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Ghost (1990) Poster

(1990)

Trivia

Bruce Willis was offered the role as Sam but turned it down because he didn't think the movie would work with the main character being dead most of the movie. When Ghost went on to become a huge success he referred to himself as a "knucklehead" for saying no. Nine years later he said yes to playing another main character who is dead most of the movie - but doesn't know it - in The Sixth Sense (1999), which also went on to become a huge success.
This trivia item contains spoilers. Click to view
Jump to: Cameo (2) | Spoilers (7)
Patrick Swayze said that the pottery scene was the sexiest thing he had ever done on film.
The role of Oda Mae Brown was not written with Whoopi Goldberg in mind, but Patrick Swayze, an admirer of hers, convinced the producers that she would be right for the part.
Patrick Swayze alleged that Sam Wheat was the hardest role he ever played in his career, mainly because he had to be an observer to the action and not a participant.
The role of Molly Jensen was given to Demi Moore largely in part because Moore could cry out of either eye on cue.
Molly tells Sam that he "leads a charmed life." This is a line from William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Macbeth also claims to lead a charmed life, meaning he cannot be killed. Immediately after making this claim, however, he is killed. Sam is killed after seeing a production of Macbeth.
The horrific sounds made by the "dark shadows" are really the sounds of baby's cries, played at extremely slow speed backwards.
Bruce Joel Rubin wanted Patrick Swayze to play Sam Wheat after he saw an interview Swayze gave. When he brought up his father, Swayze burst into tears. Rubin thought if a macho guy like Patrick Swayze could cry over a loved one, he'd be perfect for Ghost (1990).
Bruce Joel Rubin did not like the idea of the Dark Spirits having faces and hands. He thought they should have looked more like shadows come to life, not ghouls with human features.
It took months for Jerry Zucker and Bruce Joel Rubin to come up with Sam's last line in the film.
Patrick Swayze and Vincent Schiavelli, who played the subway ghost in the scenes with Swayze's character, both died of cancer at the age of 57.
For years, Patrick Swayze had women coming up to and asking him to recite the line "Ditto" from the movie.
In the farewell scene where Sam tells Molly that he always loved her, Patrick Swayze's emotion was in fact real, for he thought about his own father who passed away in 1982.
When it came time to cast the film, writer Bruce Joel Rubin suggested Patrick Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat. Director Jerry Zucker felt that Swayze was completely wrong for the part. Many actors that included Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, David Duchovny, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Paul Hogan (who instead made Almost an Angel (1990)), Kevin Kline, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, John Travolta, and Bruce Willis (Demi Moore's husband at the time, who didn't think the film would work) were all offered the part but all turned it down, feeling that playing a ghost would be cheesy. Zucker then decided to audition Swayze, though he thought he would blow the audition. To Zucker's surprise, Swayze gave a great audition and was cast immediately for the part.
When passing through solid objects, ghosts appear to absorb some of the material they are going through. Jerry Zucker had some difficulty explaining what he wanted this effect to look like. Finally, he illustrated it by dipping a napkin into coffee.
Jerry Zucker's favorite film of his own.
Demi Moore came up with rolling the jar down the stairs, as opposed to throwing it as scripted.
Demi Moore and Vincent Schiavelli shared the same birthday, November 11th. Schiavelli and Patrick Swayze both died at the age of 57; Schiavelli from lung cancer and Swayze from pancreatic cancer.
The interior of Molly and Sam's finished loft apartment was actually the home/studio of artist-sculptor Michele Oka Doner, located in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan.
Starting in the early 1990s (shortly after the release of Ghost), hip-hop lyrics often included Patrick Swayze's name or the phrase "I'm Swayze" as a reference to or replacement for the earlier slang, "I'm ghost", meaning "I'm leaving/out of here/gone, etc." The Notorious B.I.G. was one artist who was especially fond of including this phrase in his songs. Swayze's appearance in the video for Ja Rule's "Murder Reigns" was also a reference to the movie's and his own interesting place in hip-hop culture.
When the movie was first released on VHS in 1991, the tapes were light or "ghost" gray.
When they were filming the chase scene at night in New York, it was really cold and everyone else was bundled up except for Patrick Swayze's character Sam Wheat and since he's a ghost they didn't want his breath showing so they made him chew ice. So here's Patrick wearing a flimsy shirt and chewing ice while everyone else is wearing warm clothes.
Of all the characters Bruce Joel Rubin has written, Oda Mae Brown remains his favorite.
The scene with Molly at the police station was the first scene to be filmed.
The song Sam sings relentlessly to Oda Mae to get her to agree to help him is "Henry the Eighth, I Am". The lyrics, in part, are "She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam..." Patrick Swayze's character is named Sam, and the man who murdered him is named Willie.
Shortly before production began, Whoopi Goldberg was unsure if she was going to be able to put this movie into her work schedule. The part was then verbally offered to Jackée Harry, who accepted. However, at the last minute, Goldberg was able to do the film after all and Harry was dropped.
Paul Hogan was offered but passed on the role of Sam Wheat because he felt it wasn't funny. However, Paul Hogan offered Patrick Swayze the role of Steve Garner in his supernatural comedy Almost an Angel (1990), but Swayze turned it down to do this film. Elias Koteas got the part instead.
Vincent Schiavelli's ghost character breaks open a cigarette machine and longs to be able to have another smoke. In real life, Schiavelli would later die of lung cancer.
Kim Basinger, Geena Davis, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andie MacDowell, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Mary Steenburgen, Kathleen Turner and Debra Winger, were all considered for the role of Molly Jensen. Had Leigh gotten the role, this would have made the first live action movie since Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) that Vincent Schiavelli been in the same live action movie even though they wouldn't have had any roles together. Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) was animated so they only did voice overs.
The film's general storyline is expanded from an old urban legend dealing with a spirit of a recently deceased trying to warn their loved one of an imminent danger.
At theatrical showings in Monterrey, Mexico, women in the audience were given envelopes marked "Solo para mujeres" (for women only) containing tissues.
Initially, Bruce Joel Rubin was unsure about Jerry Zucker directing his script, what with Zucker coming from a background of screwball comedy.
The subway scenes were filmed on the abandoned lower level of the 42nd St. station of the IND 8th Ave. line. Trains appearing in the film wrong-railed through the station; that is, they ran in the opposite direction of normal operation.
Rotten Tomatoes has the movie kept at an "R" rating, despite the MPAA officially approved the film to be rated "PG-13."
Patti LaBelle auditioned for the role of Oda Mae Brown.
The shirt that Molly is wearing in the police station is the same shirt Sam was wearing at work the day he was late meeting the Japanese clients. It even appears to be wrinkled, as if she hadn't washed it so she could feel closer to Sam.
The first film where Jerry Zucker received a sole directing credit.
