98 user 34 critic

The Accidental Tourist (1988)

0:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.



(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Big Chill (1983)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina winter house after the funeral of one of their friends.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum
Grand Canyon (1991)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Grand Canyon revolved around six residents from different backgrounds whose lives intertwine in modern-day Los Angeles. At the center of the film is the unlikely friendship of two men from ... See full summary »

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin
Body Heat (1981)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, ... See full summary »

Director: Randa Haines
Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A gay and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco
Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A professional hit man and hit woman fall in love.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter
Mumford (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In the small town of Mumford, a psychologist of the same name moves in and quickly becomes very popular, despite a questionable past.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Jason Lee
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Joey owns a pizza parlor, and is married to Rosalee, and is a major womanizer. Rosalee goes to extremes when she finds he has been cheating.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, William Hurt
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.

Director: Danny DeVito
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Silverado (1985)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A misfit bunch of friends come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner
Working Girl (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a secretary's idea is stolen by her boss, she seizes an opportunity to steal it back by pretending she has her boss' job.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexander Pritchett (as Robert Gorman)
Mr. Loomis
Seth Granger ...
Ethan Leary
Amanda Houck ...
Caroline Houck ...
London Nelson ...
Gregory Gouyer ...
Paris Boy
Morgue Detective #1 (as W.H. Brown)


After the death of his son, Macon Leary, a travel writer, seems to be sleep walking through life. Macon's wife, seems to be having trouble too, and thinks it would be best if the two would just split up. After the break up, Macon meets a strange outgoing woman, who seems to bring him back down to earth. After starting a relationship with the outgoing woman, Macon's wife seems to think that their marriage is still worth a try. Macon is then forced to deal many decisions Written by Justin Sharp <rainman88@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Turista Acidental  »

Box Office


$32,632,093 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A subtle implication is that Macon feels like he "needs" Muriel more than he desires his ex because Muriel has had an operation and thus cannot have any more children, and so he will be able to "do it" with her all he wants without fear of her getting pregnant again. See more »


The shaving cream on Macon's face changes as he talks with Sarah. See more »


Julian: While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put.
See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »


Written by Frankie Adams and 'Wilbur Jones'
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An Underrated Gem
2 July 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

This is a faithful adaption of a brilliant novel. I have seen this movie a dozen times and it gets better with each viewing. It is subtle, yes, and that probably means it is not for everyone. Subtle, however, is not synonymous with boring, as unfortunately many people accustomed to a non-stop barrage of sense-dulling special effects and violence have come to believe. This film is as far from boring as it gets.

What I walked away from this story with is a reaffirmation of a force bigger than ourselves that takes our lives in a new direction -- one that we often consciously choose to reject. Macon Leary, as superbly played by William Hurt, has been sleepwalking through life for years. His profession says it all: he writes books for business travelers who have to visit exotic places but want to feel as if they never left home. Thus, the title, "The Accidental Tourist".

He is separated from his beloved wife, Sarah, played very well by Kathleen Turner. She could no longer live in with the waking death their life had become since the senseless murder of their young son years before. But he still wants nothing more than for her to return and resume that life. Even after a quirky dog-trainer played by Geena Davis (in her well-deserved Oscar-winning performance) enters his life and his heart he believes his future can only be with Sarah.

I don't want to give away the entire story, but I will say that the entire supporting cast, Macon's family (Ed Begley, Jr., Amy Wright, David Ogden Stiers) his editor (Bill Pullman), and a scene-stealing Welsh Corgi contribute richly and completely to the overall power of this story.

Some of the best dialogue I've ever heard on relationships, why they work, and why what we want so dearly to work just doesn't work anymore, is in this film. "Don't be lulled by a false sense of security". This powerful line, is what this film is all about, and it is placed perfectly, as all the memorable lines are. Give it a chance and an open mind because this film is the real deal. In my estimation, "The Accidental Tourist" is American cinema at it's best.

79 of 87 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Absolutely NOT 'irresistibly funny' rnovaes
Geena Davis wrong as Muriel SnoopyStyle
no Best Actor nom for Mr. Hurt? Phoenix1982
William Hurt's a rare portrayal of Schizold Personality Disorder (SPD) mr-chris-newman
the best movie ever dandobe
question about dog Spitfire_Society
Discuss The Accidental Tourist (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: