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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 214,488 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 470 user | 153 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Shirley Night plays the mother of Nicholson's love interest here, but in 1963 she played his love interest in The Terror, a low budget horror film. See more »


When Simon picks up his dog from Melvin after returning from the hospital: he's at Melvin's apartment door in a wheelchair but from previous scenes we know there are stairs between the apartments. See more »


Simon Bishop: Lucky for you... you're here for rock-bottom. You absolute horror of a human being.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in The 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1998) See more »


Written by Deek Watson and Willie Best (as William Best)
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole (as Nat King Cole)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Products
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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