Tony Goldwyn recalled to the A.V. Club in 2014 that his role as the conniving, murderous Carl prompted a waitress to refuse to serve him. He couldn't figure out why she was shooting him death stares until she finally asked him if he was an actor. "She said, "I'm so sorry! I knew I hated you, but I didn't know where from, and because I couldn't place who you were,' " Goldwyn said.
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Whoopi Goldberg's character is named Oda Mae Brown. Later in the film, she briefly uses the name Rita Miller. Taken together, the names are a friendly shout-out to writer Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle.
In her first role, Sondra Rubin playing a nun was ironic because she never went out in public without makeup.
Bruce Joel Rubin actually started crying when he wrote Molly's "Ditto."
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Eddie Murphy was considered for a role but his agent turned it down for him.
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The highest-grossing film of 1990.
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This is one of the few supernatural themed films to be nominated for Best Picture.
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The filmmakers spent a long time casting Carl because they wanted a big-name actor. But they kept returning to the unknown Tony Goldwyn's audition tape and finally cast him.
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When Demi Moore was cast, she had long hair and didn't tell the director she was going to cut it. Jerry Zucker was shocked and at first didn't like it, but he now thinks it was perfect for her character.
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Jerry Zucker and Bruce Joel Rubin thought that Tony Goldwyn was too nice to play the villain. Goldwyn had to convince them that Carl needed to be both nice and evil to be believable.
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Bruce Joel Rubin originally pitched Oda Mae as a real psychic. But producers thought it would be funnier if she were a charlatan who starts hearing Sam.
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Oda Mae goes nuts and wants Sam to stop singing. Patrick Swayze in real life was a one hit wonder; he had a top ten hit with "She's Like the Wind" from the Dirty Dancing (1987) soundtrack.
Oda Mae Brown tells Molly that Willie Lopez lives at 303 Prospect Place Apt 4D, but the actual apartment building used for the exterior shots is located at 592 Prospect Place in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.
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The film turned Demi Moore into the highest paid actress in Hollywood at the time. Prior to this film, while she was a well-known actress, she wasn't a bankable star.
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At a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of the film, Demi Moore told the audience her initial feelings on the film. "It's a love story, and it's a guy-a dead guy-trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it's a love story," Moore said. "And I thought, 'Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.' It's either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust." She went on to talk about what made the film special. "I think the beauty in this film is that none of us knew, and the alchemy that came together with Whoopi and Patrick, and our film editor, Walter Murch, and Adam Greenberg, our DP, it just had a magic."
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Patrick Swayze explained why he did the film, "I needed to do [Ghost] for my soul. I'd just come off Road House (1989) and _Next of Kin_, and I [didn't] want to be considered just an action actor."
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Demi Moore wanted the pottery scene to look authentic, so she and Jerry Zucker took pottery lessons.
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The pot wasn't supposed to fall apart, but Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore just kept going.
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Demi Moore was nervous about taking this role because Molly is mourning so soon into the movie. But she made sure to play Molly as a strong character.
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Bruce Joel Rubin had to fight to get the film made. He started pitching it to studios in 1984.
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Bruce Joel Rubin used to say "Ditto" to his high-school girlfriend instead of "I love you."
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Bruner was named after a grade-school teacher that Bruce Joel Rubin didn't like.
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Jerry Zucker didn't want to focus on Carl with his shirt off, so he filmed a lot of close-ups.
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The success of this film, along with the same year's Pretty Woman (1990), is credited with making romantic films more viable at the box office.
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In an interview with The L.A Times, Bruce Joel Rubin revealed that he was sceptical of Jerry Zucker his script, as he wanted either Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick. The pair went through 19 drafts of the screenplay together and Zucker gave the script more structure.
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Jerry Zucker came up with the iconic pottery scene while working on The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988). A year later, his brother David Zucker parodied it in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991).
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Patrick Swayze chewed on ice to make sure you couldn't see his breath. Ghosts, of course, don't breathe.
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Bruce Joel Rubin believes that two things date the film - the computer monitors and Arsenio Hall.
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In the apartment of Oda Mae Brown and her two sisters, you can see for a few seconds a poster of The Who on the outside of the bedroom door next to the bathroom as Sam's ghost is pushing and scaring Willy who ends up knocking the poster down and falls into the bathroom area.
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This is one of two Patrick Swayze films to have songs by Bill Medley, the other being Dirty Dancing (1987).
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Jerry Zucker set out to make a movie that "made you laugh, cry, [and] get scared. The movie is a roller-coaster ride."
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Bruce Joel Rubin got the idea for the film while watching a production of Hamlet. When Hamlet's dead father tells him to avenge his death, Rubin thought that would make a great movie.
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Tom Finnegan had previously worked with Patrick Swayze on Road House (1989).
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Tony Goldwyn was cast as Carl Bruner because his wife was the production designer.
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Whoopi Goldberg gave money to nuns and then played a nun in Sister Act (1992) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).
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Currently on the market is the spacious 4,341-square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, where Sam and Molly got clay all over themselves, and where they said their final goodbyes. The loft was originally listed for $10.5 million but was recently lowered to a more budget-friendly $10 million. It has three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator.
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Ken Olin was considered for the role of Carl Bruner but nis committment to Thirtysomething (1987) prevented him from accepting the part.
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Oprah Winfrey and Tina Turner were up for the part of Oda Mae.
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In 2013 it was reported that Paramount TV had tapped writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie. Since then, no info has been released as to whether the pilot actually came to fruition. Honestly, some things are best left in the grave.
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Cameo 

