174 user 51 critic

Flowers in the Attic (1987)

1:37 | Trailer
Children are hidden away under an attic by their conspiring mother and grandmother.


Jeffrey Bloom


Virginia C. Andrews (novel) (as V.C. Andrews), Jeffrey Bloom (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Louise Fletcher ... Grandmother
Victoria Tennant ... Mother
Kristy Swanson ... Cathy
Jeb Stuart Adams ... Chris
Ben Ryan Ganger ... Cory (as Ben Ganger)
Lindsay Parker ... Carrie
Marshall Colt ... Father
Nathan Davis ... Grandfather
Brooke Fries ... Flower Girl
Alex Koba ... John Hall
Leonard Mann ... Bart Winslow
Bruce Neckels ... Minister
Gus Peters ... Caretaker
Clare Peck Clare Peck ... Narrator (voice) (as Clare C. Peck)


Dreams of an inheritance turn into a nightmare for four innocent children. Locked in the deserted north wing of the family mansion. Beaten by a vicious grandmother. Tormented by a menacing caretaker. Starved and left alone to wither - and perhaps die - like FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. Their only hope lies in escape. But a horrible truth awaits them in the main house - a truth that will push the children toward a dizzying and violent solution. FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC - living proof that even the prettiest flowers can grow deadly in the attic's darkness. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They have come to a house where secrets are kept....where the future is haunted by the past.....where the innocent live in the shadow of sin.....where a dark legacy awaits to destroy all who defy it..... See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Despite being a popular novel among female teenagers, Kristy Swanson had not read it when she was cast in the film. She decided not to read it afterwards, instead preferring to trust Jeffrey Bloom's vision of how Cathy was supposed to be. See more »


The kids are in the attic for months, but their hair never grows. See more »


Cathy: What're you doing?
Chris: I'm going downstairs to see that party. Want to come with me?
See more »


Referenced in Happy Death Day (2017) See more »

User Reviews

26 October 2000 | by mercuryixSee all my reviews

This movie has one of the strangest, classic climactic lines of any movie I've seen, with the old, dependable, wrap everything up in 15 seconds endings.

I haven't read the book this is based on, but have to ask why readers find the theme of incest more appropriate in print than in a movie. The plot revolves around a seemingly perfect family, two parents, four children (all of them unrealistically beautiful)and their happy life - until the father dies. Instantly, they are destitute and all of their furniture is respossessed. Why is it that every B movie follows the theme of instant poverty when someone dies? Apparantly, concepts like having life insurance, owning furniture, etc, don't apply in filmland. Whenever tragedy strikes in a film, we discover that every house is double-mortgaged to the hilt. Maybe this is a subtle comment on American consumerism. Mother's only recourse after this turn of events is to take her children back to her relatives she has alienated by marrying her own uncle. She actually encourages her children to sleep in the same bed, as if "normalizing" her own act of incest by perpetuating it in her children who don't know any better. Naturally, the relatives are evil and twisted, and lock the children in the attic, and we discover that mother is definitely from the same family stock. There are too many reviews that give a blow by blow description of the plot for me to repeat them, but my main observation is that this is a typical copout "provocative" movie, with a sicker-than-usual theme; it "alludes" to incest, without actually confronting it, which causes the story to fall between the cracks in a bad way. It becomes irrelevant to the story, and there isn't much of a story here to begin with. Either the incest theme should have been eliminated entirely, or dealt with frankly. Instead, we are shown scenes of brother washing his sister's back in the tub, undressing in front of each other, etc. Sex is never shown, though it is left up to our imaginations whether they are actually in a sexual relationship or just never taught that brothers and sisters don't undress in front of each other. The only thing that works is the way the characters don't know that what they are doing is wrong, in fact are innocent to the implications. The movie tries to have its cake and eat it too, i.e. imply incest and then chicken out, but gives us insulting implied scenes as if we are being nudged in the ribs by a pervert in the local porn shop, only not as subtle. Implying incest without confronting it in an honest way makes us feel as if we are being manipulated into having perverted fantasies about these characters ourselves, which is the most disgusting aspect of this film, and is my biggest problem with it. An intelligent script could have dealt with incest in a psychological way, as we understand these characters' relations with each other, and eliminated all the sudsy bath sequences (which true pervs will be dissappointed in, as they don't actually show anything) that makes us feel like we are peeking in someone's bathroom window.

An intelligent script would also deal with the idea of family betrayal (by the mother) in an intelligent way; but this isn't an intelligent script. It relies entirely on atmosphere and images of betrayal, which don't work or are extremely heavy-handed. This is a very depressing movie about depressing ideas, depressingly presented. Only the final line "Eat the cookie, mother!" gives it a surreal hilarity for a moment.

The saddest part of this movie is that the actors are all very good; but they are completely wasted, because the script and direction isn't there to support them. Four out of ten stars.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

20 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flowers in the Attic See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,020,317, 22 November 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Fries Entertainment See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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