IMDb > Big Business (1988)
Big Business
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Big Business (1988) More at IMDbPro »

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6.3/10   7,852 votes »
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Writers (WGA):
Dori Pierson (written by) &
Marc Reid Rubel (written by)
View company contact information for Big Business on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 June 1988 (USA) See more »
Mixed up at birth, two sets of twins finally meet their match.
In the 1940s in the small town of Jupiter Hollow, two sets of identical twins are born in the same hospital on the same night... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Strangely overlooked cerebral farce. See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Bette Midler ... Sadie Shelton / Sadie Ratliff

Lily Tomlin ... Rose Shelton / Rose Ratliff

Fred Ward ... Roone Dimmick

Edward Herrmann ... Graham Sherbourne

Michele Placido ... Fabio Alberici

Daniel Gerroll ... Chuck
Barry Primus ... Michael

Michael Gross ... Dr. Jay Marshall

Deborah Rush ... Binky Shelton

Nicolas Coster ... Hunt Shelton

Patricia Gaul ... Iona Ratliff
J.C. Quinn ... Garth Ratliff
Norma MacMillan ... Nanny Lewis

Joe Grifasi ... Desk Clerk
John Vickery ... Hotel Manager
John Hancock ... Older Harlan

Mary Gross ... Judy

Seth Green ... Jason

Leo Burmester ... Bum
Lucy Webb ... Wenona
Roy Brocksmith ... Dr. Parker

Lewis Arquette ... Mr. Stokes
Eddie Cordell ... Young Harlan
Ritch Brinkley ... Mayor Bill Finker
Tony Mockus Jr. ... Board Member #1

Carmen Argenziano ... Board Member #2
Maureen McVerry ... Hilda
Fred Parnes ... Bellboy

Danny Chambers ... Male Staffer #2 (as Dan Chambers)
Lois De Banzie ... Edwardian Room Hostess
Al Mancini ... Waiter
Nicholas Rutherford ... Lil Levon
Hunter von Leer ... Petey
Andy Epper ... Zeke
Andi Chapman ... Sadie's Secretary
Chick Hearn ... Sports Announcer
Troy Damien ... Hank Ratliff

Ryan Francis ... Merle Ratliff
Louis Rukeyser ... Taxi Victim
Kymberly Gold ... Triplet #1 (as Kymberly Goldman)
Michelle Gold ... Triplet #2 (as Michelle Goldman)
Traci Lee Gold ... Triplet #3 (as Traci Goldman)
Crystal Field ... Bag Lady
Everett Quinton ... Window Dresser
Sandy Davis ... Saleslady in Dress Shop
Natalie Dolishny ... Moramax Employee #1
Nancy Lazarus ... Moramax Employee #2

Shirley Mitchell ... Stockholder
Charles Middleton ... Stockholder #2 (as Charles J. Middleton)
Irving Hellman ... Stockholder #3
Judy Armstrong ... Y.M.C.A. Desk Clerk
Tom La Grua ... Cab Driver
Matthew James Carlson ... Eufus
Brianne Sommers ... Woman with Whippet
Alice Gruenberg ... Attractive Woman with Yorkies
Jane Butenoff ... Professional Hooker in Time Square
Louise Yaffe ... Director's Mother in Lobby
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nancy Cohen ... Steel Drum Dancer (uncredited)
Kathryn Janssen ... Sales Clerk In Boutique (uncredited)

Lynne Lerner ... Blood Clot Lady (uncredited)
Christine MacDonald ... Dancing Woman (uncredited)

Directed by
Jim Abrahams 
Writing credits
Dori Pierson (written by) &
Marc Reid Rubel (written by) (as Marc Rubel)

