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As Good as It Gets (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 215,960 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 470 user | 154 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A single mother/waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is in an accident.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 48 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Verdell (as Jill)
Timer the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Timer)
Billy the Dog ...
Supporting Dog (as Billy)
Bibi Osterwald ...
Neighbor Woman
Ross Bleckner ...
Jaffe Cohen ...


New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Brace yourself for Melvin. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Old Friends  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,606,928 (USA) (26 December 1997)


$147,637,474 (USA) (19 June 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original script was written by Mark Andrus. James L. Brooks did a rewrite of it when he bought the screenplay. See more »


After confronting Simon about his missing dog, Melvin Udall returns to his apartment. The first lock he mistakenly turns 6 times instead of 5, rather than locking it, it remains unlocked. The next couple locks he counts 5. Light switch 5 and counts out loud. See more »


Carol Connelly: To hell with sex! It was better than sex! We held each other! What I needed, he gave me great.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just after the disclaimer of the American Humane Association (The animals used in this film were in no way mistreated...) there is a second disclaimer stating "The actors used in this film were in no way mistreated." See more »


Referenced in Elvira's Movie Macabre: The Terror (2010) See more »


Written by George Gershwin
Courtesy of Essex Entertainment, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

As Good as Romantic Comedies Get
18 October 2004 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

"As Good As It Gets" boasts a splendid, delightful combination of wonderful, zesty acting and a remarkably bright and effective screenplay. Jack Nicholson is pitch-perfect as the obsessive-compulsive curmudgeon Melvin Udall, who possesses some of the strangest and most curious tendencies ever concocted by screenwriters; his Udall is so human, so heartfelt, so genuine, and so whimsical and Nicholson perfects him to such a degree that not a moment of his screen time is unwanted or uninteresting: in my valid opinion, this is Nicholson's best performance of his career, and one of the most reverent performances in film history. What an engaging, enthralling story: an troubled, insecure man helps a troubled, insecure waitress (troubled and insecure in different respects), and the two form an unlikely relationship from being distant acquaintances (Hunt even exclaims that Nicholson is crazy in their most uncomfortable moment in the film) to practical soul mates (Nicholson to Hunt: "I feel that I'm the only person that knows that you are the greatest woman alive"), through a series of misfortunes, self-explorations, and mutual bondings. Kinnear's character Simon has the distinct purpose in being both the bridge and the divider of Nicholson and Hunt's relationship, and he identifies with his character with compassion and understanding, as he has frequently been wronged throughout his existence. The most curious aspect to a story such as this, involving such unduly, diverse characters: a miserable recluse, a zesty, yet insecure waitress, and a sensitive and insightful, yet wronged homosexual, is that in their distinct differences, they share many of the same problems, and these problems eventually bring them all together, although hardly in a civilized manner. I appreciated practically every element in this wonderful, delightful masterpiece of exemplary romantic comedy, in its indelible acting (Oscars well deserved), its whimsical, touching screenplay (This was neons above "Good Will Hunting"'s quality) and its comforting morale, that despite all of the great odds in life which prevent us from being happy, we can perhaps find it within ourselves to take that one important step in reversing our fortunes, in "stopping with taking pills" and to allow our lives, and our desires to shine and be realized, as this story depicts life. The best romantic comedy, certainly the best film of 1997, and one of the greatest films of all time, "As Good As It Gets" succeeds in practically every entertaining and endearing cinematic respect. **** out of ****

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