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As Good as It Gets (1997)

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



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,744 ( 30)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 49 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
See  »

Did You Know?


The clip on the TV is from an episode of I Dream of Jeannie (1965). See more »


When Carol is standing and talking to Melvin in the restaurant, when viewed from the back, Carol's arms are straight down. When viewed from the front her hands are on her hips. See more »


Melvin Udall: I will tell you why the dog prefers me, now. It's a trick! I carry bacon.
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 »


Features I Dream of Jeannie (1965) See more »


Written by Heitor Pereira and Phil Roy
Produced by Phil Roy
Performed by Danielle Brisebois
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

This almost all Oscar winner cast gives such a great performance that it makes it almost impossible not to love this movie in its entirety!
21 May 1999 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Directed by Oscar nominee James L. Brooks, the story written by Mark Andrus brings up not only very interesting characters but also very interesting issues. I have the video and enjoy watching it. The CD is great with music of Nat King Cole, Shawn Colkin. Outstanding acting by Helen Hunt (Mad About You, Twister) who won an Oscar for this role where she plays Carol Connelly, a single mother, working as waitress in Manhattan, New York. A single parent trying to cope with her work and paying medical bills for son Spencer Connelly, played by Jesse James (Message in a Bottle, The Gingerbread Men, Gods and Monsters). Jack Nicholson (A Few Good Men, Easy Rider, Witches of Eastwick) is Melvin Udall who is an obsessive compulsive. Nicholson also won an Oscar for his part. His obsessive compulsiveness has taken over his life and he is not able to live a normal life. Melvin Udall has tons of soap all organized in his medicine cabinet. He uses a bar of soap once and then throws it out. He will not step on a crack on the side walk but skips to the next block of concrete. When he goes to the restaurant he brings his own plastic fork, knife and spoon in a plastic bag. Udall uses plastic gloves to hold the dog and has all his office supply stacked and all color coordinated in his home/office. He eats at the same restaurant, sits at the same table, if someone is seating at his table he insults them to make them leave so that he has his table back, wants the same waiter Carol to wait on him, and takes forever to take a shower. He closes his door several times and counts how many times he has done it. As a writer who works at home I do understand Mr. Udall really well. Writers think somewhat like this: we like to be alone with ourselves in order to think. We have to go inside ourselves to produce good work. It is a very isolated world. We do not like to be bothered unless we are bored, or tired, in which case we want to communicate with the outside world for a brief period of time, then after one hour or so we want to go back inside ourselves again and be left alone. This is somehow like Melvin thinks. People think that he has nothing to do and they keep knocking at his door and he gets really aggravated about that. He is my favorite character in this movie, not to diminish the other ones. He is just so full on nuances that make him very entertaining. Helen's role is very, very, good and she did a really good job with it. Greg Kinnear (Sabrina) is Simon Bishop, the artist who is Udall's next door neighbor who finally has Melvin turning into a little more normal human being and he is there to teach him many life lessons. The supporting actors are great, you have Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire) playing Frank Sachs, Simon's agent.

My favorite scenes: elementary school kids all in uniform screaming: "Wait! Melvin, wait"! Greg Kinnear imitating Melvin. Melvin and Caroll going to eat fresh rolls in the wee hours of the morning. When Melvin realizes that the dog is also skipping cracks on the sidewalk.

My favorite quote: "I am drowning here and you are describing the water." This is a nice story telling movie. I recommend it!

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Sadly, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. MyMotleyCrew
kickass lines wechulipaul
Helen Hunt's Oscar? payback122
Could There Have Been LESS Chemistry? arnomation
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder bentoncg
anyone here agree with melvin that.. j-rule
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