Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  18 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 2,210 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 3 critic

This film follows Norma Jean from her simple, ambitious youth to her superstar pinnacle and back down. She moves from lover to lover in order to further her career. She finds fame but never happiness, only knowing seduction but not love.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Jordan
Fred Karger
Dana Goldstone ...
Mozelle Hyde
Natasha Lytess
Milton Krasner
Commissary Photographer


In this film, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino portray two sides of the woman America loved, but who struggled to love herself: Marilyn Monroe. To the world, Marilyn was a vivacious superstar, the epitome of sexuality, sensuality and frolicsome amusement. Every man wanted her - every woman wanted to be her. But behind the enticing smile, beneath the tight-fitting dresses, there was a dark secret - one Marilyn could not bury in the past... the child inside named Norma Jean. Everything Norma Jean dreams of, Marilyn achieves. Every man she struggles to resist, Marilyn succumbs to. And while Marilyn climbs the ladder to success, Norma Jean was beneath it, almost willing her to fall. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Marilyn Monroe was our fantasy. Norma Jean was her reality.


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and nudity, some substance abuse and strong language | See all certifications »





Release Date:

18 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Norma Jean and Marilyn  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As Strasberg confronts an actress during an Actor's Studio session, you can see the shadow of a crew member's head to their left for a few seconds until he/she realizes that he/she is in the shot. See more »


Johnny Hyde: How can you be so cold?
Marilyn Monroe: Because you let me.
See more »


References Hopalong Cassidy (1952) See more »


William Tell Overture
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

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User Reviews

Not entirely truthful but reasonably entertaining
23 July 2007 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

If you're looking to see the "true story" of Marilyn Monroe's life you're probably better off skipping this movie. Norma Jean & Marilyn takes great liberties with the facts in trying to spice up the drama. There are plenty of half-truths and flat-out non-truths littered throughout. But if you can get past that you may find that this still manages to be a reasonably worthwhile movie. It's not an accurate biographical account of Marilyn Monroe's life, it's a dramatization. And not a bad dramatization at that.

This is a movie with a gimmick in that there are two Marilyn Monroes. Ashley Judd plays the icon in her younger days as unknown Norma Jean. Mira Sorvino takes over when Hollywood transforms Norma Jean into Marilyn Monroe. But we have not heard the last of Norma Jean as Judd continues to pop up now and again as an inner voice so to speak, sometimes to encourage and sometimes to berate and ridicule Sorvino's Marilyn. The point being that young Norma Jean desperately wanted to be a star and refuses to allow Marilyn to screw things up. Suffice to say these constant appearances by her younger self do not help Marilyn's state of mind as her life begins to spiral out of control towards her inevitable sad end. The two lead actresses perform their roles well. Judd is pitch-perfect as the desperate, driven Norma Jean. Sorvino is pretty much stuck doing a Marilyn Monroe impersonation but she makes the best of what she has to work with. As presented here the character may come off as a bit too much of a dumb blonde bimbo to really ring true. Surely, for all the myriad issues she had, the real Monroe was brighter than she's given credit for here. But it's hard to blame Sorvino, she can only portray the character as it was written. All in all it's a fairly gripping, if not entirely truthful, drama. And having two actresses play the famed icon at different points in her life adds a unique twist. This is clearly no work of genius but if you're looking for a reasonably entertaining movie you could do a lot worse.

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