IMDb > Terms of Endearment (1983)
Terms of Endearment
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Terms of Endearment (1983) More at IMDbPro »

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Terms of Endearment -- Terms of Endearment dazzled critics and audiences alike with its believable, insightful story of two captivating people, mother and daughter, unforgettably played by Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger. From grand slapstick to deepest sentiment, director James L. Brooks masterfully paints scenes from their evolving 30-year relationship.


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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Larry McMurtry (based on the novel by)
James L. Brooks (screenplay)
View company contact information for Terms of Endearment on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 December 1983 (USA) See more »
Come to Laugh, Come to Cry, Come to Care, Come to Terms.
Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 5 Oscars. Another 32 wins & 10 nominations See more »
(396 articles)
User Reviews:
Classic See more (151 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Shirley MacLaine ... Aurora Greenway

Debra Winger ... Emma Horton

Jack Nicholson ... Garrett Breedlove

Danny DeVito ... Vernon Dahlart

Jeff Daniels ... Flap Horton

John Lithgow ... Sam Burns

Lisa Hart Carroll ... Patsy Clark
Betty King ... Rosie Dunlop (as Betty R. King)

Huckleberry Fox ... Teddy Horton

Troy Bishop ... Tommy Horton
Shane Serwin ... Younger Tommy Horton
Megan Morris ... Melanie Horton
Tara Yeakey ... Baby Melanie
Norman Bennett ... Edward Johnson
Jennifer Josey ... Young Emma
Kate Charleson ... Janice
Tom Wees ... Dr. Budge
Paul Menzel ... Dr. Maise

F. William Parker ... Doctor
Amanda Watkins ... Meg
Buddy Gilbert ... Dr. Ratcher

David Wohl ... Phil
Shelley K. Nielsen ... Nurse (as Shelley K. Nielsen R.N.)
Bette Croissant ... Nurse
Charles Beall ... Rudyard's Employer
Lelise Folse ... Doris

Sharisse Baker-Bernard ... Lee Anne (as Sharisse Baker)
Judy Dickerson ... Checkout Girl (as Judith A. Dickerson)
Devon O'Brien ... Lizbeth
Dana Vance ... Victoria
Alexandra O'Karma ... Jane
Nancy Mette ... Woman at Party (as Nancy E. Mette)
Holly Holmberg Brooks ... T.J. (as Holly Beth Holmberg)
Lear Levin ... Jack Stern

Albert Brooks ... Rudyard (voice) (as A. Brooks)
Lanier Whilden ... Patsy's Mother
Helen Stauffer ... Flap's Secretary
Barbara Balik ... Woman
Michelle Watkins ... Woman
John C. Conger ... Moving Man
Sandra Newkirk ... Mrs. Johnson
Elaine McGown ... Elaine McGown

Mary Kay Place ... Doris (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

David Boles ... College Student (uncredited)

Peg Sheldrick ... Hospital Patient (uncredited)

Directed by
James L. Brooks 
Writing credits
Larry McMurtry (based on the novel by)

James L. Brooks (screenplay)