Sondra Rubin: Writer Bruce Joel Rubin's mother, who played the nun who faints over the size of the check that Oda Mae endorses.
Charlotte Zucker: Director Jerry Zucker's mother (who has appeared in many of the Zucker brothers' movies) plays the bank officer.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Luis Guzmán (who was considered for the role of Willie Lopez) revealed in a documentary focused on character actors that he's frequently stopped by fans of the movie who think he's the actor who played Sam's killer. People ask him why he killed Patrick Swayze to which he always replies that Rick Aviles - the actor in question - was the one who did it.
Troughout the movie appear a total of 20 ghosts:

-Sam Wheat.

-An old man who talks with Sam in the hospital.

-A young man who dies in an operating room, ascending by a white light tunnel.

-A woman in blue dress at cemetery.

-Ghost of a man in black in the subway.

-Eleven ghosts who appear in Spiritual Advisor (Oda Mae's store), plus two more who appear entering in the shop.

-Willie Lopez.

-Carl Bruner.
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In the movie appear several supernatural phenomenons:

-Ghosts close to living people (Sam stands at Molly's side, instead advance to Afterlife).

-Possession (Orlando's ghost enters in Odae Mae Brown's body).

-Mediumnity (Oda Mae realizes that she can hear ghosts; later too can see them).

-Poltergeist (ghost in black moves physical objects in the subway; eventually Sam learns it).

-Telekinesis (Sam forces his mind to move a coin, pushing against the door with a finger to up, and making it float to leave it in Molly's hand).
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Although the concept light white tunnel that move souls from Earth to Afterlife was "discovered" to the world population by Dr. Raymond Moody in 1975, the first person in show it was Hieronymus Bosch, a Renaissance's painter who in 1490 made a painting called "Ascent of the Blessed". In the painting can be seen through concentric circles a tunnel used by some souls to travel to Afterlife.
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Body count: 3, all of them men (Sam Wheat, Willie Lopez and Carl Bruner).
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Part of the events seen in the movie are taken indirectly from the book "Life After Life", written by Dr. Raymond Moody and published in 1975, a series of compilations about people who by a brief time were dead and later lived again, called NDE or Near-Death Experience. Between them, the concept of a light white tunnel, which appears when a person dies to take his soul to Afterlife (in the movie it appear three times: when Sam dies, when a man dies in an operating room and when Sam saves Oda Mae and Molly, completing his unfinished business). The second part is the idea of black spirits who capture the souls of bad people to take to other side of Afterlife, called Lower Astral, a place similar to Catholic Hell to punish and torture them. The third part is people, maybe friends and familiars, who wait to receive to the recent dead to Afterlife. It is showed when Sam walks to Afterlife at the end of the movie, where he mixes with a lot of spirits who wait for him (as they appear in diffuse figures in blue, it's impossible to know if they are Sam's friend or familiars).
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In order to avoid all religious reference, in the movie not appears angels nor demons or devils, but black spirits who raises from the shadows.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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