IMDb > Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Desperately Seeking Susan
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Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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5.8/10   16,295 votes »
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Leora Barish (written by)
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Release Date:
12 April 1985 (USA) See more »
Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead... See more »
A bored suburban housewife, seeking adventure to her life, accidentally gets hit on the head, wakes up with amnesia, and is mistaken for a free-spirited New York City drifter named Susan. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Cool girls from the city. See more (58 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Rosanna Arquette ... Roberta Glass

Madonna ... Susan

Aidan Quinn ... Dez

Mark Blum ... Gary Glass

Robert Joy ... Jim

Laurie Metcalf ... Leslie Glass

Anna Levine ... Crystal

Will Patton ... Wayne Nolan

Peter Maloney ... Ian

Steven Wright ... Larry Stillman D.D.S

John Turturro ... Ray
Anne Carlisle ... Victoria
José Angel Santana ... Boutique Owner (as Jose Santana)

Giancarlo Esposito ... Street Vendor
Richard Hell ... Bruce Meeker
Rockets Redglare ... Taxi Driver
Steve Bosh ... Newscaster
Daisy Bradford ... Daisy

Annie Golden ... Band Singer

Richard Edson ... Man with Newspapers

Ann Magnuson ... Cigarette Girl

John Lurie ... Neighbor Saxophonist

Mary Joy ... Cocktail Waitress

Rosemary Hochschild ... Cocktail Waitress
Iris Chacón ... TV Singer (as Iris Chacon)

Victor Argo ... Sgt. Taskal
Shirley Stoler ... Jail Matron
J.B. Waters ... Jail Matron
Arto Lindsay ... Newspaper Clerk
Henry Adler ... Magic Club Drummer
Marty Gold ... Magic Club Pianist
Alvy West ... Magic Club Saxophonist
Michael R. Chin ... Choy

Patrick John Hurley ... Policeman (as John Patrick Hurley)

Timothy Carhart ... Victoria's Boyfriend
Curt Dempster ... Coffee Shop Manager
Shirley Kaplan ... Waitress
Lázaro Pérez ... Enrique the Guard (as Lazaro Perez)

John Hoyt ... Space Commander
Gary Ray ... Band Member

Gary Binkow ... Band Member
Michael Bramon ... Band Member
Joyce Griffen ... Prostitute
Paul Austin ... Policeman
Richard S. Lowy ... Adrian the Hairdresser
Donna Ritchie ... Hot Tub Girl

Kim Chan ... Park Bum

Michael Badalucco ... Guy from Brooklyn
Elie J. Boubli ... Egyptian Ambassador
Adele Bertei ... Prisoner
Peter Castellotti ... Coffee Shop Cop (as Pete Castellotti)
Wende Dasteel ... Party Guest
Steve Eidel ... Party Guest
Michael Kaufman ... Party Guest

Ilene Kristen ... Party Guest

Carol Leifer ... Party Guest

Richard Portnow ... Party Guest
Isabel García Lorca ... Party Guest (as Isabel Garcia-Lorca)

Tim Ransom ... Bellhop (as Timothy R. Wilson)
Gilda Torterello ... Ray's Mom (as Gilda Tortorello)
Stanley Burns ... Ventriloquist
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Dahdah ... Man Waiting On Line (uncredited)
Eddy Galland ... Boy Triplet (uncredited)
Kevin Harris ... Egyptian Diplomat (uncredited)
David Kellman ... Boy Triplet (uncredited)
Harsh Nayyar ... Egyptian Diplomat (uncredited)
Robert Shafran ... Boy Triplet (uncredited)

Frank Stellato ... Moving Man (uncredited)

Directed by
Susan Seidelman 
Writing credits
Leora Barish (written by)

