s style, which is correct. Her coat is an a-line design, boxy and shapeless, with a huge 70s pointed collar. This coat would not have been worn by Joan in the 50s as she was always wearing the very latest styles. See more »

Quotes

[Joan is passed out in her dressing room]
Christina Crawford: I came in and I found her like this. You think she needs an ambulance?
Carol Ann: She doesn't need an ambulance. She's drunk.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tofu the Vegan Zombie in Zombie Dearest (2007) 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

Drama? Maybe... The world's funniest comedy? Yep!
17 April 2002 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

Oh Lord, Here it comes..... This is the big one. Never before has there been (and probably never will there be again) a camp monstrosity as huge as this. An over-the-top "true story" about Christina Crawford being adopted, raised and tormented by the legendary film star Joan Crawford, the film is an amazing exercise in excess. Virtually every line in the film is a quotable hoot (and legions of people can almost recite the script!) It is an overabundance of comedic riches. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite scene. First, though it is likely that certain aspects of this film have a seed of truth, there is no way that this is an authentic film biography.......NO WAY. So, while a few incidents are loosely derived from fact, most of it is guilt-free hilarity. Christina's book was striking, but contained nothing as wild and vicious as this film presents. And it's entirely probable that some of Christina's memories were exaggerated by childhood perspective (although there's no denying that her mother was an obsessive, neurotic, steamroller of a woman.) Even Tina explained, in her book, certain aspects of the bad behavior which shed some light on Joan's actions. None of that is presented here. For example, the infamous rare meat scene...the film doesn't disclose that Joan paid high black market prices for the beef (during wartime rationing) and was appalled that Tina turned her nose up at it and wasted it. Also, the violent night raid scene is actually a compilation of two different occasions, etc.... The film tries to maximize and sensationalize everything and over-do everything to the point where it turns comic. Dunaway (who has, herself, described her mesmerizing and ferocious performance as "Kabuki") is beyond fascinating to watch. She imbues the role with an intense, stunning magnetism which blows everyone else off the screen. It's amazing that the sets were left intact! Despite an explosive, unforgettable performance, Faye actually looks almost nothing like the real Joan Crawford. Her eyes are not nearly large enough and nothing is done to make them appear so, her eyebrows are ridiculous, her chest is not as pronounced as Joan made hers and her hair is almost never the way the real Joan wore it! And both women have HIGHLY unique voices, but which are not alike at all. Still, she radiates all the necessary star quality for the role. Anne Bancroft would have LOOKED the part more, but who knows what the film would have been like? Better? Duller? It certainly could not have been wilder! Highlights of the Faye Dunaway circus act include: the legendary cold cream-faced night raid with the iconic screech, "No Wire Hangers!", her tirade with the scissors when she catches Tina mocking her, her showdown with the boarding school principal, the resultant wrestling match with Tina back home and the magnificent face-off with the Pepsi Board of Directors. It would be impossible to list the many quotes which make this film required viewing (only the surface has been scratched in the Memorable Quotes section.) "I fought worse monsters than you for years in Hollywood. I know how to win the hard way" immediately followed by "Don't F*CK with me fellas!! This ain't my first time at the rodeo", isn't a bad start. Too hilarious! Young Hobel really holds her own as Tina and though Scarwid is less successful as grown Tina, she still gets in a few good licks. In any case, the film has provided untold hours of enjoyment and allowed for some instant bonding whenever people start spouting off the hilarious lines. WHEN is someone going to adapt this into a stage show?!


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
What did she put on the ice? cdbacon6
Faye Dunaway wrong for the part bcstoneb444
'Mommie Dearest' Hits home for me. tminnie
How could anyone find this movie funny? coupleofflakes2
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
Why Did everyone dislike the movie so much? Kylkoog
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