42 user 31 critic

How to Make an American Quilt (1995)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 October 1995 (USA)
Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.



(novel), (screenplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A small town prepares for the homecoming of superstar Roxy Carmichael, as does a young outsider, who believes Roxy is her mother.

Director: Jim Abrahams
Stars: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

It is 1977, Dublin rocks to the music of Thin Lizzy and the world is stunned by the death of Elvis Presley. Frankie, caught between acne and adulthood, has just completed his final exams in... See full summary »

Director: David Keating
Stars: Catherine O'Hara, Jared Leto, Christina Ricci
Reality Bites (1994)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A documentary filmmaker and her fellow Gen X graduates face life after college, looking for work and love in Houston.

Director: Ben Stiller
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo
Boys (1996)
Mystery | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Patty Vare falls off a horse and is found unconscious by preparatory school student John Baker. He takes her to his dormitory. As he quickly discovers, she is hiding from something. For ... See full summary »

Director: Stacy Cochran
Stars: Winona Ryder, Lukas Haas, John C. Reilly
Mermaids (1990)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder
Square Dance (1987)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Gemma is 13 years old lives with her grandpa in the country, she has for many years. One day her mother shows up, and wants to take Gemma to the city. Her mother is married now, and can ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Petrie
Stars: Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Winona Ryder
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.

Director: Bille August
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Maria Conchita Alonso
Basil (1998)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A lonely young aristocrat in turn-of the century England stuggles to meet the approval of his over-bearing, class-conscious father while trying to please the selfish woman he loves.

Director: Radha Bharadwaj
Stars: Christian Slater, Jared Leto, Claire Forlani
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Romantic drama about an aging playboy who falls for a sweet, but terminally ill, young woman.

Director: Joan Chen
Stars: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia
The Last Word I (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A man (Bentley) who makes his living composing other people's suicide notes enters into a romance with the sister (Ryder) of a recent client.

Director: Geoffrey Haley
Stars: Wes Bentley, Winona Ryder, Ray Romano
1969 (1988)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Two friends living in a small town during the 1960's run away to enjoy their freedom during the Vietnam War, thus disappointing the father of one of them. When they return to town, they realize how important family unity is.

Director: Ernest Thompson
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kaelynn Craddick ...
Sara Craddick ...
Finn's Father
Glady Joe


Finn is a young graduate student, finishing a master's thesis, and preparing for marriage to her fiance Sam. But thoughts of the end of the free life, and a potential summer fling, intrude. She goes home to her grandmother, where, over the making of her wedding gift by a group of quilting-bee friends, laughter, bickering, love, and advice lead her toward a more open-eyed examination of her course. Written by Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's beauty in the patterns of life.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of drug use, some sensuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Recuerdos de amores pasados  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


$23,574,130 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Tamala Jones. See more »


When Finn meets Leon at the pool for the first time, she sometimes is shown to be wearing a towel around her waist, and other times there's no towel...(during the same conversation) See more »


Finn: Sometimes love simply dies.
See more »


La Vie en Rose
Music by Louiguy
French lyrics by Édith Piaf
English Lyrics by Mack David
Performed by Louis Armstrong
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Never More Than the Sum of Its Devices
27 October 1999 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

I have spent many pleasant hours mocking "How To Make An American Quilt" to friends, but at this moment I want to play fair. I'm sure that there are many things to like about this movie and that somehow they escaped my notice. For me it was never more than a series of plot devices stitched together (ha ha) to form an unsatisfying story.

Winona Ryder is always a pleasure to watch. I've liked her better in more irreverent titles like "Beetlejuice" or "Heathers". Still, she wears earnestness well, and manages to make bearable the Poloniusesque quilt speech at end of the picture (see the quotes section).

The supporting players should be every bit as watchable (with several centuries of acting experience among them, they ought to be). I wish I'd been allowed to watch them act. Their function was to sit in front of the camera quilting and say a few words of introduction before the flashback--as if they were hosts of a documentary.

I want to pause for a moment over Maya Angelou's casting. It's always a tricky thing introducing a famous person from another discipline as an actor. I call it the "Hey, you're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar" problem (based on the scene from _Airplane_ where a kid recognizes the basketball player in the co-pilot's seat. The joke is in how much time he spends denying it). Maya Angelou has screen presence, but does nothing to dispel the problem. My dominant experience watching her was, "Wow, they got Maya Angelou, world famous poet!" Maybe this was the idea. Maybe the filmmakers felt her famous presence would, in itself, add depth to the proceedings, so why muddy it with anything as messy as an interesting character? Her appearance was less acting than promotion. Maya Angelou wouldn't appear in a dog, would she?


The plot reminds me of a line Robin Williams had about alcoholics, "You realize you're and alcoholic when you repeat yourself. You realize you're an alcoholic when you repeat yourself. You realize, oh dammit." Each woman's story follows a similar pattern. Girl meets boy, sleeps with boy, marries boy, boy leaves, boy comes back--each time unconvincingly (I wonder how far any guy has ever gotten with the opening line "You swim like a mermaid"). The Alfre Woodard story is the only variation, and as a result, the only interesting one among them.

And of course Winona Ryder's Finn has a similar problem. Does she marry Dermott Mulrooney or does she go off with the local stud muffin. I call him the local stud muffin because that's all he is. The actor who played him didn't convince me that there was anything under the perfect I-don't-have-to-work-out abs that would compel her to do more than roll in the field with him. He wasn't a character so much a plot device meant to set up an obvious choice. Handsome rogue or dependable architecht? Given the way the flashbacks ran, take a guess.

There are more scenes to pummel here. There's the thesis blowing away in the wind (she's the only grad student I've ever seen with no notes, no paperweight, and, since she was using a typewriter, no carbons), and there's her random meeting with the Stud Muffin (who just happened to be hanging out in the groves with a picnic basket and a blanket for her. I guess this was set before the advent of stalking laws), but it would take too long to mock them all. The real trouble with the movie is that it was so earnest, so desperate to convince the audience of its poetic depths, that it wound up shallow, unsatisfying, unconvincing and unintentionally funny.

Or, to put it another way--never have so many, who were so talented, worked on something so ordinary.

21 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This movie sucked sinabet
Horrified! rosalin-1
Interracial relationship. karen157
Did anyone notice? IridescentTranquility
The Quilt jennlin77-967-974497
different movie? annie_17363
Discuss How to Make an American Quilt (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: