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The Accidental Tourist (1988)

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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 »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexander (as Robert Gorman)
Seth Granger ...
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:

Die Reisen des Mr. Leary  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$97,578, 26 December 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The name of the book seen in the film is "The Accidental Tourist in the South Eastern United States". See more »


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


Sarah Leary: So, how was Atlanta?
Macon: About the same: Peachtree Road, Peachtree Center, Peachtree fire hydrant.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Pleasing concoction of light drama and lively romance with terrific leading performances.
11 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

Usually films about recovery after tragedy are very heavy-handed and sometimes slightly manipulative (Ordinary People etc.). But `The Accidental Tourist' manages to simultaneously be humane to this subject manner and take a more entertaining light approach to it. The script moves along at a slow pace, but it is consistent in its timing.

A drama without good acting is nothing, and that'' where `The Accidental Tourist' really capitalises. William Hurt was a great choice as the depressed downbeat man, recently divorced and still feeling the repercussions of his son's death. Kathleen Turner appears at the start of the movie only to hastily disappear and then make a mark halfway through. Even though she could have done with bit more screen-time, she is also brilliant as the equally depressed ex-wife.

But Geena Davis really takes advantage of each moment and lights up every scene she's in. She's perfectly cast as the kitschy, free-spirited dog trainer and was well deserving of her `Best Supporting Actress' Oscar win. There's some genuine support from the supporting players including Bill Pullman, Amy Wright and David Ogden Stiers. But they don't receive much limelight, nor do they demand it.

At the halfway mark the movie turns into more of a muchly familiar dilemma, of choosing between two women. Either moving on with your life or hanging onto memories while you still can. This has been used many times before but it is handled very well here.

With terrific performances, a compelling script and a good narrative, `The Accidental Tourist' hits a bullseye in all categories. It engages the audience in it gentle yet charming manner. 7.5/10.

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