Produced by
Michael Peyser .... executive producer
Sarah Pillsbury .... producer
Midge Sanford .... producer
Original Music by
Thomas Newman 
Cinematography by
Edward Lachman (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Andrew Mondshein 
Casting by
Risa Bramon Garcia  (as Risa Bramon)
Billy Hopkins 
Production Design by
Santo Loquasto 
Art Direction by
Speed Hopkins 
Set Decoration by
George DeTitta Jr.  (as George Detitta Jr.)
Costume Design by
Santo Loquasto (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Richard Dean .... makeup artist
Werner Sherer .... hair stylist
Production Management
Michael Peyser .... unit production manager
Tom Razzano .... assistant unit production manager (as Thomas A. Razzano)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Dreyfuss .... second assistant director
Rob Schwebber .... dga trainee (as Rob Schweber)
Joel Tuber .... first assistant director
Art Department
Leslie Bloom .... property master
William Durnin Sr. .... set dresser (as Bill Durnin)
Ralph Fratianni .... construction grip (as Ralph Fratiani)
Stan Graham .... scenic artist (as Stanley Graham)
Daniel K. Grosso .... set dresser (as Danny Grasso)
Vincent Lawrence .... scenic artist
Glenn Lloyd .... art department coordinator
Richard Nelson .... set dresser (as Rick Nelson)
Arne Olsen .... head construction grip
Ron Petagna .... shop craftsman (as Ronald J. Petagna)
Yossi Segal .... sketch artist
Bill Sorice .... scenic artist
James Sorice .... master scenic artist
Thomas M. Southern .... scenic artist (as Tommy Southern)
Margot Therre .... scenic artist (as Margot E. Therre)
Dick Tice .... assistant prop man (as Dick Tice Jr.)
Chris Vogt .... set dresser
Dave Weinman .... lead set dresser (as David Weinman)
Morris Weinman .... set dresser
Don Zappia .... construction grip
Frank Didio .... head carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Randall Coleman .... assistant sound editor
Lee Dichter .... sound re-recordist: Sound One Corp.
Jay Dranch .... adr editor
Lou Graf .... sound editor
Frank Graziadei .... sound cable (as Frank J. Graziadei)
Kenton Jakub .... assistant sound editor
Bruce Kitzmeyer .... foley editor
Les Lazarowitz .... sound mixer
Laurie Mullen .... assistant sound editor
Linda Murphy .... boom operator
Peter Odabashian .... sound editor
Mark Rathaus .... sound editor
Maurice Schell .... supervising sound editor
Ahmad Shirazi .... assistant sound editor
Mitchel Stanley .... assistant sound editor
Stuart Stanley .... assistant sound editor
Brunilda Torres .... assistant sound editor
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist (uncredited)
Scott Leva .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Vincent Delaney .... electrician
Mitch Dubin .... first assistant camera
James Fitzpatrick .... gaffer
Francis Kenny .... additional photography
Francis Kenny .... camera operator
Dave Lowry .... grip
Jim Manzione .... electrician (as James Manzione)
Tom McKibbin .... electrician (as Thomas McKibbin)
John Panuccio .... grip
Robert T. Prate .... grip (as Robert Prate)
Tom Prate .... key grip (as Thomas J. Prate Jr.)
Ray Quinlan .... gaffer
Debbie Sarjeant .... second assistant camera
Andrew D. Schwartz .... still photographer (as Andrew Schwartz)
Casting Department
Laura Bemis .... casting assistant
Todd Thaler .... additional casting (as Todd Michael Thaler)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
William A. Campbell .... wardrobe supervisor (as Bill Campbell)
Alison Lances .... costume assistant: Mr. Loquasto
Melissa Stanton .... wardrobe supervisor (as Melissa A. Stanton)
Editorial Department
Sam Adelman .... assistant picture editor
Bobbi Banks .... editing room assistant
Sally Boldt .... editing room assistant
Don Donigi .... processing: DuArt Laboratories
Paula Hunt .... editing room assistant
Tom Mottola .... processing: DuArt Laboratories
James H. Nau .... assistant picture editor
Music Department
Louis Cerborino .... music editor (as Lou Cerborino)
Danny Goldberg .... music supervisor
Tim Sexton .... music supervisor (as Timothy R. Sexton)
John Vigran .... music recording engineer
Randall Coleman .... assistant music editor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Rocco Derasmo .... transportation captain
Patrick Hogan .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Todd Auslander .... production staff
Richard Baratta .... production staff
John Thomas Clifford .... production staff
Jim Davis .... film research
Claudette Didul .... production staff
Jeff Dowd .... producer's representative
Teta Gorgoni .... production staff
Shelley Houis .... production office coordinator (as Shelley T. Houis)
Garland Hunter .... production staff
Ira Hurvitz .... script supervisor
Thomas A. Imperato .... assistant auditor
Julie Lamm .... post-production accountant
Gabrielle Liuzzi .... assistant to producers
Peter Lombardi .... production auditor
Ruth Mullen .... production office assistant
Tom Paolucci .... production staff (as Thomas Paolucci)
Paul Petschek .... assistant: Mr. Peyser (as Paul M. Petschek)
Paul Petschek .... film research
Reid Rosefelt .... publicist
Jay Scherick .... production staff
Michael Sporn .... title designer: Animation Inc.
Sal St. George .... magic consultant
Gilbert S. Williams .... production staff (as Gilbert Williams)
Ernie Karpeles .... animal wrangler (uncredited)
Beth B .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Scott B .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Iris Chacón .... the filmmakers wish to thank (as Iris Chacon)
Julia Child .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Lynn Geller .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Julie Kirkham .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Linda Lichter .... the filmmakers wish to thank
Michael Perez .... special thanks
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
104 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (original release)

