Frances (1982)

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The true story of Frances Farmer's meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood and the tragic turn her life took when she was blacklisted.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry York
Bart Burns ...
Studio Stylist
James Brodhead ...
Desk Sergeant
Lady at Roosevelt Hotel (as J.J. Chaback)
Harold Clurman
Rod Colbin ...
Sentencing Judge
Daniel Chodos ...
'No Escape' director
Donald Craig ...
Ralph Edwards
Sarah Cunningham ...
Alma Styles
'Flowing Gold' Director


The true story of Frances Farmer's meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood and the tragic turn her life took when she was blacklisted.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beautiful. Talented. Intelligent. Courageous. She Was Frances Farmer. She Should've Been The Silver Screen's Greatest Star. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 February 1983 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Frances, mia adesmefti gymaika  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard fell in love while working on the movie and subsequently had two children together, Hanna and Walker. See more »


When Frances is at the party and is warned that she's being "bugged" by the Feds, a boom mic is clearly visible over her head. See more »


Mr. Bebe: Come along with me, Fanny.
Frances Farmer: Frances. You know, I'm not the cookbook.
Mr. Bebe: You see, you've got to change that name.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Joan Rivers/Musical Youth (1983) See more »


Flow Gently, Sweet Afton (Afton Water)
See more »

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User Reviews

Nature or Nurture
16 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film parallels the Biography Channel's version of Frances Farmer's life and career. Neither gave a definitive answer as to the cause of this actress' problems.

Was it inability to cope with society due to her own high standards of artistic integrity? Or was it a mental flaw that grew more intense as she got older? It was James Jones (in "From Here to Eternity") that wrote: "Maybe in the days of the pioneer, you could go your own way. Pvt. Pruitt, but today you gotta play ball." That obviously implied demonstrating things like compromise, humility, condescension, flexibility, and sundry social graces.

It also implied that one can "be right" and still be very lonely.

Frances apparently chose the wrong profession, if she expected to "be right" so often. She'd have been better off on a farm or ranch, engaged in solo activities rather than the group endeavor of acting.

As it was, she seemed never to have learned to work professionally with colleagues. From her standpoint, she was indeed "right." She constantly exposed the hypocrisy, insincerity and frailty in people and "the system." Yet the price she paid was a loss of what mattered to her: a career that was nourishing and satisfying.

In '82 Jessica Lange followed up her fine Oscar-winning performance as Julie Nichols in "Tootsie" with this incredible portrayal of Farmer in "Frances." The legendary Kim Stanley was her mother and Sam Shepard rendered a perceptive performance as Farmer's close friend.

Not an easy film to sit through, the quality of acting by this trio is exemplary. As much up to date today as when first filmed. Riveting performances by all. --harry-76

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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