The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Romance  |  9 May 1985 (Australia)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 33,910 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 128 user | 68 critic | 7 from

In 1930s New Jersey, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Irving Metzman ...
Theater Manager
Stephanie Farrow ...
David Kieserman ...
Diner Boss
Elaine Grollman ...
Diner Patron
Victoria Zussin ...
Diner Patron
Mark Hammond ...
Diner Patron
Wade Barnes ...
Diner Patron
Joseph G. Graham ...
Diner Patron
Don Quigley ...
Diner Patron
Maurice Brenner ...
Diner Patron
Penny Pitcher
Rick Petrucelli ...
Penny Pitcher


Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey during the Depression and is searching for an escape from her dreary life. Tom Baxter is a dashing young archaeologist in the film "The Purple Rose of Cairo." After losing her job Cecilia goes to see the film in hopes of raising her spirits. Much to her surprise Tom Baxter walks off the screen and into her life. There's only one problem..Tom isn't real. Meanwhile Hollywood is up in arms when they dicover that other Tom Baxters are trying to leave the screen in other theatres. Will Tom ever return and finish the film or will he decide to stay in the real world? Written by Ricky Darbonne <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's finally met the man of her dreams. He's not real but you can't have everything. [Video]


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 May 1985 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

La rosa púrpura del Cairo  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$10,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was selected to screen out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 and was awarded the International Film Critics Prize by FIPRESCI. See more »


Although the film's fictional namesake has scenes filmed in the Copacabana club in New York, the club was not open until November 1940. This is not consistent with the actual film, which is set during the Great Depression. See more »


[first lines]
Theater Manager: Oh Cecilia, be careful! You all right?
Cecilia: Yeah.
Theater Manager: You're gonna like this one, it's better than last week's, more romantic.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Alexander Cohen's name is listed as "Alexander H. Cohen" in the opening credits, although the middle initial is dropped in the end credits. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley (1998) See more »


I Love My Baby, My Baby Loves Me
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Bud Green
Sung by Jeff Daniels (uncredited) with Loretta Tupper (uncredited) on piano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Flawless in its own way, a pure pleasure to sit back and lose yourself
23 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

There's no way you can't like the ingenuity of the movie, and the fun it has. It's about the joy of life, and love of the movies, and the difficulty to tell the difference sometimes (at least when in the theater).

In some ways this is one of Woody Allen's lightest movies, and certainly lightweight compared to the more serious movies of this period (like the stunning gem, "Another Woman"). It's not zany like his earliest comedies ("Love and Death"). And it's not deeply observant and sometimes downright moving and brilliant like his best movies (like "Annie Hall" or "Crimes and Misdemeanors"). In that way it feels like what some novelists would call an "entertainment" to distinguish from their heavier masterpieces, and sometimes these are the most readable of all. Or the most watchable.

"The Purple Rose of Cairo" is inventive, warm, and touching. It's really high brow hilarious when the people on the screen react to the situation, not only because of the existential reality shift going on, but because they are all high brow types. Then there are the everyday scenes with Mia Farrow, the lead actress in the real world (usually), and support from Danny Aiello, really just a foil for the main romances (two) going on with Farrow (singular). It's not as complicated as it sounds, which might prove the elegance of Allen's writing.

A beautiful, delicate movie without undo weightiness. Joyous, yes, even in its melancholy end.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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