Ghost (1990) Poster



Director Jerry Zucker's favorite film of his own.
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The role of Oda Mae Brown was not written with Whoopi Goldberg in mind, but Patrick Swayze, an admirer of hers, convinced the producers that she would be right for the part.
Patrick Swayze said that the pottery scene was the sexiest thing he had ever done on film.
The horrific sounds made by the "dark shadows" are really the sounds of baby's cries, played at extremely slow speed backwards.
Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin wanted Patrick Swayze to play Sam Wheat after he saw an interview Swayze gave. When he brought up his father, Swayze burst into tears. Rubin thought if a macho guy like Patrick Swayze could cry over a loved one, he'd be perfect for this movie.
Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin did not like the idea of the Dark Spirits having faces and hands. He thought they should have looked more like shadows come to life, not ghouls with human features.
Patrick Swayze alleged that Sam Wheat was the hardest role he ever played in his career, mainly because he had to be an observer to the action, and not a participant.
The role of Molly Jensen was given to Demi Moore largely in part because Moore could cry out of either eye on cue.
In the farewell scene where Sam tells Molly that he always loved her, Patrick Swayze's emotion was real, for he thought about his own father, who passed away in 1982.
It took several months for Director Jerry Zucker and Writer Bruce Joel Rubin to come up with Sam's last line in the film.
Molly tells Sam that he "leads a charmed life". This is a line from William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Macbeth also claims to lead a charmed life, meaning he cannot be killed. Immediately after making this claim, however, he is killed. Sam is killed after seeing a production of Macbeth.
Patrick Swayze and Vincent Schiavelli, who played the subway ghost in the scenes with Swayze's character, both died of cancer at the age of fifty-seven.
The pot wasn't supposed to fall apart, but Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore just kept going.
For several years, Patrick Swayze had women coming up to and asking him to recite the line "Ditto" from the movie.
Bruce Joel Rubin originally pitched Oda Mae as a real psychic. But producers thought it would be funnier if she were a charlatan who starts hearing Sam.
When they were filming the chase scene at night in New York City, it was really cold, and everyone else was bundled up except for Patrick Swayze's character Sam Wheat, and since he's a ghost they didn't want his breath showing so they had him chew ice.
Demi Moore came up with rolling the jar down the stairs, as opposed to throwing it as scripted.
When passing through solid objects, ghosts appear to absorb some of the material, through which they are going. Jerry Zucker had some difficulty explaining what he wanted this effect to look like. Finally, he illustrated it by dipping a napkin into coffee.
When it came time to cast the film, writer Bruce Joel Rubin suggested Patrick Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat. Director Jerry Zucker felt that Swayze was completely wrong for the part. Many actors that included Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, David Duchovny, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Paul Hogan (who instead made Almost an Angel (1990)), Kevin Kline, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, John Travolta, and Bruce Willis (Demi Moore's husband at the time, who didn't think the film would work) were all offered the part, but all turned it down, feeling that playing a ghost would be cheesy. Zucker then decided to audition Swayze, though he thought he would blow the audition. To Zucker's surprise, Swayze gave a great audition, and was cast immediately for the part.
The filmmakers spent a long time casting Carl because they wanted a big-name actor. But they kept returning to the unknown Tony Goldwyn's audition tape and finally cast him.
The shirt that Molly is wearing in the police station is the same shirt Sam was wearing at work the day he was late meeting the Japanese clients. It even appears to be wrinkled, as if she hadn't washed it so she could feel closer to Sam.
Jerry Zucker and Bruce Joel Rubin thought that Tony Goldwyn was too nice to play the villain. Goldwyn had to convince them that Carl needed to be both nice and evil to be believable.
Patrick Swayze explained why he did the film, "I needed to do Ghost for my soul. I'd just come off Road House (1989) and Next of Kin (1989), and I didn't want to be considered just an action actor."
Luis Guzmán (who was considered for the role of Willie Lopez) revealed in a documentary focused on character actors that he's frequently stopped by fans of the movie who think he's the actor who played Sam's killer. People ask him why he killed Patrick Swayze, to which he always replies that Rick Aviles, the actor in question, was the one who did it.
When Demi Moore was cast, she had long hair and didn't tell Director Jerry Zucker she was going to cut it. Zucker was shocked, and at first didn't like it, but he now thinks it was perfect for her character.
Paul Hogan was offered, but passed on the role of Sam Wheat, because he felt it wasn't funny. However, Paul Hogan offered Patrick Swayze the role of Steve Garner in his supernatural comedy Almost an Angel (1990), but Swayze turned it down to do this film. Elias Koteas got the part instead.
Of all the characters Bruce Joel Rubin has written, Oda Mae Brown remains his favorite.
The film turned Demi Moore into the highest paid actress in Hollywood at the time. Prior to this film, while she was a well-known actress, she wasn't a bankable star.
When the movie was first released on VHS in 1991, the tapes were light or "ghost" gray.
Bruce Joel Rubin started crying when he wrote Molly's "Ditto".
At a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of the film, Demi Moore told the audience her initial feelings on the film. "It's a love story, and it's a guy, a dead guy, trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it's a love story", Moore said. "And I thought, 'Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.' It's either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust." She went on to talk about what made the film special. "I think the beauty in this film is that none of us knew, and the alchemy that came together with Whoopi and Patrick, and our Film Editor, Walter Murch, and Adam Greenberg, our DP, it just had a magic."
This is one of the few supernatural themed films to be nominated for Best Picture.
Demi Moore wanted the pottery scene to look authentic, so she and Jerry Zucker took pottery lessons.
Shortly before production began, Whoopi Goldberg was unsure if she was going to be able to put this movie into her work schedule. The part was then verbally offered to Jackée Harry, who accepted. However, at the last minute, Goldberg was able to do the film after all and Harry was dropped.
Bruce Joel Rubin got the idea for the film while watching a production of Hamlet. When Hamlet's dead father tells him to avenge his death, Rubin thought that would make a great movie.
Bruce Joel Rubin used to say "ditto" to his high school girlfriend instead of "I love you".
The success of this film, along with Pretty Woman (1990), is credited with making romantic films more viable at the box-office.
Patrick Swayze chewed on ice to make sure you couldn't see his breath. Ghosts, of course, don't breathe.
Tony Goldwyn recalled to the A.V. Club in 2014 that his role as the conniving, murderous Carl prompted a waitress to refuse to serve him. He couldn't figure out why she was shooting him death stares, until she finally asked him if he was an actor. "She said, "I'm so sorry! I knew I hated you, but I didn't know where from, and because I couldn't place who you were'", Goldwyn said.
Demi Moore and Vincent Schiavelli shared the same birthday, November 11. Schiavelli and Patrick Swayze died at the age of fifty-seven; Schiavelli from lung cancer, and Swayze from pancreatic cancer.
Bruce Joel Rubin believes that two things date the film, the computer monitors and Arsenio Hall.
The interior of Molly and Sam's finished loft apartment was actually the home and studio of artist sculptor Michele Oka Doner, located in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.
The scene with Molly at the police station was the first scene to be filmed.
The song Sam sings relentlessly to Oda Mae to get her to agree to help him is "Henry the Eighth, I Am". The lyrics, in part, are "She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam..." Patrick Swayze's character is named Sam, and the man who murdered him is named Willie.
Jerry Zucker didn't want to focus on Carl with his shirt off, so he filmed a lot of close-ups.
On September 15, 2009, Whoopi Goldberg announced Patrick Swayze's death on The View (1997) and paid an emotional heartfelt tribute to her friend and co-star.
The highest-grossing film of 1990.
Starting in the early 1990s (shortly after the release of this movie), hip-hop lyrics often included Patrick Swayze's name or the phrase "I'm Swayze" as a reference to or replacement for the earlier slang, "I'm ghost", meaning "I'm leaving/out of here/gone, et cetera." The Notorious B.I.G. was one artist who was especially fond of including this phrase in his songs. Swayze's appearance in the video for Ja Rule's "Murder Reigns" was also a reference to this movie's and his own interesting place in hip-hop culture.
