6.4/10
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The First Wives Club (1996)

PG | | Comedy | 20 September 1996 (USA)
Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
Reunited by the death of a college friend, three divorced women seek revenge on the husbands who left them for younger women.

Director:

Hugh Wilson

Writers:

Olivia Goldsmith (novel), Robert Harling (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,079 ( 737)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Goldie Hawn ... Elise Elliot Atchison
Bette Midler ... Brenda Morelli Cushman
Diane Keaton ... Annie MacDuggan Paradis
Maggie Smith ... Gunilla Garson Goldberg
Sarah Jessica Parker ... Shelly Stewart
Dan Hedaya ... Morton Cushman
Stockard Channing ... Cynthia Swann Griffin
Victor Garber ... Bill Atchison
Stephen Collins ... Aaron Paradis
Elizabeth Berkley ... Phoebe LaVelle
Marcia Gay Harden ... Dr. Leslie Rosen
Bronson Pinchot ... Duarto Feliz
Jennifer Dundas ... Chris Paradis
Eileen Heckart ... Catherine MacDuggan
Philip Bosco ... Uncle Carmine
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Storyline

After years of helping their hubbies climb the ladder of success, three wives have been dumped for newer, curvier models. But the trio is determined to turn their pain into gain. They come up with a cleverly devious plan to hit their exes where it really hurts, in the wallet. Sit back and watch the sparks fly as The Wives get mad, get even, and get it all. Justice has seldom been so sweet. Or so much fun.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Getting even... this fall. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some mild language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The First Wives Club See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,913,411, 22 September 1996

Gross USA:

$105,489,203

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$181,489,203
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Oscar statuette Bette Midler's character Brenda picks up in Elise's apartment actually belongs to Goldie Hawn. Brenda sniffs and snidely asks if it's filled with chocolate. Midler has never won an Oscar. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence at College, the girls all line up for a photo. Cynthia is the tallest by a large degree. When seen grown up, due to their actor counterparts, Cynthia would have been the shortest by far, as Stockard Channing is shorter than Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton at 5"2. See more »

Quotes

Elise: Annie, you choose. Who's your friend? Me or Brenda?
Brenda: Yeah, for once in your life make a decision? Who's your friend? Some Beverly Hills science project?
Elise: Or a woman with her own aisle at the supermarket?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Moving On Up'
Written by Mike Pickering and Paul Heard
Performed by M People
See more »

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User Reviews

Okay entertainment
24 July 2017 | by BlueghostSee all my reviews

I guess the thing that strikes me about this film is that a couple decades earlier there was a film called "9 to 5" about three working ladies who had a conniving boss. They put their heads together and overcome his scheming to benefit all. And yet this film, for all the similarities in terms of the number of lead women, their commonality of circumstance and so forth, their solution only benefits them and others like them.

The other thing that hit me while watching this film is that it wasn't that funny. It was amusing in parts, it moved well, was well acted, had a decent story, but there wasn't much comedy in it. There really weren't too many clever and unexpected moments that typically make an audience laugh in the theatre. And that's the thing that's been missing from a lot of film since the early 80s. Truly. No joke.

It was nice to see Keaton, Midler, and Hawn in a very energetic film, but the script wasn't that funny. In fact it was hardly funny at all. I can't help but think of "9 to 5" again when Parton leans out from the trunk of Tomlin's car with a dead body and says "Judy, could you come here for a minute?" with a knowing bright eyed grin. That's comedy. That's humor. That's funny. But "First Wives Club"?

"First Wives Club" is about revenge and empowerment of wives who were dumped for younger men. Not having been married, also being a male, I have to say that I'm not the target audience for this thing, but even if I were I think the film could have been broader reaching in appeal. We've all been taken advantage of. It's a universal truth about both sexes. And that's the missed golden opportunity here that this film missed out on; i.e. these women may have been victims because they were married to these guys, but surely their ill behavior affected more than just them, and that any justice served by the three women would be a universal blow for all who were mistreated by these ex-husbands.

But that isn't what we get, and so the film falls flat on that score, but manages to eek out a few smiles and nods of agreement among divorced women.

The film has a certain zest to it, but it's not a very well written script. Or, better yet, the scripts focus of whom to allow to identify with these characters is way too narrowly focused, and needed a major rewrite to show the suffering from husbands with flawed characters is not just "a ladies' thing", so to speak.

Maybe give it a shot if you have nothing better to do (as I did), but there are better films out there.


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