Produced by
James L. Brooks .... producer
Penney Finkelman Cox .... co-producer (as Penney Finkelman)
Martin Jurow .... co-producer
Original Music by
Michael Gore (music composed by)
Cinematography by
Andrzej Bartkowiak (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Richard Marks 
Casting by
Ellen Chenoweth 
Juliet Taylor 
Production Design by
Polly Platt 
Art Direction by
Harold Michelson 
Set Decoration by
Anthony Mondell (set decorations)
Tom Pedigo (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Kristi Zea 
Makeup Department
Gerry Leetch .... hair stylist (as Gerry Becker Leetch)
Ben Nye Jr. .... makeup
Kaye Pownall .... hair stylist
Bron Roylance .... makeup artist
Julie C. Steffes .... body makeup
Production Management
Austen Jewell .... unit production manager
Ira Marvin .... unit production supervisor: New York
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Marty P. Ewing .... second assistant director
Joel Segal .... dga trainee (as Joel B. Segal)
Albert M. Shapiro .... first assistant director (as Albert Shapiro)
Art Department
Terry E. Lewis .... property master
David Q. Quick .... assistant props
John J. Rutchland Jr. .... construction coordinator (as John J. Rutchland)
Sandy Veneziano .... set designer
Richard A. Villalobos .... leadman
Thomas J. Wright .... storyboard illustrator (as Thomas Wright)
Sound Department
James R. Alexander .... sound mixer (as James Alexander)
Terry Lynn Allen .... sound editor
Cheryl Bloch .... sound assistant
Irene Bowers .... sound assistant
Norval D. Crutcher .... supervising sound editor
Samuel C. Crutcher .... sound editor
Joanne D'Antonio .... sound editor
Bruce Fortune .... sound assistant (as Bruce D. Fortune)
Cecelia Hall .... sound editor
Rick Kline .... re-recording mixer
Barbara Fallick Marks .... dialogue looping editor
Donald O. Mitchell .... re-recording mixer
Kevin O'Connell .... re-recording mixer
Andrew Patterson .... sound editor
Jerry Rosenthal .... sound editor
James Sabat .... sound mixer: New York
Larry Singer .... dialogue looping editor
Stephen Stalheim .... sound apprentice (as Stephen M. Stalheim)
George Watters II .... sound editor
Greg Agalsoff .... boom operator (uncredited)
Greg Orloff .... foley recordist (uncredited)
Mark Server .... boom operator (uncredited)
Clive Taylor .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Jeannie Epper .... stunts
Alan Gibbs .... stunts (as Alan R. Gibbs)
Alan Gibbs .... stunt double: Jack Nicholson (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Dustin Blauvelt .... first assistant camera
Maggie Fox .... second assistant camera
Steven Hiller .... second assistant camera (as Steve Hiller)
Billy Miller .... key grip
Dick Mingalone .... camera operator: New York
Don Reddy .... camera operator
Zade Rosenthal .... still photographer
Dusty Wallace .... gaffer
Doug Willis .... dolly grip (as Douglas Willis)
Jack E. McLean Jr. .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Jackie Beavers .... location casting: Nebraska
Sylvia Fay .... casting: bits and extras, New York
Paula Herold .... casting associate
Liz Keigley .... location casting: Texas, Doster-Keigley and Rhodes
Shari Rhodes .... location casting: Texas, Doster-Keigley and Rhodes
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Tony Faso .... costumer: men's (as Anthony J. Faso)
Oda Groeschel .... costumer: women's
Jennifer L. Parsons .... costumer: women's
Mark Burchard .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Albert Coleman .... assistant editor
Larry Fallick .... apprentice editor
Jeff Freeman .... assistant editor
Jane Schwartz Jaffe .... first assistant editor
Lee Rasson .... apprentice editor
Sidney Wolinsky .... additional film editor
Music Department
Bob Badami .... music editor (as Robert Badami)
Richard Hazard .... conductor
Richard Hazard .... orchestrator
Dan Wallin .... music recording mixer
Transportation Department
Michael McDuffee .... transportation coordinator
Chris Haynes .... driver (uncredited)
Dan Marrow .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Marti Wells .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Kimberly Allen .... support personnel
Lea Andrews .... secretary: Austen Jewell
Brian Brosnan .... location manager: Nebraska
David Davis .... special advisor
Rosemary Dorsey .... script supervisor
Barbara Duncan .... assistant: James L. Brooks
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title design
Harold Fowler .... first aid
Paul Germain .... support personnel
Mark Gutierrez .... support personnel
Mark Harrah .... technical advisor
Sandra Rabins .... location auditor
Meta Rebner .... script supervisor (as Meta D. Wilde)
Anne Thompson .... unit publicist
Susan Vogelfang .... location manager: Texas
Ron Mitchell .... production assistant (uncredited)
Sheila Exstrom .... the producers would like to thank: for his contributions to the making of "Terms of Endearment" (as Sheila Exstrom R.N. C.N.A.A.)
Timothy S. Gee .... the producers would like to thank: for his contributions to the making of "Terms of Endearment" (as Timothy S. Gee M.D.)
Holly Holmberg Brooks .... special thanks (as Holly Brooks)
Richard Sakai .... the producers would like to thank: for his contributions to the making of "Terms of Endearment"
Guy Serwin .... the producers would like to thank: for his contributions to the making of "Terms of Endearment" (as Mr. Guy Serwin)
Mrs. Guy Serwin .... the producers would like to thank: for her contributions to the making of "Terms of Endearment"
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
132 min
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Canadian Home Video rating) | Finland:K-12 | Iceland:L | Norway:12 | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:18 | Sweden:7 | UK:15 | UK:12A (theatrical re-release) (re-rating) (2013) | USA:PG (#27173) (re-rating on appeal) | USA:R (original rating) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