The film's general storyline is expanded from an old urban legend dealing with a spirit of a recently deceased trying to warn their loved one of an imminent danger.
Vincent Schiavelli's ghost character breaks open a cigarette machine and longs to be able to have another smoke. In real-life, Schiavelli died of lung cancer.
At theatrical showings in Monterrey, Mexico, women in the audience were given envelopes marked "Solo para mujeres" (for women only) containing tissues.
Jerry Zucker set out to make a movie that "made you laugh, cry, get scared. The movie is a roller-coaster ride."
The subway scenes were filmed on the abandoned lower level of the 42nd Street station of the IND 8th Avenue line. Trains appearing in the film wrong-railed through the station; that is, they ran in the opposite direction of normal operation.
Demi Moore was nervous about taking this role, because Molly is mourning so soon into the movie. But she made sure to play Molly as a strong character.
In an interview with The L.A Times, Bruce Joel Rubin revealed that he was sceptical of Jerry Zucker for his script, as he wanted either Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick. The pair went through nineteen drafts of the screenplay together, and Zucker gave the script more structure.
Initially, Bruce Joel Rubin was unsure about Jerry Zucker directing his script, with Zucker coming from a background of screwball comedy.
Bruce Joel Rubin had to fight to get the film made. He started pitching it to studios in 1984.
Patti LaBelle auditioned for the role of Oda Mae Brown.
The first film where Jerry Zucker received a sole directing credit.
Eddie Murphy was considered for a role, but his agent turned it down for him.
This is one of two Patrick Swayze films to have songs by Bill Medley, the other being Dirty Dancing (1987).
Kim Basinger, Geena Davis, Helen Hunt, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andie MacDowell, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan, Mary Steenburgen, Kathleen Turner, and Debra Winger, were considered for the role of Molly Jensen. Had Leigh gotten the role, this would have made the first live-action movie since Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) that Vincent Schiavelli been in the same live-action movie, even though they wouldn't have had any scenes together. Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) was animated, so they only did voice-overs.
Rotten Tomatoes has the movie kept at an "R" rating, despite the MPAA officially approved the film to be rated "PG-13".
Whoopi Goldberg's character is named Oda Mae Brown. Later in the film, she briefly uses the name Rita Miller. Taken together, the names are a friendly shout-out to Writer Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle.
Jerry Zucker came up with the iconic pottery scene while working on The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988). A year later, his brother David Zucker parodied it in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) starring Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley.
Although the concept of a light white tunnel that moves souls from Earth to the Afterlife was "discovered" to the world population by Dr. Raymond Moody in 1975, the first person to show it was Hieronymus Bosch, a Renaissance painter, who in 1490 made a painting called "Ascent of the Blessed". In the painting can be seen, through concentric circles, a tunnel used by some souls to travel to the Afterlife.
In her first role, Sondra Rubin playing a nun was ironic, because she never went out in public without make-up. She is the real-life mother of Bruce Joel Rubin, and was given a cameo in the film.
Several supernatural phenomenons appeared in this movie: -Ghosts close to living people (Sam stands at Molly's side, instead of advancing to the Afterlife). -Possession (Orlando's ghost enters Oda Mae Brown's body). -Mediumnity (Oda Mae realizes that she can hear ghosts; later too can see them). -Poltergeist (ghost in black moves physical objects in the subway; eventually Sam learns it).
Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) was named after a grade-school teacher that Bruce Joel Rubin didn't like.
Oda Mae Brown tells Molly that Willie Lopez lives at 303 Prospect Place Apt 4D, but the actual apartment building used for the exterior shots is located at 592 Prospect Place in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.
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Oda Mae goes nuts and wants Sam to stop singing. Patrick Swayze in real-life was a one-hit wonder; he had a top ten hit with "She's Like the Wind" from the Dirty Dancing (1987) soundtrack.
