7.2/10
32,426
209 user 65 critic

The Big Chill (1983)

Trailer
2:36 | Trailer
A group of seven former college friends gather for a week-end reunion at a South Carolina vacation home after the funeral of another of their college friends.

Director:

Lawrence Kasdan
Reviews
Popularity
3,452 ( 769)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Berenger ... Sam
Glenn Close ... Sarah
Jeff Goldblum ... Michael
William Hurt ... Nick
Kevin Kline ... Harold
Mary Kay Place ... Meg
Meg Tilly ... Chloe
JoBeth Williams ... Karen
Don Galloway ... Richard
James Gillis James Gillis ... Minister
Ken Place Ken Place ... Peter the Cop
Jonathan Kasdan ... Harold and Sarah's Son (as Jon Kasdan)
Ira Stiltner Ira Stiltner ... Running Dog Driver
Jake Kasdan ... Autograph Seeker (as Jacob Kasdan)
Muriel Moore Muriel Moore ... Alex's Mother
Edit

Storyline

A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now older and experienced come together for the funeral of Alex, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them at college and yet who never managed to find his way. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other, discuss where their lives have led and speculate on what happened to their idealism which had been abundant when they were younger. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How much love, sex, fun and friendship can a person take? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First time Kevin Kline and Jonathan Kasdan played a father and son. The second time would be in I Love You to Death (1990). See more »

Goofs

The fog completely disappears after Harold's brief close-up shot when he and Nick are jogging through town. See more »

Quotes

Karen: I know this is hard but it's all beautiful.
Sarah: Yeah we put on a great funeral here.
Michael: [sarcastically] Yeah, maybe I'll have mine here.
Sarah: We give first priority to people who kill themselves in one of our bathrooms.
[the three stop smiling]
Sarah: That was a terrible thing to say... I don't know why I said that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 6 minutes from this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Featured in Success in the System (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Bad Moon Rising
Written by John Fogerty (as John C. Fogerty)
Performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Courtesy of Fantasy Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
The perfect soundtrack, the perfect cast, the perfect script...a wonderful movie.
8 May 2005 | by psykofaxSee all my reviews

As a member of Gen-X having just revisited this movie after several years, I have to say that the soundtrack took me down "memory lane" in a big way, and may be one of the best things about The Big Chill. My generation's experience with this music is very different than that of my parents', having been force-fed Three Dog Night, The Band, and all the rest as a young child. It remains a part of my psyche, buried deep in the most obscure and remote of my memories. It was fantastic to hear those songs again, in spite of how much my taste in music has changed over the years. A classic is a classic, and the soundtrack is LOADED with them. Music can make or break a movie, and in The Big Chill, the music is an integral part of the film, as important as the cast, the writing and the directing. Its hard to imagine different music, just as it's hard to imagine a different cast. The songs weave in and out of the movie as easily and naturally as the subplots weave in and out of the story.

22 years after being dragged to this movie by my parents (who LOVED it), I remain pleasantly surprised at what a good movie it is as a whole, and how much more I liked it as an adult. The acting is brilliant. The writing is excellent. The directing is fantastic. Everything snaps into place in ways that keep you from getting bored, irritated, or otherwise turned off. Sometimes melodramatic, sometimes hilarious, the characters are well-constructed by the writer(s) and beautifully brought to life by the cast. Two hours fly by without dragging, down time, misfires or backfires. The story unfolds in 1983 with a crew of Baby Boomers, college friends brought back together by tragedy, taking stock in their lives as they get reacquainted with each other after many years have passed. The story may be dated, but anyone, no matter their "generation," can find something to relate to in this film. The interpersonal relationships, the individual journeys, and the self-reckoning that comes with the death of a friend... all of us can grasp these concepts and drink them in, get lost in them, feel the pain, and feel the joy. We can relate to it because its themes are timeless... love, loss, sadness, joy, growing up and getting older. This happens to us all.

My only real criticism of this picture would be that once in a while the film was a little too poignant and too depressing for my tastes, but only for brief moments. It could be that no one else who sees this film will agree with me, or even notice. That's fine. Opinions...we all have them. For me, it went a little overboard, just a smidgen. This is the only reason I did not give this movie a 10. It is still a wonderful movie. Some might suggest that this "going overboard" was what made the movie effective. It was effective, very much so, but for me it was a bit too much from time to time. Once in a while, my heart strings need a rest.

However, the music remains the most memorable part of the film. I had to look The Big Chill up on the internet to be reminded of the general story line, but the music has stayed with me all these years, and will remain with me, from the first notes of Joy to the World through the rest of the soundtrack and back. I would watch this movie again, and recommend it to anyone, no matter how cynical they are or what generation they belong to. Its that good.


39 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 209 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Chill See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,662,152, 2 October 1983

Gross USA:

$56,399,659

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$56,399,659
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed