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To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996)

David's wife died 2 years ago. He, his teen daughter Rachel, her cute friend and 2 in-laws trying to fix him up with a friend, are all spending the weekend at his beach house. David still "talks to his wife" and neglects Rachel.


Michael Pressman


Michael Brady (play), David E. Kelley (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Peter Gallagher ... David Lewis
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Gillian Lewis
Claire Danes ... Rachel Lewis
Laurie Fortier ... Cindy Bayles
Wendy Crewson ... Kevin Dollof
Bruce Altman ... Paul Wheeler
Kathy Baker ... Esther Wheeler
Freddie Prinze Jr. ... Joey Bost
Rachel Seidman-Lockamy Rachel Seidman-Lockamy ... Megan Weeks
Lorielle New ... Blonde on the Beach (as Lori New)
Danny Crook Danny Crook ... Lifeguard
Seth Green ... Danny
Todd Haven Todd Haven ... Paramedic


David Lewis is affected by the death of his wife Gillian, who fell from the mast pole of their boat on a sailing trip two years ago. David deals with his grief by continuing his romance with Gillian during walks with her ghost on the beach at night. While David lives in the past, other family problems crop up in the present in the real world. He neglects his teenage daughter Rachel and his in-laws come for a weekend visit to help her. Rachel has lost her mother and needs her father to snap back into the real world and help her. Written by David Stumme <dstumme@rochester.rr.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You're invited to Gillian's 37th birthday. There will be music in the air...castles in the sand...and someone totally unexpected at the party. See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene involving strong language, and for some sensuality and teen drinking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


After Cindy models her blue bikini for Rachel, she pulls out a red bikini & tells Rachel she got it for her. The next day at the beach however Rachel is wearing a dark blue plaid bikini not red. See more »


David Lewis: She's ungracious, she's arrogant and this year she's going to gag on the taste of unmitigated defeat.
Paul Wheeler: She's nine.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A beach scene was re-shot with Clare Danes in a much less revealing thong bikini. The safer version can still be found on some prints. See more »


Heartbeat Crazy
Written by Lori Carson, Camus Celli and Andres Levin
Performed by Reneé Cologne
See more »

User Reviews

works much better as a play
19 November 2004 | by Allen-31See all my reviews

I watched this film a number of years ago. And how could I resist? This is the film version of the play I directed at the Walla Walla Little Theater for my senior project in theater back in 1990.

Suffice to say, this movie really does away with the cozy script and the well-rounded characters to present something much more "TV-slick" and less than emotionally satisfying. Virtually no character is the same, and many have been given personality lobotomies for no apparent reason.

If you get a chance to see "Gillian" at your local theater, go. It's works well in a more intimate, live setting. Here, the changed story is so much wasted potential.

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Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$77,725, 20 October 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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