James L. Brooks was the fourth director to win an Academy Award for direction on debut. Delbert Mann' was the first for Marty (1955) whilst Jerome Robbins was the second for West Side Story (1961). Others have been Robert Redford for Ordinary People (1980) and Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves (1990).See more »
Errors in geography: While traveling in the car in Texas, the background shows warehouses from "Miller & Paine", a department store that didn't exist in Texas (but did in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the scene was filmed).See more »
Emma Horton:Momma, that's the first time I stopped hugging first. I like that.See more »
Movie Connections:
I Feel the Earth MoveSee more »


Is the movie loyal to the book?
See more »
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Classic, 23 March 2013
Author: taylork1776 from Columbus, Ohio

Terms of Endearment stands the test of time. This film was released in 1983 and is defiantly a classic. Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway and Debra Winger as Emma Horton are two of the best actresses of this generation. Not to mention, Jack Nicholson as the "Astronaut" Garrett Breedlove, his characters are always memorable no matter how big or small his role in a film.

This film is about the lifelong relationship between a daughter, Emma, her slightly neurotic mother, Aurora and the men in their lives. From the beginning of the film you see Aurora's dependence on Emma, even though Aurora is slightly cold towards her at first. You also see that Emma, as a daughter, doesn't care, she loves her mother unconditionally for who she is, as a child does. The film goes on to tell a realistic tale about how life is funny, exciting, disappointing and just plain sad.

Very few films have the ability to tell such a heart warming yet heart wrenching tale so realistically. The director's focus in this film is on the emotional effect, he wants to make you feel as if you are living life with these women. The use of natural lighting and the use of a subjective view point keep you sitting next to these woman as they experience dating "the astronaut" and having children with a spouse who is not always there for you.

I have to say my favorite part of the film was being transported back in time to the place where I grew up. A place of Laura Ashley furniture and phones that had a cords. The setting to this movie was so authentic that it made me wish for a simpler time before all the technology came along and children used to play outside. You really do feel that you are widowed housewife in Texas, trying to figure out that "astronaut" next door and what you may want from him. Maybe you're also the mother of three trying to figure out where your husband is; of course he is probably trying to figure out where you are.

One of the nicest things in life is being able to share your whole self with someone who will love you anyway. That is what this story conveys. It may not always be happy and rosy, but it is funny and real. It reminds me of the movie Steel Magnolias which Shirley MacLaine also does a terrific job. This is a must see movie for anyone.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Terms of Endearment (1983)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Emma not telling Flap she also cheated Just_Alex
What I don't like *spoilers* Pinkdaisy678
Why is the movie so underrated on IMDB? sushil_ssku
Did Winger and McClaine get along during filming? apiperchic
I always tell people to hope for the best and prepare for the worst... llocket1
There is not a single movie that makes me cry more than this killmeifyoulike
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