A dentist pretends to be married to avoid commitment, but when he falls for his girlfriend and proposes, he must recruit his lovelorn nurse to pose as his wife.


Gene Saks


Abe Burrows (stage play), Pierre Barillet (play) (as Barillet) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Walter Matthau ... Dr. Julian Winston
Ingrid Bergman ... Stephanie Dickinson
Goldie Hawn ... Toni Simmons
Jack Weston ... Harvey Greenfield
Rick Lenz ... Igor Sullivan
Vito Scotti ... Señor Arturo Sanchez
Irene Hervey ... Mrs. Durant
Eve Bruce ... Georgia
Irwin Charone Irwin Charone ... Mr. Shirley - Record Store Manager
Matthew Saks Matthew Saks ... Miss Dickinson's Nephew


Toni Simmons believes that the only reason her married lover won't leave his wife is because of the children. Actually, her lover, dentist Julian Winston, doesn't have any children. In fact, he doesn't even have a wife--he just tells women he does to avoid getting involved. When Julian does decide to take the plunge with Toni, she insists on meeting the first wife and Julian enlists the aid of his long-time nurse/receptionist Stephanie Dickinson to play the part. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The prickly stage success that convulsed audiences around the world... with all its barbed wit and the sharpest comedy cast of the year! See more »


Comedy | Romance


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


As the original play was not 'opened up' for filming, casting confines make it appear that Dr. Julian Winston has only three patients. See more »


When Walter Matthau answers the phone in his office, no button lights up, so we know the phone isn't connected. See more »


[first lines]
Igor Sullivan: Hey, in there, something wrong? Hey, I smell gas!
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References Murderers' Row (1966) See more »


I'm A Believer
Music by Neil Diamond
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User Reviews

Classy comedy, unbeatable Bergman
10 April 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Ingrid Bergman, playing dentist Walter Matthau's faithful receptionist who harbors a little crush on her boss, is absolutely wonderful in this film. She handles the witty repartee in the script with aplomb and steals a terrific scene where she and Goldie Hawn talk in a record booth (Ingrid's monologue is a front, but her face tells you she believes in it with all her heart). Matthau is an odd choice for the leading man (he's too old for Goldie Hawn and too unrefined for Bergman, not to mention too unfocused to be a dentist), but I liked the way he tries hard to please Goldie and stumbles around trying to free himself from a lie. Hawn (who won a Supporting Oscar) is just as fresh and bubbly as she is today. This bedroom farce isn't terribly sophisticated (and faintly reminds one of "Any Wednesday" besides), but it's a welcome relief from the noisy, teen-oriented comedies churned out of present-day Hollywood. "Cactus Flower" is a lovely sigh! *** from ****

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Release Date:

16 December 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cactus Flower See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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