Part of the events seen in the movie are taken indirectly from the book "Life After Life", written by Dr. Raymond Moody and published in 1975, a series of compilations about people who by a brief time were dead and later lived again, called NDE or Near-Death Experience. Between them, the concept of a light white tunnel, which appears when a person dies to take his soul to the Afterlife (in the movie it appears three times: when Sam dies, when a man dies in an operating room, and when Sam saves Oda Mae and Molly, completing his unfinished business). The second part is the idea of black spirits who capture the souls of bad people to take to other side of the Afterlife, called Lower Astral, a place similar to Judeo-Christian Hell to punish and torture them. The third part is people, maybe friends and familiars, who wait to receive the recent dead to the Afterlife. It is showed when Sam walks toward the Afterlife at the end of the movie, where he mixes with a lot of spirits who wait for him (as they appear in diffuse figures in blue, it's impossible to know if they are Sam's friends or familiars).
Oprah Winfrey and Tina Turner were up for the part of Oda Mae.
Currently on the market is the spacious 4,341-square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, where Sam and Molly got clay all over themselves, and where they said their final goodbyes. The loft was originally listed for ten and a half million dollars but was recently lowered to a more budget-friendly ten million dollars. It has three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator.
The music you hear when Sam is getting murdered, and just before he goes to the white light is also heard in The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990) in several scenes.
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After withdrawing the four million dollars at the bank, Whoopi Goldberg endorses the check and gives it to a pair of nuns on the sidewalk. She played a nun in Sister Act (1992) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).
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Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) does not make an official appearance in this movie until the thirty-nine minute and thirty second mark.
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Tom Finnegan and Patrick Swayze appeared in Road House (1989).
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Cameo: Susan Breslau: She is Jerry Zucker's real-life sister, and has a cameo playing the character Susan, named after her.
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Tony Goldwyn's (Carl Bruner's) wife was the Production Designer.
Patrick Swayze turned down the supporting role of Steve Garner in Almost an Angel (1990) to do this film. Paul Hogan, who starred in that movie, had been offered to play Sam Wheat, but he turned it down after reading the script, as he felt it wasn't funny.
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Whoopi Goldberg became the first actress to win Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards and Golden Globe Awards, for her role in this film.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
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Whoopi Goldberg gave money to nuns and then played a nun in Sister Act (1992) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993).
In the apartment of Oda Mae Brown and her two sisters, you can see for a few seconds a poster of The Who on the outside of the bedroom door next to the bathroom as Sam's ghost is pushing and scaring Willy who ends up knocking the poster down and falls into the bathroom area.
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Ken Olin was considered for the role of Carl Bruner, but his committment to Thirtysomething (1987) prevented him from accepting the part.
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In 2013, it was reported that Paramount Television had tapped Writer and Producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie. Since then, no information has been released as to whether the pilot actually came to fruition.
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Sondra Rubin: Writer Bruce Joel Rubin's mother, who played the nun who faints over the size of the check that Oda Mae endorses.
Charlotte Zucker: Director Jerry Zucker's mother (who has appeared in many of the Zucker brothers' movies) plays the bank officer.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Bruce Willis was offered the role as Sam, but turned it down because he didn't think the movie would work with the main character being dead most of the movie. When this movie went on to become a huge success, he referred to himself as a "knucklehead" for saying no. Nine years later, he said yes to playing another main character who is dead most of the movie, but doesn't know it, in The Sixth Sense (1999), which also went on to become a huge success.
A total of twenty ghosts appeared throughout the movie: -Sam Wheat. -An old man who talks with Sam in the hospital, explaining that he's waiting for his wife in the cardiac wing. -A young man who dies in an operating room, ascending by a white light tunnel. -A woman in a blue dress at the cemetery during Sam's funeral. -Ghost of a man in black in the subway. -Eleven ghosts who appear in Spiritual Advisor (Oda Mae's store), plus two more who appear entering in the shop. -Willie Lopez. -Carl Bruner.
Body count: four, all of them men (Sam Wheat, man at hospital, Willie Lopez, and Carl Bruner).

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