6.7/10
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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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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 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:

Maman très chère 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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place from 1938 to 1977. See more »

Goofs

After Joan says to tear down the wall and put up a window in the apartment condo, she turns around and a camera shadow is cast across her back. See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: [Joan is pouring booze from her flask] Hey, you know where I got this from?
Christina: Uh uh.
Joan Crawford: BATISTA himself.
Christina: Yeah?
Joan Crawford: When I opened a plant outside Havana.
Christina: That's all they gave you?
Joan Crawford: That's it. Cheap bastards.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Weeds: Corn Snake (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Tangerine
Written by Johnny Mercer & Victor Schertzinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It got a bad rap, and Dunaway was robbed
29 September 2006 | by eskridgeSee all my reviews

I saw this movie the first night it opened in Las Vegas in 1981. The large theater was packed, SRO. What may come as a surprise today, the film was received seriously by the audience, who sat transfixed throughout. I don't recall inappropriate laughter (well, maybe a muted laugh or two when little Christina said "Jesus Christ" at the end of the wire hanger scene), and I remember hearing favorable comments from people around me, although many were horrified by the depictions of child abuse.

Unfortunately, the movie did not live up to the high expectations at the box office. After all, it was based on a best-selling book that sold 4 million copies in hard cover alone.

A few weeks later, Mommie Dearest was re-released and was being advertised as a campy movie in the vein of Rocky Horror, and patrons were urged to bring wire hangers to the theater. The studio turned against its own movie in order to milk more money out of it. That's a shame, because Faye Dunaway gave the performance of her life and deserved an Academy Award nomination, if not the award.


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