6.7/10
12,784
174 user 68 critic

Mommie Dearest (1981)

The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.

Director:

Frank Perry

Writers:

Christina Crawford (book), Frank Yablans (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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ON DISC
9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Faye Dunaway ... Joan Crawford
Diana Scarwid ... Christina Crawford (Adult)
Steve Forrest ... Greg Savitt
Howard Da Silva ... L.B. Mayer
Mara Hobel Mara Hobel ... Christina Crawford (Child)
Rutanya Alda ... Carol Ann
Harry Goz Harry Goz ... Al Steele
Michael Edwards ... Ted Gelber
Jocelyn Brando ... Barbara Bennett
Priscilla Pointer ... Mrs. Chadwick
Joe Abdullah Joe Abdullah ... Captain
Gary Allen Gary Allen ... Jimmy (Photographer)
Selma Archerd ... Connie
Adrian Aron Adrian Aron ... Wedding Guest
Xander Berkeley ... Christopher Crawford (Adult)
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Storyline

The relationship between Christina Crawford and her adoptive mother Joan Crawford is presented from Christina's view. Unable to bear children, Joan, in 1940, was denied children through regular adoption agencies due to her twice divorced status and being a single working person. Her lover at the time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lawyer Greg Savitt, was able to go through a brokerage to adopt a baby girl, who would be Christina, the first of Joan's four adoptive children. Joan believes that her own difficult upbringing has made her a stronger person, and decides that, while providing the comforts that a successful Hollywood actress can afford, she will not coddle Christina or her other children, she treating Christina more as a competitor than a daughter. Joan's treatment of Christina is often passive-aggressive, fueled both by the highs and lows of her career, the narcissism that goes along with being an actress, and alcohol abuse especially during the low times. However, Joan sees much of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To my darling Christina, with love...Mommie Dearest See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mommie Dearest See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$905,920, 20 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,032,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,032,261
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pressbook for the film goes into detail about several of the scenes, including one sequence that was cut from the film. Apparently they filmed an entire sequence where young Christina runs away from home and Joan goes out looking for her in her car. The classic cars that were necessary for the film caused a big stir in the neighborhood where the scene was filmed, and one of the people stopped in traffic so as not to ruin the scene was Barbra Streisand, who apparently spent time hanging out with Faye Dunaway between takes. See more »

Goofs

When Joan lunges at Christina and tries to strangle her, the pre-shattered lamp comes apart before it hits the floor. See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: You drove Al Steele to his grave, and now you're trying to stab me in the back? Forget it. I fought worse monsters than you for years in Hollywood. I know how to win the hard way.
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Alternate Versions

The "edited for television" version of "Mommie Dearest" alters one of the film's most famous lines. When Joan roars at the Pepsi board "Don't fuck with me, fellas!", the edited version substitutes a shot from behind Joan's head so that we can't read her lips, and the line is changed to "Don't mess with me, fellas!" The word "mess" is awkwardly edited in, and is obviously from some other line or take. See more »

Connections

References Leave Her to Heaven (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

To Each His Own
Written by Jay Livingston (as Livingston) & Ray Evans (as Evans)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Why can't you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street?"
23 February 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

"Because I am NOT one of your FANS!"

Simply said, this is superb trash. Enjoyable b.s. Faye Dunaway lobbied hard for the role of Joan Crawford (Christina Crawford wanted Anne Bancroft) and she admirably sinks into the part with relish. I loved the opening montage of "Joan" preparing for her day early in the morning: scrubbing her hands and nails, numbing her face in ice cubes, leafing through a script in her car, getting made-up, and then whirling around in her chair and letting loose with a breathy, "Let's go!"... Sadly, Frank Perry's direction is awkward and unsure, cutting off some sequences before they're allowed to build and letting other scenes ramble on. The movie doesn't do justice to the riveting book by Joan's adopted daughter Christina, committing to film the book's highlights, the talked-about bits where Crawford freaked out, but skimping on the details. We learn absolutely nothing about Christina's many tormented years in an L.A. Catholic Boarding School (we see her check in and we see her check out). Joan's marriage to Pepsi czar Alfred Steele and her three other adopted kids are also given the short shrift. What we do get with "Mommie Dearest" is pure, unadulterated Faye. She acts up a storm and revels in these primal opportunities. It's one of the highlights of her spotty career. **1/2 from ****


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