Moonstruck
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Written byJohn Patrick Shanley
Produced by
  • Norman Jewison
  • Patrick Palmer
Starring
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited byLou Lombardo
Music byDick Hyman
Production
companies
Distributed byMGM/UA Communications Co.
Release date
  • December 18, 1987 (1987-12-18) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$122.1 million

Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-produced by Norman Jewison, written by John Patrick Shanley, and starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Olympia Dukakis, and Vincent Gardenia. The film follows Loretta Castorini, a widowed Italian-American woman who falls in love with her fiancé's hot-tempered, estranged younger brother.

Moonstruck had a limited theatrical release on December 18, 1987, and was released nationally on January 15, 1988 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film earned critical and commercial success. It received six nominations at the 60th Academy Awards, winning three for Best Actress (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Dukakis), and Best Original Screenplay (Shanley).

Plot

Thirty-seven year old Loretta Castorini, an Italian-American widow, works as a bookkeeper and lives in Brooklyn Heights with her parents, Cosmo and Rose, and her paternal grandfather. Loretta's boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri, proposes to her before leaving for Sicily to tend to his dying mother. Loretta accepts, but she insists on carefully following tradition as she believes failing to do so originally led to her first husband's sudden death after two years of marriage. Johnny asks Loretta to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny to the wedding; Ronny and Johnny have not spoken in five years. Loretta returns home and informs her parents of the engagement. Cosmo, who runs a successful plumbing business, dislikes Johnny and is reluctant to pay for Loretta's planned "real" wedding. Hearing that Loretta likes but does not love Johnny, Rose tells her that true love can cause romantic partners to be easily hurt by each other.

Loretta goes to see Ronny at the bakery he owns and learns Ronny has a wooden prosthetic hand caused by absentmindedly putting his hand in a bread slicer while having a conversation with Johnny; Ronny's fiancée subsequently left him. Loretta insists that they talk privately. They go to Ronny's apartment, where Loretta cooks a meal, and both have several alcoholic beverages. Loretta compares Ronny to a wolf that would gnaw off its paw to escape a trap and claims he deliberately injured his hand to escape a bad relationship. Ronny reacts furiously and passionately, kissing Loretta; to her surprise, Loretta kisses him back. Ronny carries Loretta to his bed, where they make love.

That evening, Rose's brother Raymond and his wife Rita join Rose, Cosmo, and Cosmo’s father for dinner and they wonder where Loretta is. Raymond recalls a particularly bright moon that he believes was in the sky when Cosmo was courting Rose, which Loretta and Ronny witness as well. The next morning, Loretta is overcome with guilt, but Ronny promises to never bother her again if she attends a performance of La bohème at the Met with him. Loretta goes to church to confess her infidelity and afterwards calls at Raymond and Rita's store to close out the cash register. Upon leaving, she impulsively goes to a hair salon and buys a glamorous evening gown and shoes at a boutique.

Loretta is deeply moved by La bohème. While leaving the opera, she sees Cosmo, accompanied by his mistress, Mona, and confronts him. As Loretta is with Ronny, Cosmo suggests that Loretta keep their encounter a secret. Loretta attempts to return home, but Ronny desperately persuades her into another tryst. That same night, Rose dines alone at a restaurant and sees a college professor, Perry, being dramatically dumped by a female student. Taking pity on Perry, Rose invites him to dine with her instead, allowing him to walk her home but refusing to invite him in because she is loyal to her marriage. Later, Johnny unexpectedly returns from Sicily after his mother's "miraculous" recovery and meets with Rose at the Castorini house. They agree that men chase after women for fear of death.

Returning home next morning, Loretta is distressed to learn from Rose that Johnny will be there soon. Ronny arrives, and Rose invites him for breakfast over Loretta's objections. Cosmo and his father emerge from upstairs; Grandpa insists that Cosmo agree to pay for Loretta's wedding. Rose then confronts Cosmo and demands that he end his affair; he is upset but gives in and, at Rose's insistence, also agrees to go to confession. Both reaffirm their love for each other. Raymond and Rita arrive, concerned that Loretta had not deposited the previous day's takings at the bank, and are relieved to learn that she merely forgot and still has the money. When Johnny finally arrives, he breaks off the engagement, superstitiously believing that their marriage would cause his mother's death. Loretta berates Johnny for breaking his promise and throws the engagement ring at him. Ronny borrows the ring and asks Loretta to marry him, to which she agrees. The family toasts the couple with champagne and Johnny joins in at Grandpa's urging, since he will now be part of the family after all.

Cast

Reception

Box office

On its wide release, the film finished third at the US box office and spent 20 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 and finally grossed $80,640,528 in the United States and Canada.[3] Internationally it grossed $41.5 million for a worldwide total of $122.1 million,[4] on a budget of $15 million.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on reviews from 70 critics, with an average score of 7.9/10. The site's consensus read, "Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies."[5] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 83 out of 100 based on reviews from 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Time wrote, "John Patrick Shanley's witty, shapely script puts an octet of New Yorkers under a lunar-tuney spell one romantic night. Cher shines brightest of all."[8] Roger Ebert, who later added the film among his "Great Movies" list, said: "Reviews of the movie tend to make it sound like a madcap ethnic comedy, and that it is. But there is something more here, a certain bittersweet yearning that comes across as ineffably romantic, and a certain magical quality".[9] Film historian Leonard Maltin gave the picture 4 out of 4 stars.[10]