Produced by
Bonnie Bruckheimer .... associate producer (as Bonnie Bruckheimer-Martell)
Michael Peyser .... producer
Steve Tisch .... producer
Original Music by
Lee Holdridge 
Cinematography by
Dean Cundey (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Harry Keramidas 
Production Design by
William Sandell 
Set Decoration by
Richard C. Goddard 
Costume Design by
Michael Kaplan 
Makeup Department
Laura De'Atley .... body makeup
Susan Germaine .... hair stylist
Barbara Lorenz .... hair stylist
Michael Lorenz .... makeup artist
Eugenia Weston .... makeup artist
Production Management
William S. Beasley .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tony Adler .... second assistant director: New York
Richard Coad .... second assistant director
Bruce Humphrey .... first assistant director (as Bruce A. Humphrey)
Eric Jewett .... second assistant director
Debra Kent .... DGA trainee: New York
Michael Peyser .... second unit director
Dannielle J. Weiss .... second second assistant director
Stephen Wertimer .... second assistant director: New York (as Steve Wertimer)
Art Department
Barbara Adamski .... property master
William Barclay .... art director: New York
Richard Baum .... assistant property master
Leslie Bloom .... set decorator: New York
William Boyd .... mill foreman
Bruce Di Valerio .... construction foreman
Cal DiValerio .... construction coordinator
Martha Johnston .... set designer
John McDonnell .... property master: New York
Gayle Simon .... assistant art director
James E. Tocci .... set designer
Tom von Badinski .... welder
Tony Potter .... set carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Raul A. Bruce .... boom operator
Thomas Causey .... sound mixer
John S. Coffey .... utility sound
Greg Curda .... foley mixer
David Gertz .... dubbing recordist
Pieter Hubbard .... sound editor
David J. Hudson .... sound re-recording mixer
Bruce Lacey .... sound editor
Dennis Maitland .... sound mixer: New York
Kim Maitland .... boom operator: New York
Mel Metcalfe .... sound re-recording mixer
Sarah Monat .... foley sound effects
Bill Phillips .... supervising sound editor
John Phillips .... sound editor
Terry Porter .... sound re-recording mixer
Hal Sanders .... sound editor
Edward M. Steidele .... foley sound effects
Visual Effects by
Ken Allen .... special visual effects
Michael Backauskas .... visual effects optical line-up
Philip Barberio .... special visual effects
Eric Brevig .... visual effects supervisor
C. Marie Davis .... visual effects editor
Michael Ferriter .... special visual effects
Rick Johnson .... special visual effects
Patric Kenly .... special visual effects
Ronald Longo .... special visual effects
Jeff Matakovich .... special visual effects
David McCue .... special visual effects
Terry Moews .... special visual effects
Marlo Pabon .... special visual effects
Michelle Porter .... special visual effects
Jody Rogers .... special visual effects
Robert Scifo .... special visual effects
Keith Shartle .... special visual effects
Leon Stankevich .... special visual effects
Michael Talarico .... motion control cameraman
James Valentine .... special visual effects
Danny Aiello III .... stunt double: Louis Rukeyser
Danny Aiello III .... stunts
Bill Erickson .... stunt coordinator: Los Angeles (as William Erickson)
Frank Ferrara .... stunt coordinator: New York
Rosine 'Ace' Hatem .... stunt double
Paul E. Short .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Clyde E. Bryan .... first assistant camera
Ron Cardarelli .... key grip
Larry D. Davis .... second assistant camera
James A. Dolan .... gaffer
James P. Dolan .... gaffer: New York (as James Dolan)
John Donohue .... key grip: New York
Gary B. Kibbe .... additional photographer: second unit
Sid Lucero .... best boy: grip
Dick Mingalone .... camera operator: New York
Laurel Moore .... still photographer
Frederick Louis Perdue .... key grip: second unit
Tom Priestley Jr. .... director of photography: New York second unit
Andrew D. Schwartz .... still photographer: New York
Raymond Stella .... camera operator
Michael Stone .... camera operator: New York
Monte Swann .... video playback operator
Dave Wachtman .... dolly grip
Mark Walthour .... chief lighting technician
Rick Wilhoit .... best boy electric
Anthony Wong .... best boy electric
Casting Department
Howard Feuer .... casting
Todd Thaler .... extras casting: New York (as Todd M. Thaler)
Franklyn Warren .... extras casting
Kristine Weaver .... casting assistant
Judith Bouley .... casting: doubles (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Linda Matthews .... costume supervisor
Diana Wilson .... costumer
Pamela Wise .... costumer
Mark Burchard .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Debbie Goldsmith .... apprentice editor
Alexandra Leviloff .... first assistant editor
Janet Fiona Mason .... second assistant editor
Bruce Pearson .... color timer
Lewis Schoenbrun .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
George Brand .... music editor
Gene N. Fowler .... assistant music editor
Michael Fowler .... assistant music editor
Ira Hearshen .... orchestrator
Brian L. McCarty .... music playback operator
Rick Riccio .... music recording engineer
Marc Shaiman .... music arranger: vocal arrangements
Transportation Department
Randy Burke .... transportation captain: second unit
Bill Curry Jr. .... transportation captain: New York (as William J. Curry Jr.)
Dan Marrow .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Lauren B. Caplan .... production associate
Christopher Ciaffa .... production associate
Robin Citrin .... location manager
Gregg L. Daniel .... production associate
Melanie Doctors .... photo double: Bette Midler
Jane Nerlinger Evans .... production coordinator: New York
Mauri Syd Gayton .... production coordinator
Alan Hoffman .... technical advisor
Nancy Hopton .... script supervisor
Lisa Lynn Kearsley .... production coordinator
Charlie McNamara .... production assistant
Maureen McVerry .... photo double: Lily Tomlin
Stan Mendoza .... location manager: New York
Janice Polley .... location manager
Brian Pulido .... production assistant
Ronald M. Quigley .... location manager
Bryan Renfro .... dog trainer
Tonya Richardson .... production intern
Steve Rose .... location manager: New York
Reid Rosefelt .... unit publicist
Richard Spector .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
97 min
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

