5.9/10
18,607
65 user 31 critic

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 12 April 1985 (USA)
A bored suburban housewife, seeking escape from her life, suffers amnesia after an accident, wakes up, and is mistaken for a free-spirited New York City drifter named Susan.

Director:

Susan Seidelman

Writer:

Leora Barish

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

The life of an uptight tax lawyer turns chaotic when he is asked to escort a young woman newly released from prison, who persuades him to help prove her innocence.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Madonna, Griffin Dunne, Haviland Morris
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

Glendon Wasey is a fortune hunter looking for a fast track out of China. Gloria Tatlock is a missionary nurse seeking the curing powers of opium for her patients. Fate sets them on a hectic... See full summary »

Director: Jim Goddard
Stars: Sean Penn, Madonna, Paul Freeman
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Abbie, tired of failed relationships, has a one-night-stand with her gay friend; they agree to raise the resulting baby together.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Madonna, Rupert Everett, Benjamin Bratt
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Documentary following singer Madonna on her controversial Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

Director: Alek Keshishian
Stars: Madonna, Donna DeLory, Niki Harris
Evita (1996)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The hit musical based on the life of Evita Duarte, a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Madonna, Jonathan Pryce, Antonio Banderas
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A lawyer defends a woman accused of killing her older lover by having sex with him.

Director: Uli Edel
Stars: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

This musical is based on four short stories by Damon Runyon. In one tale, gambler Feet Samuels sells his body to science just as he realizes that Hortense loves him and that he would rather... See full summary »

Director: Howard Brookner
Stars: Josef Sommer, Madonna, Tony Azito
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A video concert showing Madonna's Drowned World Tour in 2001.

Directors: Hamish Hamilton, Carol Dodds, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Madonna, Niki Harris, Donna DeLory
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Chronicles Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention World Tour and "new" Madonna

Directors: Jonas Åkerlund, Dago Gonzales
Stars: Madonna, Stuart Price, Steve Sidelnyk
Madonna: The MDNA Tour (TV Special 2013)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Madonna returns to stadiums and arenas for her ninth tour, and the highest grossing tour of 2012! EPIX is proud to exclusively broadcast this thrilling, dazzling, cutting edge and controversial concert. In HD.

Directors: Mark Ritchie, Stéphane Sennour, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Madonna, Kevin Antunes, Monte Pittman
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Madonna and her crew perform in Australia for The Girlie Show Tour in 1993 in support of the legendary Erotica album. She wouldn't perform there for another 23 years due to scheduling.

Director: Mark Aldo Miceli
Stars: Madonna, Jai Winding, Michael Bearden
Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show (TV Special 2012)
Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After 320 hours of rehearsals, pop star Madonna delivers an astonishing show during which she performs a medley of her hits and her new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'", with guests LMFAO, ... See full summary »

Director: Hamish Hamilton
Stars: Madonna, Sofia Boutella, Andrew Boyce
Edit

Cast

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 Levine ... Crystal
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
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

It's a life so outrageous it takes two women to live it. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Recherche Susan désespérément See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,526,098, 31 March 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$27,398,584
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon reading the script for the first time, Rosanna Arquette expressed her desire to play the part of Susan. She was surprised to discover the producers actually wanted her to play the lead part of Roberta. See more »

Goofs

When Susan sees the two criminals on TV, the blond guy is called Richard Nolan. In the closing credits, the character is named Wayne Nolan. See more »

Quotes

Crystal: I'm ready to quit this dump, I really am. Ray won't let me wear my glasses on stage, then Ian gets pissed because I can't do any of the tricks, I mean I'm only legally blind. I could understand if I wanted to wear my glasses on my tits, but nobody in this dump is looking at my face anyway.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The song heard in the beginning of the movie is "The Shoop Shoop song" in the US version whereas it is "One fine day" in the European one, possibly for copyright reasons. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Desperately Seeking Roger (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Into the Groove
Performed by Madonna
Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray
Courtesy of Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An Amusing Product of the Times
14 July 2015 | by blakiepetersonSee all my reviews

"Desperately Seeking Susan" isn't so much a homage to the screwball comedy as it is a homage to the screwball situation. It doesn't try to be riotous or anything remotely Ernst Lubitsch — instead, it flutters by with half-smile as it discombobulates the at-first congenial attitude of the atmosphere. Never did I find myself laughing hysterically, but here, that's not the point. It wants to be an amuser in the same mindset as "Pretty in Pink", no knee- slappers to be found but charm spread aplenty. Because that's exactly what "Desperately Seeking Susan" is: a charming comedy of errors that likes to get its characters into as much trouble as possible for satisfactory diversion.

Rosanna Arquette portrays Roberta Glass, a bored housewife who spends her afternoons watching cooking shows and living vicariously through the lonely hearts in the classified ads. Most interesting to her is the recurring 'Desperately Seeking Susan' ad, which follows the romance between Jim (Robert Joy) and his sexy girlfriend, Susan (Madonna), both of whom are young, bohemian, and fiercely independent. As she twiddles her thumbs for the umpteenth time one afternoon, Roberta decides to act as onlooker, tracking the twosome down and watching their public encounter from afar. She becomes infatuated with the street stylish Susan and, after a series of complicated events I won't bother to explain, she bumps her head, gets amnesia, and falls under the impression that, she is, in fact, Susan.

Most housewives would want to be like the free-spirited woman, but Susan, as it so happens, is in a lot of trouble. Her boyfriend has just stolen valuable Egyptian jewelry, jewelry she enjoys wearing, and a gaggle of thugs are thirsty to get their paws on the collection. So as Roberta wanders around the city bearing Susan's name and wearing her clothes, the criminals begin to chase her, while the real Susan causes a ruckus elsewhere — eventually leading to Roberta's confused husband (Mark Blum).

"Desperately Seeking Susan" is the best kind of amusing: pleasant but not so much so that we become immersed in the fact that things aren't as zany as they could be. The film is smartly amusing, after all, with the comic scenario bettering as it grows increasingly convoluted. The screenplay sizzles in its ability to entice us into Susan's world of bohemian style, and the actors are all winning: Arquette, in particular, carries the movie with her sincerely warm characterization. But the best thing about "Desperately Seeking Susan" is Susan Seidelman's great eye for street life: I've never been one to figure a movie is better simply because of the decade it sits in, but Seidelman, intentional or not, finds all the best things about the 1980s and seems to cram them into one excitingly snazzy picture. The ghettos are effectively hip, the suburbs slightly tongue-in-cheek, like "Wild At Heart" if it wasn't crazy. Seidelman's vision is best reflected in Madonna, in her earliest incarnation and her most kitschily well-dressed.

"Desperately Seeking Susan" is slight when it comes to comedy but hugely successful when it comes to pure enjoyment. A product of the times, it has aged gloriously as a nostalgic piece snug in all the right places. And nothing's better than the boho sensuous Madonna (providing the soundtrack with guilty pleasure "Into the Groove") before she got all blond ambitious and stopped looking like the chic spunk who stole records as a pastime.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 65 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed