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Tootsie (1982)

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Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.


Sydney Pollack


Larry Gelbart (screenplay), Murray Schisgal (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2,427 ( 57)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Michael Dorsey / Dorothy Michaels
Jessica Lange ... Julie
Teri Garr ... Sandy
Dabney Coleman ... Ron
Charles Durning ... Les
Bill Murray ... Jeff
Sydney Pollack ... George Fields
George Gaynes ... John Van Horn
Geena Davis ... April
Doris Belack ... Rita
Ellen Foley ... Jacqui
Peter Gatto Peter Gatto ... Rick
Lynne Thigpen ... Jo
Ronald L. Schwary Ronald L. Schwary ... Phil Weintraub
Debra Mooney ... Mrs. Mallory


Michael Dorsey is an unemployed actor with an impossible reputation. In order to find work and fund his friend's play he dresses as a woman, Dorothy Michaels, and lands the part in a daytime drama. Dorsey loses himself in this woman role and essentially becomes Dorothy Michaels, captivating women all around the city and inspiring them to break free from the control of men and become more like Dorsey's initial identity. This newfound role, however, lands Dorsey in a hot spot between a female friend/'lover,' a female co-star he falls in love with, that co-star's father who falls in love with him, and a male co-star who yearns for his affection. Written by Bryan Kuniyoshi

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This Is a Hell of a Way To Make a Living. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Would I Lie to You? See more »


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,540,470, 19 December 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dustin Hoffman's performance was one of two performances portraying struggling actors, reduced to appearing on television and ending up doing something outrageous during a live transmission, nominated for an Oscar in the same year. The other is Peter O'Toole's in My Favorite Year (1982). Neither actor won. See more »


In the scene where George Fields and Michael Dorsey are arguing in George's office about Michael's being difficult to work with, the pen in George's hand and on his desk disappears between scene cuts consistently. See more »


Julie: I know I'm pretty and I use it. I just guess I shouldn't have gone to Dr. Brewster's office so late.
Dorothy Michaels: Well, no, that's not true. You know, Dr. Brewster has tried to seduce several nurses on this ward, always claiming to be in the throes of an uncontrollable impulse. Do you know what?
Ron Carlisle: Uh-oh.
Dorothy Michaels: I think I'm gonna give every nurse on this floor an electric cattle prod, and just instruct them to just *zap* him in his badoobies.
Julie: [Tries, unsuccessfully, to hold back a giggle]
Ron Carlisle: Cattle prod?
Dorothy Michaels: Ruby? Hi, you ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dustin Hoffman is credited twice: Dustin Hoffman .... Michael Dorsey Dustin Hoffman .... Dorothy Michaels See more »

Alternate Versions

"Tootsie" was cut in the UK to remove one line of dialogue with the F word to receive a 'PG'. At that time there was no '12'certificate so uncut it would have got a '15'. For video it was classified '15' uncut. Since then the video has not be re-submitted for re-classification as a '12' so still carries a 30 year old '15' certificate with its 2016 Criterion release. See more »


That's All
(1952) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Bob Haymes
Music by Alan Brandt
Played on piano by Dustin Hoffman and sung by Charles Durning
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Greatest Comedies Ever Made
29 April 2015 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Tootsie (1982)

**** (out of 4)

Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an unemployed actor who is told by his agent (Sydney Pollack) that there's no one in the country that will hire him due to his attitude. Dorsey, seeing this as a challenge, decides to dress as a woman calling herself Dorothy Michaels and gets a job on a soap opera where he strikes up a relationship with one of the stars (Jessica Lange) on the show. As more and more pressure begins to mount, Michael must decide how to get out of the woman's outfit and reveal the truth.

TOOTSIE is in my opinion one of the greatest comedies of the decade and I'd go even further and call it one of the greatest comedies ever made. There are so many wonderful things in the film and it works on so many levels that it's almost shocking when you look back at the film and see how wonderful it is. Not only does the "comedy" of a man dressing as a woman work but the film is more than just laughs as it hits on what it means to be an actor struggling to get work but there's also a lot of heart to the film and there's certainly many underline themes dealing with the differences between men and women.

There are a lot of great things in this movie but there's no question that the true magic belongs to Hoffman who turns in one of his greatest performances. It's rather amazing to see him work here because he's basically got two different characters that share certain things but in the end they have to be separate characters. What impressed me the most was how believable he was as the female character. Not only does the supporting characters have to be able to believe he's a woman but the magic comes because when you see Hoffman as the woman, you believe it to. I think it's somewhat fitting that during the closing credits the character gets separate credits as does Hoffman. I think his performance as the woman is so great that many probably would believe that a real woman was playing her.

The supporting cast is wonderful as well with Lange certainly deserving her Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She gives her character so much heart and pain that you can't help but root for her. Dabney Coleman and Charles Durning are both terrific in their roles as is Teri Garr who is downright hilarious as a somewhat psychotic friend. THen there's Pollack who is simply great as the agent. Bill Murray gives one of his greatest performances here because the story itself is quite out there yet his dry one-liners are just so hilarious that you can't help but have tears running down your face.

Again, the film works perfectly as a comedy but it's so much more than that. The relationship between Dorothy and her co-worker is very believable and the various twists that happen in the plot seem real and they're never forced. The comedy comes in a very natural way and the realistic characters seem real and not something faked or made up. To me TOOTSIE is a flawless movie that manages to get funnier the more times you see it, which is something hard for a comedy to do.

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