To prepare for her performance as Rose Ratliff, actress-comedian Lily Tomlin just before the cameras rolled before a take would whiz around in a circle several times until she got dizzy so as to exhibit the air-headed qualities of this character.See more »
Continuity: When Jason "Sly" is leaving the envelope of money it clearly says Sadie Shelton on it. When Sadie Ratliff is in the room showing Rose the money the envelope only says Sadie.See more »
Judy:[assuming she is speaking to Rose Shelton] Hi, Rose, how's Duke doing?
Rose Ratliff:Duke! My dog? Boy, when you go snoopin' into people's lives you don't miss a trick do you?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Spoofs Duck Soup (1933)See more »


List: The mirror gag
See more »
17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Strangely overlooked cerebral farce., 22 August 2002
Author: Adrian Cribb from London, England

That this 1988 movie contains 2 sympathetic, non-stereotypical gay characters says a lot about the movie makers. There seems to have been some real care taken over what could've ended up a cheaply made throwaway farce.

Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler are simply superb in their roles as separated twins and in my view out-do Jeremy Irons in that year's other twin movie `Dead Ringers' - and he was fantastic.

This film has been criticised for not delivering laughs where you would predict them based on the film's premise. But is that a fault? Big Business builds comedic tension early on and sustains it throughout by clever use of supporting characters and the subtle way that from their scenes with them we learn about the 4 leads.

The eternal dilemma of nature v nurture is portrayed in a fairly non-preachy way coupled with a similar approach to town v country. To do this in a farce containing 4 romances plus all the rest is a tall order for any moviemaker but this rich premise is cleverly negotiated by Jim Abrahams & the writers with only a handful of misfires.

Now I'm not one for romances but the studly Fred Ward, who was unbelievably 46 years old at the time, as the whiter than white Roone Dimmick, manages an amazing feat - his meeting and courting of Lily Tomlin in the space of a few minutes is carried off quite plausibly by this accomplished and underrated actor and is a joy to behold.

10 out of 10 and a real shame that there is no more from these 2 writers.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (38 total) »

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