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Just Tell Me What You Want (1980)

A married, egotistical, middle-aged head of a corporate empire man and his mistress and protegee, who wants a more serious commitment and ends up dating a younger man, are in a casual love/hate relationship and engage in a battle of wits.


Sidney Lumet


Jay Presson Allen (novel), Jay Presson Allen (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ali MacGraw ... Bones Burton
Alan King ... Max Herschel
Myrna Loy ... Stella Liberti
Keenan Wynn ... Seymour Berger
Tony Roberts ... Mike Berger
Peter Weller ... Steven Routledge
Sara Truslow Sara Truslow ... Cathy
Judy Kaye ... Baby
Dina Merrill ... Connie Herschel
Joseph Maher ... Dr. Coleson
John Walter Davis John Walter Davis ... Stan
Annabel Lukins Annabel Lukins ... New Baby
Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter ... Teddy
Michael Gross ... Lothar
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Julie Raskin


A TV producer who is the mistress of her boss, tries to have him make their relationship more permanent, and begins a relationship with a younger man. When her boss hears of this, he tries to stop it, and win her heart again. Written by Orig. by Kornel Osvart <kornelo@alphanet.hu>, correct by U.N. Owen

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Anything - and everything - can be a weapon in the war between the sexes. See more »


Comedy | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Michael Gross' movie debut. See more »


Max Herschel: Marriage, it's the quintessential deal... just tell me what you want.
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 11 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »


References ...One Third of a Nation... (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Alan King rules - the quintessential tycoon
8 March 2006 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

King is a really great comedian, virtually unknown to audiences in Europe. In this „late screwball" comedy he plays a tycoon, and for this kind of movie part he sets a mark nobody has surpassed. He brings the right mix of competence and freakishness to the role. He is a ladies man, a hypochondriac (goes well together), is cunning and can be utterly ruthless and cruel. Of course, the character has a great egotistical mind - and yet he is oddly likable. There's more: The movie also includes great performances by Keenan Wynn as competing tycoon and also by Myrna Loy, famous screen beauty of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She plays King's loyal secretary and surrogate mom. Ali McGraw is kind of beautiful but seems to be made of granite (the set design of her ritzy apartment is beautiful and interesting, though), Peter Weller's talents are wasted here.

This movie really boasts many, many memorable lines. The character played by Wynn tries to convince the tycoon that he should donate for a wing for special diseases of a hospital. This makes King quip „I can't wait to see those poor guys die of special diseases in my wing!" Also great are the final sequences in which the main character stays in hospital because of an imaginary heart attack. His little, stumpy body lies in a white shroud on an examining bed while he berates the high priced specialists standing around him, telling them in a choked voice that he knows exactly what's wrong with him and they should better read the „f***ing literature"! People are like that! Life is like that! It's great to be able to laugh about it sometimes.

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Release Date:

18 January 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Just Tell Me What You Want See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$197,230, 10 February 1980

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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