33 user 4 critic

The Promise (1979)

A rich student's fiancee has her face destroyed by a car accident, and refuses to return to him fearing the loss of his love.


Gilbert Cates


Fred Weintraub (based on a story by), Paul M. Heller (based on a story by) (as Paul Heller) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Quinlan ... Nancy McAllister / Marie Adamson
Stephen Collins ... Michael Hillyard
Beatrice Straight ... Marion Hillyard
Laurence Luckinbill ... Dr. Peter Gregson
William Prince ... George Calloway
Michael O'Hare ... Ben Avery
Bibi Besch ... Dr. Faye Allison
Robin Gammell ... Doctor Wickfield
Katherine De Hetre Katherine De Hetre ... Wendy Lester
Paul Ryan ... Doctor Fenton
Tom O'Neill Tom O'Neill ... Painter
Kirchy Prescott Kirchy Prescott ... Nurse
John Vick John Vick ... First Cab Driver (as John Allen Vick)
Dan Leegant ... Second Cab Driver
Jerry Walter Jerry Walter ... Cal


Two college students, one from a rich background, and the other from a poor one, decide to elope. They are involved in a serious car wreck, with the young girl's face severely injured. In order to get the necessary surgery, the mother of the young man injured in the accident offers a deal to the young woman - to stay out of her son's life permanently, and in return, get the plastic surgery to restore her face. What comes after that is something none of them expected. Written by Marinelle K. Szenasy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A haunting story of love and betrayal. See more »


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film's screenplay was later novelized by Danielle Steel. It was a huge success, effectively cementing her career as a romance novelist. See more »


Nancy's hair color changes after the accident. See more »


Ben: Mike? Happy Birthday, hooligan!
Michael: Yeah, that's right, my day all day.
Ben: Hey, you know who else's birthday it is? I read it in the San Francisco Chronicle. Julius Ceasar!
Michael: Julius Caesar! How the hell do they know?
Ben: Because they are fiendishly clever, man!
See more »


The Promise (I'll Never Say Goodbye)
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Music by David Shire
Sung by Melissa Manchester
See more »

User Reviews

The meaning of true love....
27 January 2003 | by itswindeeSee all my reviews

This is one of the best true love stories I have ever seen. It is one of my favorites. The plot summary is much more than what the fellow above wrote. While yes a girl & boy fall in love and the girl gets her face torn off in a car accident, the real core of the film is that true love, pure love doesn't come along everyday. It is very rare, very precious and it should be valued and not taken for granted. The plot synopsis is this: the boy comes from a very wealthy influential family with a very dominering mother who forbids her son from marrying the girl who doesn't have 2 cents to rub together but is a struggling artist trying to make it. The boy trying to break free from the tight grip his mother has on him wisks the girl away and plan to elope. On the way to a chapel tragedy strikes and they are involved in a horrible car accident. Both are taken to the hospital, the boy is injured and the girl's face is terrible disfigured. While they lie in their hospital beds in different rooms, his mother decides to pay the girl a visit. The girl's entire head & face is bandaged, all you recognize is her voice. His mother expresses how sorry she is that this has happened to her and offers the girl a chance to have reconstructive surgery, all paid for by her with all of the necessary therapy needed physically and emotionally. While this sounds to good to be true, the catch is, if she agrees to have this done she must promise to NEVER see her son again. The devious and controlling mother continues by saying, if she doesn't have the surgery done her son wouldn't want her anyway with her grotesque face. At least this way, her son can move on and have a life and she too can move on and have a life. With a heavy heart, the girl agrees to his mothers terms. I don't want to ruin the rest of the film so I won't say anymore. For those of you who might not believe in love, this movie might change your mind. It is worth seeing.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

2 August 1979 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Face of a Stranger See more »

Filming Locations:

Belvedere, California, USA


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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