6.7/10
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183 user 72 critic

Mommie Dearest (1981)

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3:34 | Clip
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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Popularity
4,826 ( 280)
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:

The meanest mother of them all... See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several members of the cast and crew had previous personal experiences with Joan Crawford. Costume designer Irene Sharaff, make-up artist Charles H. Schram and Vivienne Walker all worked with Crawford during the peak of her film career, while actress Rutanya Alda, who plays Carol Ann, had seen Crawford on the set of Johnny Guitar (1954), which was filmed close to Alda's childhood home. Years later, Crawford introduced herself to Alda on the set of Rosemary's Baby (1968), where Alda was working as a stand-in for Mia Farrow and Crawford was filming a cameo that was later cut from the film. As well as this, as a child, first assistant director Michael Daves actually attended the lavish birthday party for Christina Crawford that is depicted in the film. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the birthday party scene, Joan can obviously be seen riding the Carousel behind Christina. However, in a subsequent shot, she is no longer on the Carousel. In another shot soon thereafter, she suddenly appears on the Carousel behind Christina again. See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: [muttering to herself, hacking down the rose garden] Hollywood royalty! Parted friends... everyone already knows! Box office poison! Box office poison! Class! You're... class... you're... class... box office poison! Eighteen years in the business and we parted friends! Creative differences!
[notices the others]
Joan Crawford: Oh... good! I wan't some help here! I want ALL of these branches cleared out of here now. Carol-Ann, Christopher, start clearing away all these branches, start gathering them up.
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints also contain a different take of the scene where Joan and Alfred argue over the cost of the New York apartment, most notably Alfred's reaction to Joan's stubborn insistence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Guy: Peter's Two Dads (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Away in a Manger
(uncredited)
Traditional lyrics, tune attributed variously to William J. Kirkpatrick or James Murray
See more »

User Reviews

Great Movie
7 April 2001 | by mstewart01See all my reviews

Great movie. I read the book, and I was a bit disappointed that the movie did not spend more time on Christina's childhood. The spankings that Christina received were not done justice in the movie compared to the book. I agree, though, Joan is one scary lady, in real life or in a film portrayal.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)

Gross USA:

$19,032,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,032,261
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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