7.1/10
4,517
51 user 30 critic

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

A wealthy woman from Manhattan's Upper East Side struggles to deal with her new identity and her sexuality after her husband of sixteen years leaves her for a younger woman.

Director:

Paul Mazursky

Writer:

Paul Mazursky
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jill Clayburgh ... Erica
Alan Bates ... Saul Kaplan
Michael Murphy ... Martin
Cliff Gorman ... Charlie
Patricia Quinn ... Sue (as Pat Quinn)
Kelly Bishop ... Elaine
Lisa Lucas ... Patti
Linda Miller ... Jeannette
Andrew Duncan ... Bob
Daniel Seltzer Daniel Seltzer ... Dr. Jacobs
Matthew Arkin ... Phil
Penelope Russianoff Penelope Russianoff ... Tanya
Novella Nelson ... Jean
Raymond J. Barry ... Edward
Ivan Karp Ivan Karp ... Herb Rowan
Learn more

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Storyline

Erica is unmarried only temporarily, in that her successful, wealthy husband of seventeen years has just left her for a girl he met while buying a shirt in Bloomingdale's. This movie shows Erica coming to terms with the break-up, while revising her opinions of herself, redefining that self in its own right rather than as an extension of somebody else's personality, and finally going out with another man. Erica refuses to drop everything for Saul, an abstract expressionist painter, simply out of love for him, because he expects her to. It is not so much loneliness that is her problem, and the problems that men, flitting around this newly "available" woman like moths round a flame, bring to her sense of independence. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She laughs, she cries, she feels angry, she feels lonely, she feels guilty, she makes breakfast, she makes love, she makes do, she is strong, she is weak, she is brave, she is scared, she is... an unmarried woman.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Penelope Russianoff (Tanya the therapist) was an actual therapist, and the counseling sessions were filmed in her apartment on West 86th Street, where she saw her patients. She wrote several help books in the 1970s. See more »

Goofs

During Erica's second visit to Tanya, the plants behind Erica change places with each shot. For straight ahead shots of only Erica, the small cactus is on the right. In angled shots, showing both women, the small cactus is on the left. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Martin and Erica are jogging along the river]
Martin: Jesus Christ! Look at this - my sneaker's ruined!
Erica: They're only thirty-five dollars.
[Erica takes Martin's shoe and cleans it off for him]
Martin: Fucking city's turning into one big pile of DOG SHIT!
[shouting at passing traffic]
Martin: Come on out and take a crap on me - everybody else is. Fuck.
[Martin lights a cigarette]
Erica: ...been jogging for 2 1/2 miles - you're giving yourself lung cancer.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Betsy See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: Fall (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
(1976) (uncredited)
Written by Leo Sayer and Vini Poncia
Performed by Leo Sayer
See more »

User Reviews

A rare thing: an American film for and about adults
3 February 2006 | by ChristopherWBSee all my reviews

Briefly, this is one of the few American films I have seen that is remotely a realistic depiction of how basically intelligent, decent, middle-class adults behave in a long-term relationship (in this case a marriage of sixteen years) when they break up. I almost felt as though I were watching a reality show from that era. This is how people behave, without much heroism or great insight into themselves or others; often with a "cluelessness" that defines our humanity more tellingly than our pride would like to hear. (An aside to the previous commenter: I have seen this sort of thing, close-up and personal, and this is pretty much how people act: it reminded me very much of how a couple with whom I was very close broke up, and the aftermath, in the decade before this film was made. And the man had been having an affair for several years before it happened, not just one: the woman had not a clue.) My only complaint is that the story ends far too soon and far too happily. But it is an American film (sigh!), so one most not expect too much: we just "cannot bear very much reality"!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 1978 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

An Unmarried Woman See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$24,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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