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The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

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In New Jersey in 1935, a movie character walks off the screen and into the real world.



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 <nsdar8115@alpha.nsula.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 April 1985 (USA)  »

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
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Did You Know?


Woody Allen has frequently said that Eve Arden is his favorite comedic actress, and he very much wanted to collaborate with her on this film. Allen offered Arden a part, but unfortunately she had to turn it down in order to care for her ailing husband. 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 Hrysa koritsia: Episode #1.1 (2008) See more »


Cheek to Cheek
Written by Irving Berlin
Vocal by Fred Astaire
Played during the opening credits and
In clip from Top Hat (1935) at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Enchanting bittersweet fantasy...surreal and very original...
17 January 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO has got to be one of the most original and inventive of all the films Woody Allen has done--and all the more enjoyable because we're not subjected to the Allen character in the film itself. Instead, we get MIA FARROW (one of her very best performances) and JEFF DANIELS in what has to be the most original role of his career, as the man who walks off the movie screen and into Farrow's humdrum life.

Farrow is the Depression-era movie fan whose film idol walks right off the screen and interjects himself into her life--brightening it, at least for awhile, until the rather downbeat ending. DANNY AIELLO, as Mia's abusive husband and DIANNE WIEST have good supporting roles, but the story really depends on the wonderful chemistry between Farrow and Daniels--and they truly bring the bittersweet comedy and fantasy to credible life.

Furthermore, the script is not only very clever, but the film is technically brilliant in the way it has the film within a film characters on the screen interacting with the movie audience.

Summing up: Stylish mixture of comedy and fantasy, fully deserving the many nominations and awards it won that year.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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