A bored New Jersey suburban housewife's fascination with a kooky character she's read about in the personal columns leads to her being mistaken for the woman herself.


Susan Seidelman


Leora Barish
4,296 ( 1,660)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosanna Arquette ... Roberta Glass
Madonna ... Susan
Aidan Quinn ... Dez
Mark Blum ... Gary Glass
Robert Joy ... Jim
Laurie Metcalf ... Leslie Glass
Anna Thomson ... Crystal (as Anna Levine)
Will Patton ... Wayne Nolan
Peter Maloney ... Ian
Steven Wright ... Larry Stillman D.D.S
John Turturro ... Ray
Anne Carlisle ... Victoria
José Angel Santana José Angel Santana ... Boutique Owner (as Jose Santana)
Giancarlo Esposito ... Street Vendor
Richard Hell Richard Hell ... Bruce Meeker


Bored Roberta spots a regular personal ad in the paper titled 'Desperately Seeking Susan'. She heads off to New York, following one of the ads, and finds Susan. When Susan sells her jacket, Roberta - trying to emulate her mystery ad writer - buys the jacket and wears it. Little does she know someone is looking for the jacket - and its owner... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead... See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In October 2007 a musical version of the movie was staged in London's Novello Theatre featuring Emma Williams as Susan and Kelly Price as Roberta. Written and conceived by American actor Peter Michael Marino, the musical was directed by Angus Jackson, choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler featuring Blondie classics such as, "One Way or Another," "Heart of Glass," "Atomic," "Dreaming," "The Tide is High," "Hanging On the Telephone," "Picture This," "Rapture," etc. See more »


Susan/Madonna wears pants with silver pockets when walking in New York City followed closely by Roberta, but the next take after meeting Jimmy, her black pants are different and without silver pockets. See more »


Leslie: Gary, I think you have got to accept the fact that there is something very unusual going on in your relationship.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an edited version for basic cable and broadcast TV which appeared on the WE channel (and probably other outlets) after September 11, 2001, where several shots of the World Trade Center have been expunged (along with the usual swear words, drug references, etc.) See more »


Referenced in Newhart: Desperately Desiring Susan: Part 2 (1986) See more »


Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan
Played at the Magic Club
See more »

User Reviews

Definitely more than 5.9 stars
18 July 2018 | by chaswe-28402See all my reviews

Hard to say why this movie is rated so low on this site. In some ways I agree with the critics, but overall I found it to be entertaining, and even funny in parts. I certainly didn't see anything wrong with the performance of Madonna, or any of the others. Laurie Metcalf was great. Perhaps the amnesia plot device was a little lame for hanging the entire narrative on. The production had more of an air of a play for television than a full-scale feature film. Memorable title, but I admit to having forgotten the story by the time I gave it a second look. Remembered and appreciated the Jimmy Presley masonic dollar jacket, however.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Official Sites:

HBOMAX [United States]





Release Date:

12 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperately Seeking Susan See more »


Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,526,098, 31 March 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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