Mommie Dearest (1981)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama

Mommie Dearest (1981) Poster

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




  • Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Faye Dunaway and Diana Scarwid in Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Faye Dunaway and Frank Perry in Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel in Mommie Dearest (1981)
  • Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel in Mommie Dearest (1981)

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29 September 2006 | Andrew_Eskridge
| It got a bad rap, and Dunaway was robbed
I saw this movie the first night it opened in Las Vegas in 1981. The large theater was packed, SRO. What may come as a surprise today, the film was received seriously by the audience, who sat transfixed throughout. I don't recall inappropriate laughter (well, maybe a muted laugh or two when little Christina muttered "Jesus Christ" at the end of the wire hanger scene), and I remember hearing favorable comments from people around me, although many were horrified by the depictions of child abuse.

Unfortunately, the movie did not live up to the high expectations at the box office. After all, it was based on a best-selling book that sold 4 million copies.

A few weeks later, Mommie Dearest was re-released and was being advertised as a campfest in the vein of Rocky Horror, and patrons were urged to bring wire hangers to the theater. The studio turned against its own movie in order to milk more money out of it. That's a shame, because Faye Dunaway gave the performance of her life and deserved an Academy Award nomination, if not the award.

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Did You Know?


In an interview on Donohue, Cheryl Crane, who is Lana Turner's daughter, said she confronted her mother after Mommie Dearest came out. She said, "'Mom, is this stuff about Joan Crawford true?'" And Lana answered, "'yes it is true. We all knew about that.'" And Cheryl answered, "'Why didn't you do something about it?'" And Lana said, "'Honey in this town we all rallied around eachother, we did not stab eachother in the back like that.'" Later in the program Christina conceded that everyone in Hollywood did know about it and nobody did anything about it. In fact she would go on to say that that's part of why there was a backlash to the book; because many of the people discrediting the book are covering up their own complicity in Joan Crawford's evil and abusive behavior.


Joan Crawford: How? How could this happen, how could you humiliate me this way? I am ashamed to be your mother!
Joan Crawford: And you? How could you let this happen?
Mrs. Chadwick: Both students have been put on probation and will have no privileges for a month.
Joan Crawford: Probation. This is appalling. I ...


After Joan says to tear down the wall and put up a window in the apartment condo, she turns around and a camera shadow is cast across her back.

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.


Isn't It Romantic
Written by
Richard Rodgers (as Rodgers) & Lorenz Hart (as Hart)


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Biography | Drama

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