6.7/10
14,464
190 user 72 critic

Mommie Dearest (1981)

Trailer
4:11 | Trailer
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 »
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

The first film to nearly "sweep" the Golden Raspberry Awards (or RAZZIES), with five "wins" (including Worst Picture and three out of four acting awards) from a then-record nine nominations. See more »

Goofs

The "wire hanger" scene has become the pivotal, and almost iconic, symbol of the movie, yet one must wonder where little Christina would have gotten the hanger to begin with. She was obviously too young to be picking up cleaning, so the hanger must have been brought into the house by a servant- so Joan's anger at finding the dress on the hanger was completely misdirected. One would think that Crawford would have issued a directive to her house staff to immediately remove any clothing from such hangers and to dispose of them. See more »

Quotes

Joan Crawford: Why do you deliberately defy me?
Christina Crawford: Why did you tell her I got expelled?
Joan Crawford: Because you DID get expelled?
Christina Crawford: That... is a lie.
Joan Crawford: *Smacks Christina across the face, then smacks her a second time*
Joan Crawford: You love it, don't you? YOU LOVE TO MAKE ME HIT YOU!
Barbara Bennett: Joan?
Joan Crawford: Barbara, please! Please, Barbara! Leave us alone, Barbara! If you need anything, ask Carol Anne.
Barbara Bennett: *Walks away*
Joan Crawford: Oh, this is wonderful. This is wonderful! YOU, YOU DELIBERATELY EMBARRASS ME IN FRONT OF A REPORTER! A reporter. I told how important THIS IS TO ME! I TOLD...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

CBS edited 10 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Vampire Diaries: Mommie Dearest (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

To Each His Own
Written by Jay Livingston (as Livingston) & Ray Evans (as Evans)
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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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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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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