7.1/10
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42 user 12 critic

Sweet Dreams (1985)

Jessica Lange stunningly portrays Patsy Cline, the velvet-voiced country music singer who died in a tragic plane crash at the height of her fame.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Hilda Hensley
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Randy Hughes
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Gerald Cline
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Woodhouse
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Otis
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Wanda
Terri Gardner ...
Old Singer
Caitlin Kelch ...
Sylvia
Robert L. Dasch ...
John
Courtney Parker ...
Older Julie
Coulton Edwards ...
Baby Randy
Holly Filler ...
Madrine
...
Arthur Godfrey
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Storyline

Patsy Cline was the first female solo artist to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Thirty-two years after her untimely death in a plane crash in Tennessee, her "Greatest Hits" album sold over six million copies. Loved by her fans today as much - if not more - than she was at the height of her fame, the life, the loves and most of all the voice of Patsy Cline is legendary. This film tells the story of the passionate, fun-loving, soft-spoken, loud-living life of one of country music's - and one of popular music's - greatest singing stars. This film covers the years 1956 through 1963, from her rise to fame and the top of the charts through TB talent shows and country bars - through her turbulent marriage to Charlie Dick and the demands of touring which would lead to the fatal plane crash. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dulces sueños  »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is only one of three roles for which Meryl Streep was turned down. See more »

Goofs

The object that Patsy cuts in the kitchen changes from a cake to a pie. See more »

Quotes

Hilda Hensley: Well, good morning.
Patsy Cline: Says who?
Hilda Hensley: Oh, for heavens sake girl, sit up and take nourishment. Charlie'll have his first leave in three weeks and you walk around with your lower lip draggin' the floor in front of you. You big bawl baby. I oughta fix you a sugar tit.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.76 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

That'll Be the Day
Written by Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly and Norman Petty
Published by MPL Communications Inc./Wren Music Co. Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Standard retelling of country/pop legend Patsy Cline, uplifted by wondrous Jessica Lange.
10 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Biopics are always a difficult nut to crack. It's never easy to condense the bigger-than-life story of a legendary celebrity into a two-hour movie and still provide the viewer a complete feeling of satisfaction. What it needs to do is not only highlight the well-known peaks and valleys of their career and personal life, but then, and most importantly, write choice, definitive scenes that will flesh out and humanize the character.

Chronicling the life of a famous country singer is especially tricky. So many things can go wrong. Severe miscasting, a hokey, superficial story line, an overly glossy, sanitary, and/or inaccurate treatment of the source. Many of these gals have had their hard-knock life stories laid out. Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Dottie West, Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell. The best of the film pickings is assuredly 1980's "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn's backwoods tale. And, fair or not, everything similarly produced since has been up for comparison. Thus, "Sweet Dreams," the retelling of country and pop superstar Patsy Cline (1932-1963), had a lot going against it by the time of its release, which was only five years after "Coal Miner's Daughter." Not only identical in heartache and rags-to-riches narrative, Patsy and Loretta Lynn were actually sisters at heart. They KNEW each other. And so, well, I'm surprised this biography came off as well as it did.

"Sweet Dreams" would be relatively fine on its own but it suffers in comparison to you-know-what. Shorter in scope, detail and focus, it is the star performances that rise above the conventional material here and earns what respect it gets. Patsy the Star is short-shrifted here, electing to concentrate more on Patsy the Woman and her stormy off-stage love life. Not necessarily a wrong decision, it's just that the execution lacks that creative spark. Despite the use of Cline's original soundtrack (superbly lip-synched here by Lange) to a number of her greatest hits ("Crazy," "Walkin' After Midnight" and the title tune), the movie rests on the fact that you already KNOW Patsy Cline became a BIG, BIG star. It doesn't capture the magic and electricity of Patsy that made her the star she was.

Jessica Lange is absolutely luminous as Patsy. She does her proud. Neglecting Kline's entire childhood, the film begins with her in the mid-50s, weighed down by a stalled career and a benign, boring husband. Lange captures the essence and spirit of the feisty, indomitable Cline. Like a restless stallion, she breaks free and shakes up her life, tangling with a reckless, kick-ass cowboy who she hopes will put the twang back in her life. With Charlie Dick (played with macho flair by Ed Harris), Patsy gets much more than she bargained for. With a last name like "Dick," you know this is going to be a fightin' man with a short-trigger. The virile, blue-eyed Harris is the perfect tough-and-tumble co-star. He's so damn good when he's bad, and sexy to boot. He does more than justice to the real Charlie, who had little of Harris' charisma. The two stars show real chemistry here and it ends up being the film's strongest suit.

In support, Ann Wedgeworth as Patsy's careworn mom (remember her from "Three's Company?") finally drops the tawdry, superficial "Mrs. Robinson" stereotype she's done way too much of, and offers us a deeply-felt portrayal of a quiet, strongly spiritual down-home woman who stands behind her girl through thick or thin. Basically a stage actress, this is Wedgeworth's finest film role to date. Meanwhile, John Goodman gives us another broad, healthy dose of comedy relief as Harris' brawling bar buddy, while P.J. Soles offers her cushiony 'other slutty girlfriend' routine.

But, alas, "Sweet Dreams" has been done before...and better Potential female country singing star marries lusty, hard-drinking ne'er-do-well. The wife becomes a big success. The dirty dog slides into his lyin', cheatin' ways. They fight. They make up. And over again. It offers no new or unique approach to the standard female slogan, "Can't live with him, can't live without him."


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Did Patsy Cline have a drinking problem? reel_emotion
Good movie, but not very factual... SilverCreedWolf
Excellent movie ashleyroo-1
DVD? brianphotoalex
Other vocals jon5000_66
The lip-syncing was truly horrible StevieD
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