Endless Love (1981 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Franco Zeffirelli|
|Produced by||Keith Barish
|Screenplay by||Judith Rascoe|
|Based on||The novel
by Scott Spencer
|Music by||Lionel Richie
|Editing by||Michael J. Sheridan|
|Studio||PolyGram Filmed Entertainment|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release dates||July 17, 1981|
|Running time||116 minutes|
Endless Love is a 1981 romantic drama film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt, Tom Cruise in his film debut and James Spader in his second film role. The screenplay by Judith Rascoe was adapted from the novel by Scott Spencer. The original music score was composed by Jonathan Tunick.
The film was a moderate box-office success, and its theme song by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, also called "Endless Love", became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the biggest-selling single in Ross' career. Billboard magazine chose it as "The Best Duet of All Time" in 2011, 30 years after its debut. It spent 9 weeks at #1, received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for "Best Original Song", along with 5 Grammy nominations.
In suburban Chicago, teenagers Jade Butterfield (Brooke Shields) and David Axelrod (Martin Hewitt) fall in love after they are introduced by Jade's brother Keith (James Spader). Jade's family is known in their community for a bohemian lifestyle, allowing them to develop an all-consuming and passionate relationship; including allowing the two to make love in Jade's bedroom. In contrast to the openness of her family, David's home life is dull; his parents are wealthy political activists who are not actively involved in his life.
One night Jade's mother Ann (Shirley Knight) sneaks downstairs, and upon seeing Jade and David make love in her living room, starts living through them vicariously. Jade's father, Hugh (Don Murray), watches the couple with increasing unease. Soon Jade realizes her regular sexual encounters with David are depriving her of sleep and adversely affecting her grades at school. Eventually, she tries to steal a sleeping pill in order to get some sleep, but her father catches her in the act. Subsequently, he insists David stop seeing Jade until the end of the school term in 30 days. Although David is heavily opposed to this idea, Ann gently coaxes him into agreeing, telling him not to let Hugh "do something he'll regret".
One of David's friends jokingly suggests kidnapping Jade to get her back or burning down the Butterfield house in revenge. Another friend Billy (Tom Cruise), then tells David that when he was 8-years-old he tried burning a pile of newspapers and after he became scared, put the fire out, only to find his parents think he was a hero for saving the house from burning. Inspired by this story, David starts a fire on the Butterfields' front porch and walks away briefly to be seen returning to the flame. By the time he returns, the flame has spread too far and he rushes to warn the family but he is too late, the entire house is lost.
Following the trial for arson, David is sent to a mental hospital for the next two years and is forbidden from ever going near Jade or her family again. Nevertheless, he continues to write daily, but his letters are held and never mailed. He receives them upon his exit, learning for the first time why Jade never wrote back, thus renewing his spark to pursue her.
When David is released on probation, he goes to look for Jade and remains in love with her. In the meantime, following the loss of their home, the Butterfield family has moved from Chicago to Manhattan, and Ann and Hugh divorce. In Manhattan, Ann tries to seduce David, but he refuses and tells her he can make love only with Jade. In a chance meeting, Hugh sees David on the streets of Manhattan and while chasing David, Hugh is hit by a car and killed. Hugh's new girlfriend Ingrid Orchester (Penelope Milford), catches up to the scene and cannot put together what just happened, but later recognizes David as having been present at the accident.
Later, Jade goes to see David to say goodbye but he pulls her back as she tries to leave, throwing her on the bed and begging for her to admit she still loves him. Jade does, and resumes her relationship with him. When Keith tells the couple to come downstairs, he tells Jade that David is at fault for their father's death. Jade refuses to believe this and turns to David for the truth. He tries to explain it was an accident, but Keith fights with David until the police arrive and arrest David.
Sent to prison, David seems doomed never to see Jade again. Jade tells her mother that no one will ever love her the way David does. The final scene shows Jade walking toward the prison where David is being held.
- Brooke Shields as Jade Butterfield
- Martin Hewitt as David Axelrod
- Shirley Knight as Ann Butterfield
- Don Murray as Hugh Butterfield
- Richard Kiley as Arthur Axelrod
- Beatrice Straight as Rose Axelrod
- James Spader as Keith Butterfield
- Ian Ziering as Sammy Butterfield
- Penelope Milford as Ingrid Orchester
- Tom Cruise as Billy
- Jami Gertz as Patty
- Jeff Marcus as Leonard
- Walt Gorney as Passerby
Endless Love was the feature film debut for a number of actors, including Tom Cruise, Jami Gertz, and Jeff Marcus, and features very early appearances by James Spader, as the elder brother of Brooke Shields, and of a pre-Beverly Hills, 90210, Ian Ziering.
The film was shot on location in Chicago, New York City, and Long Island. The film was noted to have one of the most spectacular one-man stunt displays when Hugh Butterfield gets hit by a car in New York. The stuntman does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air.
Differences between the film and the novel
The novel and film differ in several respects. The novel begins with David burning down the Butterfield's house in 1967. The death of Hugh takes place near the end of the film, but only in the middle of the novel. After that, in the novel Jade and David reunite and live together in Vermont for several months before he is re-arrested. Then David is held in psychiatric hospitals for several years, during which time Jade marries and moves to Europe and David has sexual relationships with several other women. At the end of the novel, it is 1977 and David is released and living with an unnamed woman while Jade remains married and in Europe.
The soundtrack peaked at #9 on the Billboard Top 200 and was certified platinum. It also featured a second duet between Ross & Richie, "Dreaming of You" that received a good amount of airplay though never released as a single.
The film was panned by numerous critics. Movie historian Leonard Maltin called it "a textbook example of how to do everything wrong in a literary adaptation ... Scott Spencer's deservedly-praised novel is thoroughly trashed."
Endless Love was a financial box office success. It grossed $31,184,024 in the U.S. alone (the 22nd highest grossing film of 1981).
Awards and nominations
- Winner: 1981 ASCAP Award, Lionel Richie, Endless Love
- Nominee: 1982 Academy Award for Best Song, Lionel Richie, Endless Love
- Winner: 1982 American Movie Award, Marquee Award, Lionel Richie, Endless Love
- Nominee: 1982 Golden Globe Award, Best Original Song - Motion Picture, Endless Love
- Nominee: Best Young Motion Picture Actor - Martin Hewitt
- Nominee: Best Young Motion Picture Actress - Brooke Shields
- Nominee: worst Actress - Brooke Shields
- Nominee: worst Director - Franco Zeffirelli
- Nominee: worst New Star - Martin Hewitt
- Nominee: worst Picture - Dyson Lovell
- Nominee: worst Screenplay - Judith Rascoe
- Nominee: worst Supporting Actress - Shirley Knight
In August 2012, Universal Pictures announced plans for the remake of the 1981 film. Country Strong's Shana Feste is slated to direct the remake. Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde have the roles played by Hewitt and Shields in the original.
- Google Books: Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide, "Endless Love" (1981)
- Amazon Instant Video: Endless Love Retrieved October 21, 2013
- Universal, Scott Stuber Working On ‘Endless Love’ Remake August 2, 2012
- 'Endless Love' Remake: Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde Cast as Leads March 22, 2013
- Endless Love at the Internet Movie Database
- Endless Love at the TCM Movie Database
- Endless Love at allmovie
- Endless Love at Box Office Mojo
- Endless Love at Rotten Tomatoes