Down 2,816 this week

Mommie Dearest (1981)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  18 September 1981 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 9,965 users  
Reviews: 158 user | 71 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.



(book), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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

A former child star torments her crippled sister in a 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
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
Nine to Five (1980)
    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
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
Mask (1985)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A teenager with a massive facial skull deformity and biker gang mother attempt to live as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard
Silkwood (1983)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Suddenly Laura Mars can see through the eyes of a serial killer as he commits his crimes. She contacts the police and with the aid of a police detective, tries to stop the killer. But first... See full summary »

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Biographical story of Loretta Lynn, a legendary country singer that came from poverty to worldwide fame. She rose from humble beginnings in Kentucky to superstardom and changing the sound and style of country music forever.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana, STEEL MAGNOLIAS is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. As the ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Seven stories contained in letters received by the Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine at Baclaran, Phillippines.

Director: Mar S. Torres
Stars: Van De Leon, Lilibeth Vera-Perez, Nenita Jana


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


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


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


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maman très chère  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The time-span of Joan Crawford's life portrayed by Faye Dunaway in this film is a 39 year period. See more »


When Joan walks into Mayer's office (only to be sacked) she is greeted by the secretary with "good morning". However, in a preceding scene, we hear Christina talking to her dolls about her mother having to see Mr Mayer "this afternoon". See more »


Joan Crawford: [cutting off her daughter's hair] You spoiled it, just like I spoiled you.
See more »


Referenced in Ted (2012) See more »


To Each His Own
Written by Jay Livingston (as Livingston) & Ray Evans (as Evans)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

How Bizarre
9 January 2010 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Some of the behavior of the real Joan Crawford (Lucille LeSueur) was symptomatic of what we nowadays refer to as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mindset that fixates on ultra-cleanliness and perfection. Such bizarre behavior as needlessly scrubbing clean floors and clean hands helps reduce one's fears and anxieties. Over-reaction to minor problems is one result. There's a tendency to expect oneself and others to be perfect. If what is being judged is not perfect, then the OCD mindset perceives it to be the opposite of perfection; that is, ruin. There's no in-between.

Character behavior that is weird to begin with, combined with poor film direction, and an exaggerated, over-the-top performance by Faye Dunaway results in plot sequences that are campy and outlandish, thus robbing the story of subtle truths that may be buried under all that bombast.

Excise the rose garden sequence, the wire-hangers/bathroom cleaning sequence, and several other embarrassing parts, and we "might" have a film that could be taken seriously. But, of course, then we couldn't laugh at it. And I do think the film, as is, is good for some laughs.

Having a film protagonist who is such a blatant villain with no character arc is unusual, and helps make this film so bizarre. At least Godzilla, and the great white shark in Jaws, could be forgiven their cruelty, given their inability to be human.

Apart from the bizarre main character in "Mommie Dearest", the film's plot does not flow well. The dialogue also is bizarre and lacks subtext. "Helga, I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt", says Joan as she spots dirt hiding under a potted plant. And as an out-of-control, angry Joan proceeds to punish a tree in her rose garden, in frustration with Louis B. Mayer, she yells to Christina: "Bring me the ax". How can the viewer not laugh?

Lucille LeSueur undoubtedly was an ambitious woman, a hard worker, and had both genuine talent and a healthy ego. But her human relations with others, especially her adopted daughter, were disasters. We may never know the extent to which "Mommie Dearest" mirrors the real Joan Crawford, or is merely a gross exaggeration by a vengeful "heirless" heir.

Regardless, Joan Crawford left us some terrific films. She had a memorable, unique personality, and will remain a stunning Hollywood legend for as long as Hollywood exists.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What did she put on the ice? cdbacon6
Faye Dunaway wrong for the part bcstoneb444
Do you think Joan knew that her daughter was going to write the book? onemanbond
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
Why Did everyone dislike the movie so much? Kylkoog
If Faye wanted to make alot of $$$ cubkisser66
Discuss Mommie Dearest (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: