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Mommie Dearest (1981)

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3:34 | Clip
The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.

Director:

Frank Perry

Writers:

Christina Crawford (book), Frank Yablans (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,162 ( 168)
9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Faye Dunaway ... Joan Crawford
Diana Scarwid ... Christina Crawford (Adult)
Steve Forrest ... Greg Savitt
Howard Da Silva ... L.B. Mayer
Mara Hobel Mara Hobel ... Christina Crawford (Child)
Rutanya Alda ... Carol Ann
Harry Goz Harry Goz ... Al Steele
Michael Edwards ... Ted Gelber
Jocelyn Brando ... Barbara Bennett
Priscilla Pointer ... Mrs. Chadwick
Joe Abdullah Joe Abdullah ... Captain
Gary Allen Gary Allen ... Jimmy (Photographer)
Selma Archerd ... Connie
Adrian Aron Adrian Aron ... Wedding Guest
Xander Berkeley ... Christopher Crawford (Adult)
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Storyline

The relationship between Christina Crawford and her adoptive mother Joan Crawford is presented from Christina's view. Unable to bear children, Joan, in 1940, was denied children through regular adoption agencies due to her twice divorced status and being a single working person. Her lover at the time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lawyer Greg Savitt, was able to go through a brokerage to adopt a baby girl, who would be Christina, the first of Joan's four adoptive children. Joan believes that her own difficult upbringing has made her a stronger person, and decides that, while providing the comforts that a successful Hollywood actress can afford, she will not coddle Christina or her other children, she treating Christina more as a competitor than a daughter. Joan's treatment of Christina is often passive-aggressive, fueled both by the highs and lows of her career, the narcissism that goes along with being an actress, and alcohol abuse especially during the low times. However, Joan sees much of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To my darling Christina, with love...Mommie Dearest See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mommie Dearest See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$19,032,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,032,261
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Chadwick) later had a recurring role in Dallas playing Rebecca Wentworth and one of her Dallas episodes is Mama Dearest, the title of which is an allusion to Mommie Dearest. See more »

Goofs

When Joan brings Christina home from Chadwick school, she is wearing a hat, gloves and skirt all in the 50s style, which is correct. Her coat is an a-line design, boxy and shapeless, with a huge 70s pointed collar. This coat would not have been worn by Joan in the 50s as she was always wearing the very latest styles. See more »

Quotes

Carol Ann: Your mother's been practicing and practicing. You know how perfect she always wants to be. Well this time, she must be perfect. Do you understand?
Christina Crawford: She wants everything to be perfect.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some scenes were altered for the TV and cable release of "Mommie Dearest". Aside from editing out the bad language, there is a notably different version of the scene where Joan hacks down her prize roses, where for some reason the musical background to this scene was completely removed, and the abrupt cut from L.B. Mayer's face to Joan kneeling dementedly in the rose garden with her garden shears is accompanied by a bone-chilling scream. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House of Carters: Carter Dearest (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Tangerine
Written by Johnny Mercer & Victor Schertzinger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Why would Faye deny this movie so? She's great.
25 January 2011 | by alex54ruizSee all my reviews

Alright, this might not be too obscure of a movie but when it came out it wasn't well received and pretty much ignored causing it to have a huge cult following. The acting by Dunaway as Joan Crawford is so exaggerated that it seems unbelievable that it's a biographical tale. More than Crawford's story as an actress, this movie deals with the painful, abusive, and traumatic upbringing of her daughter Christina (she wrote the book that prompted the making of this movie). Some say Christina made a lot of it up to destroy her mother's reputation but others say it might be quite accurate. Either way, Dunaway's performance as the Screen Queen is uncanny. She embodies every quality of Crawford and watching the movie you forget that it's not really Joan but Faye in the role. Sure, this movie won Razzie Awards and the producers even tried to capitalize with its failure by billing it "The worst mother of them all." Dunaway even goes as far as telling interviewers beforehand that she will not talk about this movie. One can understand her seeing that she was campaigning for an Oscar nod and instead won the Razzie for worst actress but none of that matters because this movie is now seen as a great tragedy and you'll definitely get lost in the story wondering if everything is true. Oh, and the scenes with Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel, who plays young Christina Crawford, are amazing. It's no wonder she won the Young Artist Award. Seriously, watch it. The "No more wire hangers" scene alone is enough to watch this great film.


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