Pretty Woman (1990) - Plot Summary Poster



Showing all 6 items
Jump to:


  • A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets... only to fall in love.

  • Because of his extreme wealth and suave good looks, Edward Lewis could seemingly have any woman he wants, that committed significant other which he needs on his arm at social events to further how he makes his money as a corporate raider. However, he focuses more on his corporate raiding pursuits with his partner in crime, Philip Stuckey, his lawyer of ten years, than those women, with every significant other he's had in his life feeling neglected and eventually leaving him, this fact about which he is just coming to the realization. In Beverly Hills, Edward, in needing that woman on his arms as he and Philip work toward taking over the company owned by the increasingly insolvent James Morse, decides, based on a chance encounter, to hire Hollywood Boulevard hooker Vivian Ward as his escort for the week 24/7. He does so because he wants to have a professional who would be committed to the work, yet not have any commitments to her after the week is over. Beyond their chance encounter, he also makes this decision because she surprises him about how unhookerish she is in certain respects. Vivian, relatively new to Los Angeles and the business, still has to look and act the part, with Edward, beyond giving her money, leaving her largely to her own devices to do so. So she gets a somewhat unlikely Henry Higgins in Barney Thompson, the manager of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where Edward is staying. Barney has to draw that fine line of keeping the hotel's upscale clients happy, while maintaining the posh decorum of the upper class, which does not include people coming into the hotel looking for rooms with hourly rates. As Barney and his associates are able to transform Vivian into a Cinderella, the questions become whether Vivian can go back to her Hollywood Boulevard life and whether she does have her Prince Charming beyond this week in the form of Edward or anyone else who truly does see her as Cinderella as opposed to a Hollywood Boulevard streetwalker.

  • High-powered businessman Edward Lewis has broken up with his girlfriend after an unpleasant phone call wherein he asked her to escort him during his business trip - she is offended that he treats her as his "beck and call girl". Edward is a corporate raider, who buys companies that are in financial trouble and tears down the company piece by piece. Leaving a business party in the Hollywood Hills, he takes his lawyer's Lotus Esprit sports car, and accidentally ends up on Hollywood Boulevard in the city's red-light district, where he encounters prostitute Vivian Ward.

  • Edward is a rich, ruthless businessman who specializes in taking over companies and then selling them off piece by piece. He travels to Los Angeles for a business trip and decides to hire a prostitute. They take a liking to each other and he offers her money if she'll stay with him for an entire week while he makes the "rich and famous" scene (since it doesn't do for a man of his stature to be alone at society parties and polo matches). Romantic comedy (and complications) ensue.

  • Vivian Ward has found a way of living by working as a prostitute on Hollywood Boulevard. When she runs into the prince of her dreams, who comes along on his wild horse, she first does not recognize him as her saviour. The prince, a ruthless and wealthy businessman by the name of Edward Lewis, does not know that she could be more than just a girl from the sidewalk, but he changes his decision after the first night with the beautiful stranger. Her being the first person in a long time who could surprise him, Edward can slowly feel the light at the end of the tunnel. He is on his way to become a better person, whereas Vivian has got a new chance to start over again.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A very successful, wealthy lawyer, Edward Lewis, hires a beautiful and unlikely prostitute, Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), from Sunset Blvd to bring along to various business events. An attraction developes between the two, and Edward finds it harder and harder to let the infectious, kind-hearted Vivian go.

    Businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) breaks up with his girlfriend, who doesn't want to be at his "beck and call" at a swanky party held by his partner Philip Stuckey, and cuts loose in Stuckey's Lotus. He gets lost and stops along Hollywood Boulevard for directions from hooker Vivenne Ward (Julia Roberts). She charges, gets in and ends up driving him to his hotel in Beverley Hills. He asks her up to his penthouse suite on a whim and pays her to stay all night, although seems uncomfortable at first.

    The following morning he asks her to stay all week for $3000. He also gives her money for clothes and says she needs to be at his "beck and call" with no strings attached. She calls her room-mate Kit (Laura San Giacomo) to leave her money for the rent, and goes shopping on Rodeo Drive for more appropriate clothes. However, snooty saleswomen won't serve her as she is still dressed like a hooker, and she returns to the hotel, where she gets stopped by the hotel manager, Barney (Hector Elizondo). He wants to make it clear that they are making an exception having her at the hotel as Edward is such a special guest. Vivienne gets upset as she still has no outfit for dinner, and Barney helps her, along with coaching her on dinner etiquette. When Edwards returns, he is amazed by Vivienne's new look. The business dinner goes well, but Edward is preoccupied with the deal afterwards.

    The next day, Vivienne tells him about the experience shoppingt the previous day, and Edward takes her back to spend an obscene amount of money on clothes, leaving her to go back to his work as she is transformed from hooker to lady. She goes back to the shop from the previous day to show them the big mistake they made! Back at hotel, she looks like a genuine guest, but when Edward gets home he is still busy with work, and they take a bath together and talk into the night about their pasts and how they ended up where they are today.

    The following day, Edward takes Vivienne to the polo. While Vivienne chats to David Morse, the grandson of the man involved in Edward's latest deal, Philip is worried she is a spy. Edward reassures him by telling him how they met, and Philip then comes on to Vivienne. When they return to the hotel, she is furious with Edward for telling him, and plans to leave, but he persuades her to see out the week. Edward leaves work early the next day and takes Vivienne on a date to the Opera in his private jet. She clearly is moved by the music, and says "If I forget to tell you later, I had a wonderful time tonight". On returning to the hotel, he falls asleep (the first time we have seen this) while she is getting ready for bed, and she kisses him on the lips - she doesn't do this with clients - and they make love as partners, rather than client and hooker. Over breakfast, Edward offers to put her up in an apartment so he can continue seeing her, but she feels insulted and says this is not the fairytale she wants. He then goes off to work without resolving the situation. Kit comes to the hotel and sees that she has fallen for him, but she denies it.

    Edward meets Morse, about to close the deal, and changes his mind at the last minute. His time with Vivienne has shown him another way of being - taking time off and enjoying life - and working. He wants to create things rather than just making money. Philip is livid, and goes to the hotel. Vivienne is there and he blames her for changing Edward - he comes onto her again, and then hits her before Edward returns and pulls him off and chucks him out.

    Vivienne leaves, and is seen back at home with Kit, packing up to leave for San Franscisco. Edward gets into the car with the chauffeur that took her home, and rather than going to the airport, he goes to her apartment and climbs up the fire escpae (despite being afraid of heights) with a rose in his mouth, to woo her like in a fairy-story.

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed