Peggy Sue Got Married

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This article is about the film. For the Buddy Holly song, see Peggy Sue Got Married (song). For the musical, see Peggy Sue Got Married (musical).
Peggy Sue Got Married
Peggy sue got married.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Paul R. Gurian
Written by
  • Jerry Leichtling
  • Arlene Sarner
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Jordan Cronenweth
Edited by Barry Malkin
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Box office $41,382,841

Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 American comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Kathleen Turner as a woman on the verge of a divorce, who finds herself transported back to the days of her senior year in high school in 1960. The film was written by husband and wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Turner), Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. In addition, Turner was nominated for Best Foreign Actress at the Premis Sant Jordi de Cinema.


Peggy Sue Bodell sets off for her 25-year high school reunion in 1985, albeit hesitantly, with her daughter, Beth, who goes along as company. Peggy Sue has just separated from her high school sweetheart, now husband, Charlie, and is wary of attending the reunion because of everyone questioning her about his absence as they have been married since Peggy Sue became pregnant right after graduation.

Peggy Sue arrives at the reunion and is happy to reconnect with her old friends, Maddy and Carol, and they all start to comment on old high school memories and how times (and classmates) have changed. Charlie unexpectedly arrives at the reunion, causing an awkward scene with Peggy Sue ignoring him. The awkwardness is ended when the event MC announces the reunion’s "king and queen." The king is Richard Norvik, a former class geek turned multi-millionaire computer whiz. Peggy Sue is named the queen, but on arriving on stage, she faints.

When Peggy Sue wakes, she finds herself back in the spring of 1960, her senior year of high school, having passed out after donating blood. Peggy at first believes she died at the reunion, but then comes to accept that she has gone back in time. She’s shocked to see old family members so young and to talk to relatives who have since died. She attends high school classes and meets with old (now-young) friends as well as their now-young boyfriends. Peggy answers simple questions with adult responses. For example, when her mother asks if she and Charlie had a fight, she replies yes—but about "house payments," talking about their future divorce. She also makes a get-rich-quick reference of going to England to discover The Beatles.

Peggy is confused by this new/old world (and becomes upset when she encounters her beloved/long dead grandparents). However, she’s fascinated by the chance to relive high school and say things she always wanted to say (such as telling off rude girls and informing an algebra teacher she knows, for a fact, that she will never need algebra in her life). She also uses this opportunity to repair an estranged relationship with her younger sister, Nancy. One thing Peggy is unhappy about is that she’s still dating Charlie. One night, when Peggy suggests to Charlie that they have sex in his car, Charlie gets upset and kicks her out. As she heads down the sidewalk, she sees Michael Fitzsimmons — the guy in school she always wished she’d slept with - in a diner and goes in to talk to him. They spend the night together.

Peggy Sue soon sees that this 18-year-old Charlie is not the same as the adulterous Charlie she left in 1985 and Peggy starts to fall in love with him all over again, though the relationship still has its problems. Meanwhile, she contacts the young (ever geeky) Richard and asks for his advice on time travel. He seems to believe her as they discuss events and inventions that do not yet exist. Her inquiries into time travel lead to her grandfather, who agrees to try a strange séance ritual with his Lodge buddies to send her forward in time.

Peggy is then kidnapped by Charlie who takes her to a greenhouse, leaving everyone at the Lodge thinking that the ritual worked. He proposes to Peggy Sue and gives her the locket she wore at the beginning of the film. After declaring she would have to be a fool to marry him twice, she looks inside the locket which has baby pictures of her and Charlie, which resemble their children. Peggy Sue kisses Charlie and they begin to make love, which would again lead to Peggy getting pregnant and marrying him. In the next moment, Peggy Sue is transported back to 1985.

Peggy Sue awakes in a hospital, with Charlie at her side. However, the idea that she may have dreamed the entire ordeal is called into doubt when she sees that Michael has dedicated a book to her and their night together. Charlie, meanwhile, is deeply regretful of his adultery and tells Peggy Sue he wants her back. It seems there's hope for them possibly reconciling their differences when Peggy Sue looks at Charlie with new eyes and (citing a reference from her grandfather who claimed that her grandmother's strudel kept the family together) says, "I'd like to invite you over to your house for dinner on Sunday with your kids. I'll make a strudel."


Release and reception[edit]

Peggy Sue Got Married gained a positive reaction from critics, as it currently holds an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.

The film opened with $6,942,408 and ended up grossing $41,382,841 in the U.S. It was the first box-office success for Coppola since Apocalypse Now.[3]

The film ranked number 17 on Entertainment Weekly‍ '​s list of "50 Best High School Movies".[4]

This film appeared on Siskel and Ebert's best of 1986 lists.[5]

American Film Institute lists

Musical adaptation[edit]

The film was adapted by Leichtling and Sarner into a full-length musical theater production which opened in London's West End theatre district in 2001. Despite receiving solid reviews[8] and a several million pound advance, 9/11 forced the show to close early.


  1. ^ "PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 29, 1986. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jim Catalano (1995). "Interview: Marshall Crenshaw" (in German). Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  3. ^ "''Peggy Sue Got Married'' at Box Office Mojo". 1986-12-30. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies". Retrieved 2011-05-20. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Siskel and Ebert Top Ten Lists (1969-1998)". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  7. ^ American Film Institute. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Peggy Sue Got Married - the Musical, a CurtainUp review". Retrieved 2011-05-20. 

External links[edit]