Gene Siskel, writing for the Chicago Tribune, recommended "Moonstruck, which is being sold as a romance but actually is one of the funniest pictures to come out in quite some time. [...] You will not easily forget this incredibly robust family, created by writer John Patrick Shanley and directed by Norman Jewison, who makes a comeback with this uproarious film."[11]

It appeared on both critics' Top 10 lists for 1987.[12]

Accolades

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Picture Norman Jewison and Patrick Palmer Nominated [13]
Best Director Norman Jewison Nominated
Best Actress Cher Won
Best Supporting Actor Vincent Gardenia Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen John Patrick Shanley Won
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Cher Nominated
Funniest Supporting Male Performer – Motion Picture or TV Vincent Gardenia Nominated
Funniest Supporting Female Performer – Motion Picture or TV Olympia Dukakis Won
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Casting – Comedy Howard Feuer Won [14]
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Dick Hyman Won
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Norman Jewison Nominated [15]
Best Director Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Cher Nominated [16]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Olympia Dukakis Nominated
Best Original Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Best Film Music Dick Hyman Nominated
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Actress Cher Won
Best Foreign Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nominated [17]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nicolas Cage Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Cher Won
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Olympia Dukakis Won
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Japan Academy Film Prize Outstanding Foreign Language Film Nominated
Jupiter Awards Best International Actress Cher Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won [18]
Best Actress Cher Won
Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Won [19]
Best Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Runner-up
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Actress Cher Won
Best Female Dubbing Ludovica Modugno (for dubbing Cher) Won
National Board of Review Awards Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won [20]
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Runner-up [21]
Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Actress Cher Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen John Patrick Shanley Won [22]

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Moonstruck was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the romantic comedy genre.[23][24] The film is also number 72 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and number 41 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Influential film critic Roger Ebert entered the film to his "Great Movies" collection in June 2003.[32]

Soundtrack

Song Artist Notes
That's Amore Dean Martin Harry Warren, Jack Brooks
Canzone Per Loretta/Addio, Mulberry Street Jack Zaza (mandolin) Dick Hyman
Mr. Moon Dick Hyman
It Must Be Him Vikki Carr Gilbert Bécaud, Mack David, Maurice Vidalin
Old Man Mazurka Dominic Cortese (accordion) Dick Hyman
Lament for Johnny's Mama Dick Hyman
Che gelida manina Ed Bickert (guitar) Giacomo Puccini
Donde lieta uscì Renata Tebaldi Giacomo Puccini
Canzone Per Loretta Dick Hyman
O soave fanciulla Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Tebaldi Giacomo Puccini
Musetta's Waltz Moe Koffman (alto saxophone) Giacomo Puccini
Musetta's Entrance Nora Shulman (flute) Giacomo Puccini
La bohème (instrumental excerpts) Giacomo Puccini
(In Loretta's Bedroom) Gettin' Ready Moe Koffman (alto saxophone) Dick Hyman
Brooklyn Heights Stroll Dick Hyman
Beautiful Signorina Dick Hyman
Moonglow Eddie DeLange, Will Hudson, Irving Mills
Canzone Per Loretta Dominic Cortese (accordion) Dick Hyman
Gioventù mia, tu non sei morta (La bohème, act 2) Carlo Bergonzi, Cesare Siepi, Ettore Bastianini, Fernando Corena, Gianna D'Angelo, Renata Tebaldi, Renato Cesari Giacomo Puccini

Soundtrack references: [33][34]

References

  1. ^ Box Office Information for Moonstruck. Archived 2017-07-08 at the Wayback Machine TheWrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013
  2. ^ a b There is an error in the credits: that name has "gg", but in the film scene the name appears in the shop window, written as Cappomagi, with only one "g".
  3. ^ "Moonstruck". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  4. ^ "UIP's $25M-Plus Club". Variety. September 11, 1995. p. 92.
  5. ^ "Moonstruck (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  6. ^ "Moonstruck". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-10-04. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  8. ^ "Critics' Choice". Time. April 4, 1988. Retrieved January 6, 2024.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 15, 1988). "Review of Moonstruck". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 1999-03-02.
  10. ^ Maltin's TV, Movie, & Video Guide
  11. ^ Gene Siskel (1988-01-15). "Flick Of Week: Comedy Is King In 'Moonstruck'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  12. ^ "Ebert & Roeper and the movies - Best & Worst". 5 June 2001. Archived from the original on 5 June 2001. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  13. ^ "The 60th Academy Awards (1988) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ "Nominees/Winners". Casting Society of America. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "Berlinale: 1988 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  16. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1989". BAFTA. 1989. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Moonstruck – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1980-89". kcfcc.org. 14 December 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  19. ^ "The 13th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  20. ^ "1987 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  21. ^ "1987 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  22. ^ "Awards Winners". wga.org. Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
  23. ^ American Film Institute (2008-06-17). "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  24. ^ American Film Institute (2008-06-17). "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  25. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  26. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  27. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  28. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  29. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  30. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees (10th Anniversary Edition)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  31. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10: Top 10 Romantic Comedy". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  32. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 22, 2003). "Moonstruck". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 1, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  33. ^ "Moonstruck (1987)". IMDb.com. Archived from the original on 5 May 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  34. ^ "Moonstruck - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.