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The Big Chill (1983)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  30 September 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 24,496 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


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?


Among the books on Sarah and Harold's bookshelves is Lana Turner's autobiography, Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth. See more »


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


Karen: [smoking a joint, passes it to Harold] No... I know that Richard will always be faithful to me.
Harold: [takes the joint, about to smoke it] That's nice. You trust.
Karen: [shaking her head] Fear of herpes.
[Harold stops short of putting the joint in his mouth]
See more »


Referenced in The Game: The Big Chill (2007) See more »


Written by Eddie Holland and Norman Whitfield
Performed by The Temptations
Courtesy of Motown Records and Jobete Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Ensemble Acting at it's Best
3 February 2001 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

"The Big Chill" is about my peers. When first released in 1983, I, like the characters, was in my early thirties, a former rebellious collegian from the '60s. After a decade in the work-a-day world, being a family man and raising babies, watching "The Big Chill" was like a fantastic time machine and took me back to places long forgotten. It really connected with me on a visceral level and I loved it.

Now, almost twenty years later, I've watched "The Big Chill" again. Same effect? Not exactly, although a lot of this may be due to the effect of viewing any movie a second time. My views of the 60s are not so gilded as they were then either. "The Big Chill" is still a very good movie; you have to love it for the ensemble acting. So many of the actors in the movie went on to have respected careers in the 80s and 90s. It's one of those rare movies like "American Graffiti" and "Diner" that served as a launch pad for acting careers. And the soundtrack is perfect, capturing the breadth of late '60s pop music. I really wish Kasdan had done with these characters, what Updike did with his "Rabbit" novels, that is, show the characters at ten year intervals through their lives.

This is one of the better movies of this type and is highly recommended even for the gen-x'ers.

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