27 user 19 critic

Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)

A housewife with an abusive husband has an affair with a writer.


Frank Perry


Eleanor Perry (screenplay by), Sue Kaufman (from the novel by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Richard Benjamin ... Jonathan Balser
Frank Langella ... George Prager
Carrie Snodgress ... Tina Balser
Lorraine Cullen Lorraine Cullen ... Sylvie Balser
Frannie Michel Frannie Michel ... Liz Balser
Lee Addoms Lee Addoms ... Mrs. Prinz
Peter Dohanos Peter Dohanos ... Samuel Keefer
Katherine Meskill ... Charlotte Rady
Leonard Elliott Leonard Elliott ... M. Henri
Valma Valma ... Margo
Hilda Haynes Hilda Haynes ... Lottie
Donald Symington Donald Symington ... Pediatrician (as Don Symington)
Alley Mills ... Women's lib girl (as Allison Mills)
Alice Cooper ... Alice Cooper (as The Alice Cooper Band)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Bruce Michael Bruce ... Michael Bruce (as The Alice Cooper Band)


Tina Balser is a bored New York housewife-mother married to Jonathan, a pompous, social-climbing lawyer who ridicules her in front of their children, criticizing everything she does or wears. She begins an affair with George Prager, a dashing, successful and blatantly sadistic writer. Finally after George has tormented Tina in much the same manner Jonathan has, and has been unfaithful to boot, she goes back to her husband and begins group therapy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Does her anger at a domineering husband justify a wife's taking a lover? This wife was driven to find out. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Features Carrie Snodgress's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »


George Prager: Well what about it, you coming over?
Tina Balser: I um - I have to go to a committee meeting at my daughter's school. As a matter of fact I just on the way out the door.
George Prager: Tomorrow? Wait, tomorrow's Saturday. Monday?
Tina Balser: Monday I promised Jonathon I'd go down and pick our Christmas cards for this year.
George Prager: [exhales annoyed] Your life really is full of crap isn't it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original version runs 104 minutes. Alternate TV version was prepared by director Frank Perry substituting different footage for many sequences; this version runs 95 minutes. See more »


Spoofed in Diary-Ahh of a Mad Independent Filmmaker (2009) See more »


Ride With Me Baby
Written by Mars Bonfire
See more »

User Reviews

Experiments in editing
16 July 2004 | by TonyDoodSee all my reviews

There are two different versions of this movie, one for t.v. and one on video. They're both the same length, but they are incredibly different in tone. On t.v., the movie is about a harried housewife who has a brief (mostly offscreen) affair as part of her attempt to make sense of her life. On video, the movie is a dark portrayal of an illicit affair, emphasizing the sexual dysfunctions of everyone involved. If one reads the book, it is clear that both versions are unsatisfying--the best solution is a "Director's Cut," like the one I made on my own, that incorporates all the scenes and brings the running time up to a tolerable 2 hrs even. This makes it an almost perfect adaptation of the book, and a very fulfilling movie. Here's hoping someone, someday, has the sense to release this great old film on DVD this way.

Career-defining roles for Carrie Snodgrass, Richard Benjamin and Frank Langella, as well as a wonderful blend of humor and drama.

And the little brats are just great: "Why, even the salad isn't normal--mooky oranges and cut up plants!"

23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

25 November 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Diary of a Mad Housewife See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Frank Perry Films Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed