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The Big Chill (1983)

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A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina winter house after the funeral of one of their friends.

Director:

Lawrence Kasdan
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Popularity
3,339 ( 699)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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Storyline

A seminal Thirty-Something movie in which a group of old college friends who are now all grown up and hardened by the big wide world come together for the funeral of Alex, a barely glimpsed corpse, who was at one time the brightest and the best of them, and yet who never managed to achieve half as much as any of the others. The friends use the occasion to reacquaint themselves with each other and to speculate as to 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:

In a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reencuentro See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,662,152, 2 October 1983, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$56,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer-director Lawrence Kasdan wrote the character of Nick Carlton especially for William Hurt whom he had worked previously on Body Heat (1981). See more »

Goofs

In one scene, Jeff Goldblum is eating Dreyer's ice cream from the carton. Dreyer's is a brand that originated in Oakland, CA, but when their distribution went nationwide in the early 80s, they ran into trademark infringement trouble with Breyer's Ice Cream, because of the similarity in both the names and the script logotype used by both companies. An agreement was reached that Dreyer's would go to market East of the Mississippi River as "Edy's Ice Cream". So they could never have purchased Dreyer's Ice Cream in South Carolina. But they could in Hollywood, which is no doubt where that scene was filmed. See more »

Quotes

Richard: [talking to Karen about her former friends] I can't believe these are the same people you've been talking about all these years.
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Alternate Versions

Other scenes cut/altered for the Network version:
  • Michael unpacking condoms was cut.
  • The shot of Sarah in the shower was an alternate angle, and it is also reframed.
  • The entire scene late at night on the first night with Sam, Nick, and Richard not being able to sleep was cut.
  • The scene with Sarah talking on the phone to her daughter, and remarking "I can't believe what I hear myself say!" was cut.
  • The scene with Sam and Karen in the grocery store was cut. Because of this, to save the continuity, the second scene of Meg and Sarah in the kitchen is shown in the place of the grocery store scene, instead of being between the outdoor scene with Harold and Michael and the scene with Chloe and Nick in the cabin.
  • Michael's line, "Outside is just one big toilet" is cut, as is him zipping up just before he says this.
  • Sam saying "Jesus" after everyone goes to the living room to watch JT Lancer is cut.
  • The last part of the sequence where everyone clears the table while dancing to "Aint to Proud to Beg", with Sam talking in the dining room, was cut.
  • Most of the jogging scene with Sam, Nick, and Harold is cut. It goes from the shot of the sunrise to the door closing on the van.
  • The Second half of the scene with Sam and Karen on the dock was cut-the scene ends with Karen saying "It's not like talking to you".
  • While arguing over the football play, Sam says "What the hell are you talking about!" rather than "What the fuck are you talking about!".
  • Harold tells the cop to "Beat the hell out of" Nick rather than "Beat the shit out of" him. Later in that same scene, Harold says "I don't need this, Nick" rather than "I don't need this shit".
  • At the dinner table, in the original, Sarah said "Jesus, even fortune cookies are getting cynical!". In the TV print, the word "Jesus" is muted.
  • Meg says "I feel stupid in ten different ways" rather than "I feel shitty in ten different ways".
  • The shot of Harold and Meg having sex on the bed was deleted, as was the shot of Sam and Karen making out on the ground outside.
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Connections

Referenced in About Alex (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Tracks of My Tears
Written by Warren Moore, Smokey Robinson (as William Robinson Jr.), and Marvin Tarplin
Performed by The Miracles
Courtesy of Motown Records and Jobete Music
See more »

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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.


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