7.0/10
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51 user 22 critic

Desert Hearts (1985)

R | | Drama, Romance | 7 March 1986 (USA)
Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
While waiting for her divorce papers, a repressed professor of literature is unexpectedly seduced by a carefree, spirited young lesbian.

Director:

Donna Deitch

Writers:

Jane Rule (novel), Natalie Cooper
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Shaver ... Vivian Bell
Patricia Charbonneau ... Cay Rivvers
Audra Lindley ... Frances Parker
Andra Akers Andra Akers ... Silver
Gwen Welles ... Gwen
Dean Butler ... Darrell
James Staley ... Art Warner
Katie La Bourdette Katie La Bourdette ... Lucille
Alex McArthur ... Walter
Tyler Tyhurst Tyler Tyhurst ... Buck
Denise Crosby ... Pat
Antony Ponzini ... Joe
Brenda Beck Brenda Beck ... Joyce
Sam Minsky Sam Minsky ... Best Man
Patricia Frazier Patricia Frazier ... Change Girl
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Storyline

It is 1950s Nevada, and Professor Vivian Bell arrives to get a quickie divorce. She's unsatisfied with her marriage, and feels out of place at the ranch she stays on, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Cay Rivers, an open and self-assured lesbian, and the ranchowner's daughter. The emotions released by their developing intimacy, and Vivian's insecurities about her feelings towards Cay, are played out against a backdrop of rocky landscapes and country and western songs. Written by Neil Lewis <njl@cix.compulink.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In a city where fortunes are made and dreams are shattered, she gambled on a different kind of love. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Over two decades after making this movie together, Helen Shaver directed Patricia Charbonneau in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Streetwise (2008) See more »

Goofs

While the film is set in 1959, the opening scene is of the "Super Chief" rail service pulling into Reno, NV, while in fact it was a service of the Santa Fe railroad at the time, one which did not get anywhere near Reno. Compounding the error the scene mistakenly indicates that the line was operated by the Union Pacific Railroad while the diesel locomotive seen pulling the train into the station at Reno is labeled with the (U.S.) Department of Transportation logo, a federal entity established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and which began operation on April 1, 1967. See more »

Quotes

Vivian: I wouldn't know what to do.
Cay: You can start by putting the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US DVD release is 5 minutes shorter than the theatrical version (91 as opposed to 96 minutes). The most noticeable cut is in the sex scene which is slightly briefer than the original. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

He'll Have to Go
Written by Joe Allison and Audrey Allison
Performed by Jim Reeves
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
refreshingly candid coming-out romance
13 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

While awaiting her divorce on a dude ranch outside Reno, a stiff and humorless New York City professor learns to appreciate life from the usual assortment of Silver State oddballs, finally letting her hair down for a young, uninhibited employee of one of the local casinos. It might have been just another routine romantic comedy but for the fact that the two lovers are both women, and the novelty value alone is enough to lift the film out of the ordinary. There's enough charm and offhand humor to match any mainstream, hetero romance, but make no mistake: this movie doesn't regard its lesbianism lightly, and there's an explicit bedroom interlude to prove it. The scene stops the film dead in its tracks, but director Donna Deitch (making her feature debut) has to be commended for approaching the subject with such candor and optimism (some of it a bit forced, to be sure), leaning only slightly on the awkward self-awareness usually found in a Hollywood coming-out story.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Hearts See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,492,088

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,492,088
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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