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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 214,202 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 469 user | 153 critic | 30 from

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 41 wins & 42 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 <>

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
See  »

Did You Know?


At the end of this film, when the credits begin to roll, the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" performed for this film by Art Garfunkel, begins to play. Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel starred together in the film, Carnal Knowledge (1971). See more »


The number of grapes on Melvin's Plate changes repeatedly between shots during his conversation with Carol in the restaurant. See more »


Carol Connelly: When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome... and then, of course, you spoke.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In cast credits dogs are credited as: Verdell - Jill Supporting dogs - Timer, Billy See more »


Referenced in Movie Stars: Mothers & Brothers (1999) See more »


You'll Always Be My Shining Star
Written by Jack Nicholson
Produced by Hans Zimmer
Performed by Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Yeardley Smith, and Greg Kinnear
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

This comedy is as good as it gets!
14 February 1999 | by (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada) – See all my reviews

Comedies (especially romantic comedies) can only be judged by how much they make you laugh and if they make you feel good inside. As Good As It Gets does it for me every time. I'm not just saying this on account of being a "Jack fan." The characters are so beautifully drawn, you forget it's just Jamie from "Mad About You" (Helen Hunt) and the man with the eyebrows (Nicholson). This movie deserved all of its Oscars, and then some. The role of an obsessive-compulsive is an easy one to parody and mock to death, but Jack does it with style, humour, emotion, and that usual Nicholson flair. Hunt has never been better as a waitress with a major anxiety to do something for herself for a change. Greg Kinnear is also very good as a gay artist that ends up having to turn to the irascible Jack for help after he is scarred and left destitute following a break-in. This is such a special comedy, fresh from the pen of James L. Brooks, the man behind the wonderful Terms of Endearment (another wonderful Nicholson performance) and Broadcast News. As Good As It Gets made me feel so good, even though I couldn't really relate to the characters' situations. The humor is pure Jack, set to the script with perfect ease. The emotions evoked by the actors are also authentic and heart-felt, as if they love what they are acting out. Movies like this come few and far between, and that is the reason why I appreciate this film so very much. As Good As It Gets was one of the best films of 1997. Rating: Four stars.

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Sadly, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. MyMotleyCrew
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