17 user 11 critic

Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)

PG | | Drama | 30 August 1974 (Ireland)
Rita, a middle aged New York City homemaker, finds herself in an emotional crisis which forces her to re-examine her life, as well as her relationships with her mother, her eye doctor ... See full summary »


Gilbert Cates


Stewart Stern
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanne Woodward ... Rita
Martin Balsam ... Harry
Sylvia Sidney ... Rita's Mother
Tresa Hughes ... Betty
Dori Brenner Dori Brenner ... Anna
Ron Rickards Ron Rickards ... Bobby
Win Forman Win Forman ... Fred
Peter Marklin Peter Marklin ... Joel
Nancy Andrews Nancy Andrews ... Mrs. Hungerford (voice)
Minerva Pious Minerva Pious ... Woman in Theatre
Sol Frieder Sol Frieder ... Man in Theatre
Helen Ludlam Helen Ludlam ... Grandmother
Grant Code Grant Code ... Grandfather
Gaetano Lisi Gaetano Lisi ... Student in Theatre
Lee Jackson Lee Jackson ... Carl


Rita, a middle aged New York City homemaker, finds herself in an emotional crisis which forces her to re-examine her life, as well as her relationships with her mother, her eye doctor husband, her alienated daughter and estranged son. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She's beautiful...but frigid. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Features Sylvia Sidney's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »


When the gurney is wheeled out of the ER, the sheet over the body is relatively flat. When Rita is next to the gurney, the sheet is elevated due to the body's arms being across the body. See more »


Mrs. Pritchard - Rita's Mother: I thought I was having a heart attack.
See more »


Features Wild Strawberries (1957) See more »


It's April Again
(Moulin Rouge) (uncredited)
Music by Georges Auric
French lyrics by Jacques Larue
English lyrics by William Engvick
See more »

User Reviews

Marvelous acting
1 March 2008 | by sdave7596See all my reviews

By the early 1970's, films had become more personal and character studies were emerging on the screen. Such is the case with "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams." At first glance, the film seems to be about Rita (Joanne Woodward) coping with the sudden and awful death of her mother (the wonderful Sylvia Sidney). The film then shifts to the apparently empty marriage between Rita and her husband Harry (Martin Balsam). They travel to Europe, where emotions and past resentments come to the foreground. Rita has much guilt about her son, who apparently wants nothing to do with her or Harry - we find out he is gay, but never the exact reasons why he can't stand either of them! (The son is seen only in flashbacks). Harry has a very emotional reaction while visiting Bastogne, where he fought in WWII. Rita has a breakdown in a London subway tunnel, apparently imaging she has seen her dead mother. Harry and Rita's daughter seems to have no purpose in the film except to be sanctimonious and shrill. This is not a perfect film, and at times the script jumps around. There are a few things that don't quite jive. There seems to be a lot of Freudian type psycho babble in the film (which was popular at the time). But it is the fine performance of Joanne Woodward that shines here. Ms. Woodward is one of the best actresses ever to grace the American cinema. Martin Balsam is in fine form here too. A quiet little film worth watching.

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English | French

Release Date:

30 August 1974 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Carnival See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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