IMDb > Heartburn (1986)
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Heartburn (1986) More at IMDbPro »

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Heartburn -- Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson are wonderful together in this lighthearted look at modern romance headed for failure, based on Nora Ephron's best-selling novel. She's a magazine writer who gives up her career for love and family. He's a playboy newspaper columnist who can't quite give up his old tricks. And if that combination doesn't give a relationship Heartburn, nothing will!


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Popularity: ?
Up 41% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Nora Ephron (novel)
Nora Ephron (screenplay)
View company contact information for Heartburn on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 July 1986 (USA) See more »
Two Oscar Winning Stars Combine With An Oscar Winning Director [UK Theatrical] See more »
An autobiographical look at the breakup of Ephron's marriage to Carl "All the President's Men" Bernstein that was also a best-selling novel... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
great actors in mediocre relationship See more (43 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Meryl Streep ... Rachel Samstat

Jack Nicholson ... Mark Forman

Jeff Daniels ... Richard

Maureen Stapleton ... Vera

Stockard Channing ... Julie Siegel

Richard Masur ... Arthur Siegel

Catherine O'Hara ... Betty

Steven Hill ... Harry Samstat

Milos Forman ... Dmitri

Mamie Gummer ... Annie Forman (as Natalie Stern)
Karen Akers ... Thelma Rice
Aida Linares ... Juanita

Anna Maria Horsford ... Della, Harry's Maid

Ron McLarty ... Det. Andrew O'Brien

Kenneth Welsh ... Dr. Appel

Kevin Spacey ... Subway Thief

Mercedes Ruehl ... Eve

Joanna Gleason ... Diana
R.S. Thomas ... Therapy Group Member
Jack Gilpin ... Ellis

Christian Clemenson ... Sidney

John Wood ... British Moderator
Sidney Armus ... Leo

Yakov Smirnoff ... Contractor Laszlo

Caroline Aaron ... Judith
Lela Ivey ... Mary Beth, Hairdresser
Tracey Jackson ... Hairdresser's Friend
Libby Titus ... Rachel's Sister

Angela Pietropinto ... Hospital Receptionist
Cynthia O'Neal ... Magazine Colleague
Susan Forristal ... Magazine Colleague

Dana Ivey ... Wedding Speaker

John Rothman ... Jonathan Rice
Elijah Lindsay ... Anesthetist
Jack Neam ... Butcher
Kim Parks ... Arthur & Julie's Daughter (as Kimi Parks)
Salem Ludwig ... Judge
Patricia Falkenhain ... Dinner Party Hostess
Margaret Thomson ... Irritated Wedding Guest
Charles Denny ... Dinner Party Guest (as Charles Denney)
Gregg Almquist ... Dinner Party Guest
Garrison Lane ... Dinner Party Guest
Ryan Hilliard ... Dinner Party Guest
Dana Streep ... Dinner Party Guest
Mary Streep ... Dinner Party Guest
Cyrilla Dorn ... Dinner Party Guest
May Pang ... Dinner Party Guest
Michael Regan ... Father of the Bride
Ari M. Roussimoff ... Workman
Luther Rucker ... Workman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gary Jones ... Waiter in Opening Sequence (uncredited)

Natasha Lyonne ... Rachel's Niece (uncredited)

Jorge Pupo ... Subway rider (uncredited)
Grant Harper Reid ... Man in Maternity Scene (uncredited)
Carlotta Schock ... Dinner Guest (uncredited)

Tony Shalhoub ... Airplane passenger (uncredited)

Directed by
Mike Nichols 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Nora Ephron  novel
Nora Ephron  screenplay