Did You Know?

The second-hand clothing store that Susan and Roberta go to was called "Love Saves the Day," located in the East Village in New York City. In 2009, due to tripling rent costs, the store shut its doors for good.See more »
Crew or equipment visible: Boom mic reflected from the hood of the car when Gary pulls his car in front of the used clothes store.See more »
Roberta:Here it is, a message from Jim.
[Reading from newspaper]
Roberta:"Desperately seeking Susan. Meet me, four o'clock, Battery Park. Keep the faith. Love, Jim."
Leslie:Jim? Susan? Do you know these people?
Roberta:They send messages through the personal ads, that's how they hook up. Last year she was in Mexico City, then Los Angeles, now New York. Desperate. I love that word.
Leslie:Everybody I know is desperate, except for you.
Roberta:I'm desperate.
Roberta:Well, sort of.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Remote Control (1988)See more »


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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Cool girls from the city., 10 April 2004
Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida

Desperately Seeking Susan is one of those titles in a catalogue of definitive 80s movies. It is a fantastic little caper directed by the fantastic Susan Seidleman, and unfortuantely, was one movie that got pitched around a long time before someone finally picked it up.

Susan (played terrifically by Madonna in her pre-burnout years) is a sassy, flaky, and often witty young woman who's always looking for a good time, even when danger is afoot. Enter Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) who could practically be her alter ego as she is everything Susan is not. She is shy and judicious and stuck in a boring marriage, looking for an escape. She is everything Susan is not, and wants to be everything that Susan is. And she will get her chance.

Roberta reads the personal ads frequently because that is how wordly traveller Susan reaches her boyfriend, Jimmy (Robert Joy). They place ads saying hello and telling each where to meet. Roberta is going to tag along when Susan posts a new ad telling Jimmy to meet her in battery park. This is where Roberta takes an interest in Susan, but not that in single white female kind of way, despite the sudden mix up that arises out of all of this. She follows Susan around the city and so forth.

Someone else is following Susan, too. A murderer (Patton) looking for a very expensive earring that was stolen from a museum. He is after Susan because he knows she has the earring. But, after an accident at the park and Roberta winding up with amnesia, the murderer is after the wrong Susan. With the help of Jim's friend Dez (Quinn), Roberta slowly has to figure out who she is, otherwise the murderer is going to kill her, thinking she has the find. In the meantime, Susan teams up with Roberta's totally idiotic husband, Gary (Mark Blum) to find out Roberta's whereabouts. Roberta is going to get exactly what she wanted: a little fun, a little adventure, and a little escape, that will have her rethinking her own course.

Desperately Seeking Susan is really a fun movie that takes place in New York City. Everybody in it, even Mark Blum as the obnoxious Gary Glass and Laurie Metcalf as his compulsive and mistrusting sister, Leslie. Rosanna Arquette is great in nearly everything I've seen her in for her 80s career of movies, and works perfectly as Roberta in her romance with Dez (Quinn). And, it is one of the few things that I actually like Madonna in. They tried to recreate her Susan image (and story) for the movie, Who's That Girl (with Griffin Dunne), but it just couldn't work as perfectly as it did here. Seidleman and writer Leora Barish did some good work in producing a fun film.

By the way, if you're ever in Greenwhich Village, 'Love Saves the Day' (the second hand clothing store that Susan goes into to buy boots) still exists. However, they mostly sell retro novelty toys.

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Something I've never understood, Help!? karaichiwa
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