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The Big Chill (1983)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  30 September 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 24,497 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 174 user | 61 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina winter house after the funeral of one of their friends.


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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Galloway ...
Richard Bowens
James Gillis ...
Ken Place ...
Peter the Cop
Harold and Sarah's Son
Ira Stiltner ...
Running Dog Driver
Autograph Seeker (as Jacob Kasdan)
Muriel Moore ...
Alex's Mother


A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now all grown up and hardened by the big wide world come together for the funeral of Alex, a barely glimpsed corpse, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them, and yet who never managed to achieve half as much as any of the others. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other and to speculate as to what happened to their idealism which had been abundant when they were younger. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How much love, sex, fun and friendship can a person take? The story of eight old friends searching for something they lost, and finding that all they needed was each other. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Reencuentro  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$56,968 (USA) (6 November 1998)


$56,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: William Hurt, Kevin Kline and Kevin Costner - though the latter was deleted from the movie ; and six Oscar nominees: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Tilly, Meg Kasdan and JoBeth Williams. See more »


Karen's hair on the dock with Sam. See more »


Harold: [Harold, Sam, and Nick are trying to chase a bat out of the attic] I'll open the window, maybe it'll split.
[He opens the window; two more bats fly in]
Nick: Good, now we've got a fair fight.
See more »


Referenced in Modern Family: iSpy (2014) See more »


Written by Steve Miller
Performed by the Steve Miller Band
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Winning Comedy-Drama Backed by One of the Best Soundtracks Ever!
18 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1983's THE BIG CHILL is one of those beautifully crafted and wonderfully acted films that is so ingratiating that I can watch it over and over and never tire of it. Director Lawrence Kasdan hits the bullseye in this alternately hilarious and moving variation on the earlier RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN. This film follows the reunion of a group of friends who went to college together, who have gathered for the funeral of their mutual friend, Alex, who has committed suicide. The original screenplay included scenes with Alex, who was played by Kevin Costner, but, in a stroke of genius, it was decide to delete all of the Alex scenes in the film, lending a wonderful air of mystery to the character of Alex and allowing the audience more input as to why Alex decided to end his life. Alex's friends are Harold Cooper (Kevin Kline), who now owns a shoe store franchise and his doctor-wife, Sarah (Glenn Close), who also serve as our hosts ; Michael (Jeff Goldblum), a writer for PEOPLE magazine; Meg (Mary Kay Place)an attorney who wants to have a baby; Sam (Tom Berenger) an actor with his own TV show who misses the simple life; Karen (JoBeth Williams), a restless housewife who would really like to be a writer and Nick (William Hurt) a drug dealer who would like to be anything else. Also thrown into the mix is Chloe (Meg Tilly) Alex's girlfriend, who knows a completely different Alex than his friends do. This gathering of old and new friends sets the stage for some long-dormant resentments to bubble to the surface and for some long buried passions to be re-ignited. Kasdan has a sharp directorial eye and a flawless ear for dialogue with one of the most quotable screenplays ever and it is all set to a soundtrack of the greatest music from the 1960's ever compiled for a movie soundtrack. The cast is perfection...Close received a Best Supporting Actress nomination but the entire cast works at the same level and to honor one without honoring the ensemble wouldn't have been right. This is the ultimate ensemble piece and it works just about perfectly. Anyway you slice it, an instant classic.

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