Produced by
Robert Greenhut .... producer
Mike Nichols .... producer
Joel Tuber .... associate producer
Original Music by
Carly Simon 
Cinematography by
Néstor Almendros 
Film Editing by
Sam O'Steen 
Casting by
Juliet Taylor 
Production Design by
Tony Walton 
Art Direction by
John Kasarda 
Set Decoration by
Susan Bode 
Trisha McCormick (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Ann Roth 
Makeup Department
Romaine Greene .... hair stylist
Lee Halls .... makeup artist
J. Roy Helland .... hair stylist: Miss Streep
J. Roy Helland .... makeup artist: Miss Streep
Doug Drexler .... makeup lab (uncredited)
Production Management
Ezra Swerdlow .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sally Andrews .... dga trainee
Timothy M. Bourne .... second second assistant director
David Dreyfuss .... second assistant director
Joel Tuber .... first assistant director
Art Department
James Mazzola .... property master
Arne Olsen .... chief construction grip
Ron Petagna .... construction coordinator
Richard A. Ventre .... master scenic artist (as Richard Ventre)
Dave Weinman .... chief set dresser
Frank Didio .... head carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Stan Bochner .... supervising sound editor
Michael J. Cerone .... sound re-recording mixer
Frank Graziadei .... sound recordist
Mark Livolsi .... assistant sound editor
Tony Martinez .... assistant sound editor (as Tony Martínez)
Geraldine Peroni .... assistant sound editor
James Sabat .... production sound mixer
Louis Sabat .... boom operator
Paul Trejo .... sound editor
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recording mixer (as Richard Vorisek)
Marko A. Costanzo .... foley artist (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jerry DeBlau .... best boy
John W. DeBlau .... gaffer (as John DeBlau)
Brian Hamill .... still photographer
Chaim Kantor .... second assistant camera
Dan Lerner .... camera operator
Bruce MacCallum .... assistant camera
Dan Neroda .... video technician (as Danny Neroda)
Tom Prate .... key grip
Lance Shepherd .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Ellen Lewis .... casting associate
Todd Thaler .... additional casting (as Todd Michael Thaler)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Alba Censoplano .... wardrobe supervisor: women
Michael Dennison .... wardrobe supervisor: men
Gary Jones .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Richard Nord .... assistant editor
Music Department
Kris Cole .... assistant music editor
Russ Kunkel .... music producer
Russ Kunkel .... music recordist
George Massenburg .... music producer
George Massenburg .... music recordist
Patrick Mullins .... music editor
Bill Payne .... music producer
Bill Payne .... music recordist
Transportation Department
Harold 'Whitey' McEvoy .... transportation captain
Other crew
Richard Baratta .... production assistant
Jerry Caron .... assistant: Mr. Nichols
Kay Chapin .... script supervisor
Richard Guay .... assistant production auditor
Joseph Hartwick .... production auditor
Barbara Heller .... production assistant
Amy Herman .... production secretary
Susan MacNair .... assistant: Mr. Nichols
Helen Robin .... production office coordinator
Reid Rosefelt .... unit publicist
Gilbert S. Williams .... production assistant
Shari Cartun .... assistant production auditor (uncredited)
Grant Harper Reid .... production assistant (uncredited)
Scott Schaffer .... craft service (uncredited)
Anthony Zorn .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
108 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Third of four cinema movie collaborations of actor Jack Nicholson and director Mike Nichols. The films are Wolf (1994), Heartburn (1986), The Fortune (1975) and Carnal Knowledge (1971).See more »
Continuity: When Rachel begins a tape recording of her life with the baby, she identifies herself as "Rachel Samstat". There is no reason for her to use her maiden name, and in the rest of the movie she uses her married name.See more »
Mark Forman:My wife's name was Kimberley. One of the first Kimberleys.
Rachel Samstat:My husband had hamsters.
Mark Forman:Me too.
Rachel Samstat:Not as a grownup you didn't. He had hamsters named Arnold and Shirley. And he was always whipping up little salads for them in the Slice-O-Matic and buying them extremely small sweaters at a pet boutique in Rego Park. Also, there was a certain amount of talking in squeaky voices.
Mark Forman:Both of you?
Rachel Samstat:Well, he was Arnold... and I was Shirley.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Mephisto (1981)See more »
Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?See more »


Chapter Headings, an official version:
See more »
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
great actors in mediocre relationship, 20 March 2015
Author: SnoopyStyle

It's a semi-autobiographical story from Nora Ephron about her relationship to famous Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. Food writer Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) is at a wedding with her editor friend Richard. She's immediately taken with famous reporter Mark Forman (Jack Nicolson). Despite reservations, she tries marriage again. They buy a rundown Georgetown home. She becomes a housewife and a mother. Richard pushes her to continue writing. Mark starts cheating on her and their marriage falls apart.

Nora Ephron is probably too close to the material. She's not able to find the comedy or the tragedy in this. The marriage is so quick that they don't build any chemistry. I don't find their relationship compelling. It's basically doom to fail. Quite frankly, the movie is better off starting well into their marriage. I buy them more as a failing married couple. This movie does have plenty of talent and that saves it overall. Director Mike Nichols is better off trying to slash and burn the first part but he's probably too nice of a guy. There is some light humor but it only gets a few chuckles. This has some interesting moments but not so compelling story of a fatally flawed relationship.

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