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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
3,715 ( 231)
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 'Video Hounds Golden Movie Retriever' states that Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979) is "a less trendy predecessor of The Big Chill (1983) which audiences were, perhaps, not ready for". See more »

Goofs

The position of Harold's and Sarah's left arms after she and Harold talk to Nick on the front steps after the wake. See more »

Quotes

Sam Weber: I'm hungry. I had this really dirty dream.
Nick: Was it about Karen?
Sam Weber: Why do you say that?
Nick: Why should anything have changed?
Sam Weber: You're the one she always wanted.
Nick: In the old days, I wasn't emotionally equipped to satisfy her. Now, as we all know, the equipment doesn't work at all.
Sam Weber: [wincing] Why do we have to talk about that?
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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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Soundtracks

Quicksilver Girl
Written by Steve Miller
Performed by the Steve Miller Band
Courtesy of Capitol Records
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User Reviews

 
Reality staring you in the face
1 January 2003 | by super_trooperSee all my reviews

There was something about this movie which I couldn't place my finger on. Although I barely made the 60's, of which all the characters are reminiscing of and therefore perhaps I maybe missed some subtle messages or didn't get some in-jokes about the 60's, this movie still applies to everyone. I guarantee every generation will have a time where they come back after 10 or 15 years and see friends that had been so important but are now barely on the radar. They will have a weekend of drinking and tears and fights and laughter. You will look at someone and remember a deep, hidden passion for them that you felt so long ago and never shared with anyone.

That is of course, the plot of the movie.

7 friends (who go wayyy back) one husband (who disappears pretty quickly) and a widowed girlfriend (who is barely known by anyone) come together after they learn that Alex, a friend formally part of the clique, had committed suicide (this part was infamously played by Kevin Costner). They have a weekend of sex, drugs, and good ol' fashioned rock and roll, the whole time bringing up past ghosts that had seemed long forgotten and faded. This is touchy subject, even in today's standards. Yet the movie handles it beautifully. My favourite section in the whole movie was when `You can't always get what you want' was played at his funeral. Not for the song, although it is a classic but for how the characters react. Each sit there in the church, some smiling quietly to themselves, while others have a sadden expression, remembering great times that were and never will be again. Every person has a song like that, one that makes you remember your friends, one that makes you sad or laugh and or grin to yourself as you remember the things you did. That to me clinches the movie. It shows how true the script is, and how humanly the characters react. There is a lot of angry hype about the movie, how there is too much talking and not enough sex or car chases or whatever people think is missing. Yet for me, it is reality. When something like this happens in real life, people do not over dramatise. Life is not a soap opera, although movie-goers seemed to want this movie to be. In a real-life situation, people would do exactly what the characters did, examine themselves and try to find a reason for the problems that have happened. Yet the hard truth is, especially about suicide, sometimes, there is no one you can blame. I think people didn't like this movie too much because it rang too true. It was too realistic. People go the movies to be entertained, to fall in love with the fairy-tales lives that movies have. This movie is honest. It seems, for now, people just want to be naïve and live in a fantasy world. If you want a true movie, see this one now.


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