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The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Mystery  |  21 August 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 1,346 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 9 critic

An ignored, small-town librarian confesses to a murder she didn't commit to get attention.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Elizabeth Louise 'Betty Lou' Perkins
Detective Alex Perkins
Attorney Ann Orkin
Andy Romano ...
Detective Frank
Mr. Marchat
Reba Bush
Billie Neal ...
Gale Mayron ...
Charleen Barnes
Reathel Bean ...
Bob Barnes


Betty Lou is a librarian in a very small town. Her husband, Alex, is a police detective who takes her for granted. She is the ultimate mouse. After a gangland figure is mysteriously murdered in town, she finds the murder weapon, but can't get anyone's attention to tell them (we're talking very mousy, here). Finally in a fit of frustration she fires it in a restroom and when taken to the police station insists she is the murderer. It has the desired effect, people do pay attention to her. With hints at social graces from the hookers in her cell block, she's on her way. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was a nobody until someone found... See more »


Comedy | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, and for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 August 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Arma de Betty Lou  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)


$3,721,911 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ann Orkin: Eight years I went to law school. Three times I took the bar. I finally geta a client and my client is a lunatic.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Swamp Diamonds (1993) See more »


Surfin' on Jupiter
Written by Atom Benjamin Ellis
Performed by Psychefunkapus
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Admittedly All Over The Place
5 July 2006 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

I get a big kick out of this film, partly because I know a librarian named Betty Lou! Needless to say she is nothing like the semi-stereotypical librarian of the movie...

In the film, Betty Lou is a mousy librarian and frustrated wife. Although innocent, she allows herself to be implicated in a crime of passion in order to challenge her husband's (all too accurate) preconceptions. With the aid of a prostitute with a heart of gold and an ambitious freshman lawyer, Betty Lou transforms herself into an assertive and confidant woman. Unfortunately there are some unforeseen consequences that could cost her her life!

Other reviewers have pointed out that this film is very uneven in tone. It isn't really a romantic comedy, more of a light thriller like "Get Shorty." The real problem is that the plot isn't clever enough for a thriller, the humor isn't sufficient for a comedy, and it certainly isn't dark enough for noir. However it has a naive symbolism I find appealing, and the actors appear to be having a good time with their roles. I'd call it stereotypical rather than sexist - I can easily imagine some women I've known going to such extremes for attention!

I wouldn't go out of my way to look this one up. But if it's on the tube and there's nothing else to see give it a try!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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