Ghost (1990 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jerry Zucker|
|Produced by||Steven-Charles Jaffe
Bruce Joel Rubin
Howard W. Koch
|Written by||Bruce Joel Rubin|
|Music by||Maurice Jarre (score)
Alex North (Unchained Melody)
|Cinematography||Adam Greenberg, ASC|
|Editing by||Walter Murch|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||126 minutes|
Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn, and Whoopi Goldberg. It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker. The film follows Sam Wheat (Swayze), a murdered man who, after becoming a ghost, teams up with a psychic (Goldberg) in an effort to avenge his death and resolve matters with his fiance.
The film was an outstanding commercial success, grossing over $505 million at the box office on a budget of $21 million, and was the highest-grossing film of 1990. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Score and Best Film Editing. It won the awards for Best Supporting Actress for Goldberg and Best Original Screenplay. Swayze and Moore both received Golden Globe Award nominations for their performances, while Goldberg won the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Saturn Awards in addition to the Oscar.
Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), a banker, and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), a talented potter, are a loving couple who move into a New York City apartment. At work, Sam discovers a major discrepancy in multiple bank accounts and confides in his good friend and colleague Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn). Carl offers to investigate the matter, but Sam decides to investigate himself. Later that night, Sam and Molly are attacked by armed thug Willie Lopez (Rick Aviles) and Sam is killed by a gunshot during a struggle with Willie. Sam's ghost arises from his dead body, which lies next to the distraught Molly. He gradually realizes that he is a ghost whose presence cannot be seen or heard.
One day, Sam is alone at the apartment (testing his ability to walk through doors) when Willie comes in, looking for something. Sam is unable to stop the killer but spooks Molly's cat, Floyd, causing Willie to get scratched and flee. Sam follows the killer to his place in Brooklyn and hears that he will return to Molly's house. He also meets Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a local con artist posing as a medium and realizes she can hear him (not see him), although Oda Mae had been faking her abilities until then. He persuades Oda Mae to tell Molly that she is in danger, but Molly is disbelieving and Carl later convinces Molly that Oda Mae is a fraud preying on her grief. Molly talks to the police about her concerns but they confirm that Oda Mae is a known confidence trickster with a lengthy record whereas Willie Lopez has none.
Sam discovers that Carl was involved in a money laundering scheme at the bank and that the attack was an attempt by Carl to acquire Sam's security codes, so he could transfer the money from the many accounts to one at another bank. Sam learns how to move solid objects by willpower from an aggressive poltergeist (Vincent Schiavelli) he meets in the New York City subway. Afterward, Sam persuades Oda Mae to thwart Carl's money laundering scheme. Following Sam's instructions, Oda Mae impersonates the owner of Carl's fake bank account, closes the account, and reluctantly gives its $4 million contents to a homeless shelter.
Carl, due to transfer the money to a correspondent bank overseas, becomes desperate when he finds the account closed and empty. Sam taunts him in the deserted office by moving objects and making accusations appear on his computer screen, repeatedly typing "MURDERER" and "SAM". Carl visits Molly and declares to Sam that he will kill Molly unless the money is returned that evening. He and Willie then go to Oda Mae's apartment to find her. Sam manages to get there first and warns Oda Mae and her two sisters, who quickly escape and take refuge in a neighbor's apartment. Sam uses his powers to separate and distract Carl and Willie, who are ransacking Oda Mae's apartment in search of the money. Horrified by the experience, Willie flees and is killed in a traffic accident. Willie's ghost arises, sees his body, and is told by Sam that he's dead. A group of howling demons emerge from shadows of ordinary things and pull a screaming Willie into the shadows, while Sam watches in horror. It is implied they take him to Hell.
Afterwards, Sam and Oda Mae return to Molly's apartment to warn her about Carl, but she refuses to let her in and breaks down in grief. Sam finally convinces her that Oda Mae is genuine and he is truly present as a ghost by having her push a penny underneath the front door and Sam levitating it in front of Molly. Astonished, Molly lets Ode Mae inside and while waiting for the police, Sam uses Oda Mae's body to share a final dance with Molly.
Carl arrives, prepared to murder Molly and Oda Mae, but they flee. Sam is left momentarily weakened, as possession is taxing to a ghost. In the storage room, Carl manages to get a hold of Oda Mae and threatens to kill her, but Molly comes to her aid and holds Carl off long enough for Oda Mae to escape his grasp. Carl grabs Molly and holds her at gunpoint but as Sam recovers, he is able to disarm Carl and attack him. As Carl attempts to flee through a plate glass window, he flings a scaffolding hook in Sam's direction which swings back and partially shatters the glass in the upper part of the window; the window slides down and kills Carl as he climbs out. Carl becomes a ghost himself much to his astonishment and to Sam's grief. Sam then watches in silence as the shadowy demons arrive and drag a screaming Carl into the darkness.
As Sam goes to Oda Mae and Molly and asks if they are all right, Molly suddenly realizes that she can hear him. A heavenly light fills the room and Sam becomes fully visible to both Molly and Oda Mae. Sam looks behind him and sees hundreds of people, presumably angels, in a portal to Heaven. His task is completed and he can move on. Sam says an emotional farewell to Molly, thanks Oda Mae for her help, and departs to the afterlife.
- Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat
- Demi Moore as Molly Jensen
- Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown
- Tony Goldwyn as Carl Bruner
- Rick Aviles as Willie Lopez
- Stephen Root as Police Sgt.
- Vincent Schiavelli as subway ghost
- Phil Leeds as emergency room ghost
- Bruce Jarchow as Lyle Ferguson
- Armelia McQueen as Oda Mae's sister
- Gail Boggs as Oda Mae's sister
The music for Ghost was written by veteran composer Maurice Jarre. The soundtrack also contained use of the 1955 song "Unchained Melody", composed by Alex North with lyrics by Hy Zaret, which appears in both instrumental form and the 1965 recording by The Righteous Brothers. Jarre's score was nominated for the 1990 Academy Award for Best Original Score, though it lost to John Barry's work for Dances with Wolves.
The soundtrack album was issued on Milan Records (and licenced to Varèse Sarabande for North American release); it was subsequently reissued in 1995 with two extra tracks, and later as part of Milan's Silver Screen Edition series with the extra tracks and an interview with Maurice Jarre.
Ghost has received generally favorable reviews and has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 44 critics. It has an average rating of 53% on the review site Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews. The film has been criticized for featuring the Magical Negro stereotype with Oda Mae Brown. However, in spite of this, Goldberg's performance was highly praised. Janet Maslin in her review for The New York Times comments, "Ms. Goldberg plays the character's amazement, irritation and great gift for back talk to the hilt. This is one of those rare occasions on which the uncategorizable Ms. Goldberg has found a film role that really suits her, and she makes the most of it." Goldberg went on to win the Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for her performance.
Box office 
- American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions - #19
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- Unchained Melody - #27
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- "It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you." - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers - Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Fantasy Film
Musical adaptation and parodies 
The film has inspired a musical stage version, Ghost The Musical. The show had its world premiere in Manchester, England, in March 2011 before transferring to London from June 2011 and having its premiere on July 19, 2011. Richard Fleeshman created the role of Sam, with Caissie Levy as Molly and Sharon D. Clarke as Oda Mae Brown. The success of the West End production led to a Broadway transfer in March 2012. This run was short-lived however, closing August 2012. Subsequently, the original production closed on October 6, 2012. A national tour of United Kingdom will launch in April 2013, with a tour of the United States also announced.
The pottery wheel scene is very well known and often parodied, most notably in Saturday Night Live, Family Guy ("The Story on Page One and Baby Not on Board"), All's Well, Ends Well, Naked Gun 2½, Loaded Weapon 1, The Penguins of Madagascar, Futurama ("Bendless Love" and "Bender's Game"), Community ("Beginner Pottery"), Victorious ("Survival of the Hottest"), Wallace & Gromit ("A Matter of Loaf and Death"), 6teen ("Unhappy Anniversary"), Ellen ("Alone Again... Naturally"), Glee ("Girls (and Boys) On Film"), and 30 Rock (Governor Dunston).
In November 13, 2010, Paramount and Shochiku released a Japanese remake of Ghost, titled Ghost: In Your Arms Again (ゴースト もういちど抱きしめたい Gōsuto Mouichido Dakishimetai ). The remake stars Nanako Matsushima and South Korean actor Song Seung-heon, along with veteran actress Kirin Kiki.
- Cieply, Michael; Easton, Nina J. (1990-09-11). "Paramount Reels in Power Struggle After Hits, Misses". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Honeycutt, Kirk (1990-07-13). "Director Leaves Laughs Behind to Capture Spirit of 'Ghost' : Movies: A suspense drama about the afterlife is the last film you'd expect from Jerry Zucker, one of the crazy guys who dreamed up 'Airplane!'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- "1990 Worldwide Grosses".
- Clemmensen, Christian. "Ghost soundtrack review". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Ghost". Variety. 1989-12-31. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "Ghost". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- "Immaterial Affections". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- Gabbard, Krin (2004). Black Magic: White Hollywood and African American Culture. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-8135-3383-X. OCLC 53215708.
- "Ghost(1990)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
- Broeske, Pat H. (1990-07-17). "'Ghost' Performing Solidly at the Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Broeske, Pat H. (1990-07-25). "'Ghost': Sentimental Choice as Summer Hit". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Broeske, Pat H. (1990-08-07). "'Ghost' Tops Box Office Again". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Easton, Nina J. (1990-09-05). "Hollywood's Summer of Love : Romantic 'Ghost' Outguns Macho Movies to Become Season's Biggest Hit". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees
- AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
- "GHOST The Musical". www.ghostthemusical.com. Retrieved 2011-01-09. Text " About - Opening in Manchester 28 March 2011 " ignored (help)
- "Ghost The Musical announces Manchester dates pre-West End". The Stage. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Cox, Gordon (2009-03-06). "'Ghost' getting musical treatment". Variety. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Shiso (2010-11-14). "Japanese Remake of Ghost to Be Released in 5 Different Countries". Tokyohive. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Fischer, Russ (2010-06-09). "Paramount to Remake Ghost in Japan". Slashfilm. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
- Ghost at the Internet Movie Database
- Ghost at the TCM Movie Database
- Ghost at AllRovi
- Ghost at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ghost at Box Office Mojo