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Mommie Dearest (1981)

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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
2,842 ( 267)
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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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with Gay City News, Rutanya Alda recounted her uncomfortable experience with Faye Dunaway. "When Jocelyn Brando (who played the journalist) saw me go down after Faye hit me, she said, 'I can't afford to be injured, I just spent six months in the hospital,'" Alda recalled. "Initially, Frank wanted both me and Jocelyn to pull her off Diana (Scarwid, who played Christina), but she saw Faye was out of control and said, 'No way.' We did maybe ten takes, and Frank had to deal with it, because Faye wasn't gonna change what she was doing. I got knocked down maybe twice-she hit me hard in the chest." 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

[Christina has a bloody piece of steak on her lunch plate]
Joan Crawford: Christina, you haven't touched your lunch.
Christina Crawford: It's raw.
Joan Crawford: It's rare, not raw.
Christina Crawford: But it's got all this red juice when you push on it.
Joan Crawford: Then don't push on it. Darling, rare meat is good for you. The doctor said so. Christina, meat loses its vitamins if it's overcooked.
Christina Crawford: But I've had my vitamins this morning. Pills.
Joan Crawford: [to Carol-Ann] She negotiates everything like a goddamn Hollywood agent. Christina, eat your lunch. You are not getting up from this ...
See more »

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

Referenced in Small Wonder: Mommie Dearest (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Sitting On Top Of The World
by Sam Lewis, Joe Young (as Young) & Ray Henderson (as Henderson)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Why would Faye deny this movie so? She's great.
25 January 2011 | by alex54ruizSee all my reviews

Alright, this might not be too obscure of a movie but when it came out it wasn't well received and pretty much ignored causing it to have a huge cult following. The acting by Dunaway as Joan Crawford is so exaggerated that it seems unbelievable that it's a biographical tale. More than Crawford's story as an actress, this movie deals with the painful, abusive, and traumatic upbringing of her daughter Christina (she wrote the book that prompted the making of this movie). Some say Christina made a lot of it up to destroy her mother's reputation but others say it might be quite accurate. Either way, Dunaway's performance as the Screen Queen is uncanny. She embodies every quality of Crawford and watching the movie you forget that it's not really Joan but Faye in the role. Sure, this movie won Razzie Awards and the producers even tried to capitalize with its failure by billing it "The worst mother of them all." Dunaway even goes as far as telling interviewers beforehand that she will not talk about this movie. One can understand her seeing that she was campaigning for an Oscar nod and instead won the Razzie for worst actress but none of that matters because this movie is now seen as a great tragedy and you'll definitely get lost in the story wondering if everything is true. Oh, and the scenes with Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel, who plays young Christina Crawford, are amazing. It's no wonder she won the Young Artist Award. Seriously, watch it. The "No more wire hangers" scene alone is enough to watch this great film.


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