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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

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

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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
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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:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Recherche Susan désespérément See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ellen Barkin wanted the part of Susan and was the studio's first choice. The modest budget and director Susan Seidelman's insistence eventually benefited newcomer Madonna, who was ultimately given the part. See more »

Goofs

Reflected in car windshield as Roberta and Susan walk outside. 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

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Starz Inside: Fashion in Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mashed Potato Time
Written by Kal Mann (uncredited) and Harry Land (uncredited)
Performed by Dee Dee Sharp (as Dee Dee Sharp)
Courtesy of K-Tel International
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very funny and evocative of the '80s
5 January 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Everybody is "Desperately Seeking Susan," but nobody realizes they're not looking for the same person in this 1985 quirky comedy starring Roseanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn, and Laurie Metcalf. The film was directed by Susan Seidelman from a script by Leora Barish.

In this very clever story, Roberta (Arquette) is a bored housewife with a rich fantasy life who envies a woman named Susan (Madonna). Susan's boyfriend is always leaving her notes in the personals column about where to meet. Before long, Roberta is showing up at the meeting places and actually starts stalking Susan. When Susan pays for a pair of boots that she wants with her unique leather jacket, Roberta buys it and starts wearing it. All this could have been harmless fun except for three things: 1) Susan is a con artist, and she's stolen Egyptian artifacts she mistook for earrings from a guy in Atlantic City, who ended up dead at the bottom of his hotel; 2) Susan was seen (from the back) wearing her jacket in the hallway of the hotel by a mobster who wants the artifacts; and 3) Roberta is in an accident, and when she wakes up, she has amnesia. A friend (Aidan Quinn) of Susan's boyfriend who came to the meeting place to check on the real Susan as a favor thinks Roberta is Susan.

This is such a fun movie, with much of the comedy being in the situation rather than in the dialogue. Not only that, it's totally '80s, right down to Madonna's leggings, and brought back a lot of great memories.

The acting is very good, and one wonders why Madonna didn't continue in this vein rather than trying to become a great dramatic actress. She's perfect in this off-beat role as well as being beautiful, exotic, trashy, and sexy. She also would have been excellent as Roxy in "Chicago" if the film had been made back in the '70s, when it was originally supposed to be done. She might then have had a very interesting film career.

Though "Desperately Seeking Susan" was made 23 years ago, Roseanna Arquette hasn't changed much. She's excellent as the quiet, dying to be free, fantasy-driven Roberta. Aidan Quinn gives his usual good performance as a poor sap over his head. He doesn't know how lucky he is - he could have gotten involved with the real Susan! Highly recommended, especially if you were a young adult in the '80s.


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