Sweet Dreams (1985 film)

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Sweet Dreams
Sweet dreams poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Karel Reisz
Produced by Bernard Schwartz
Written by Robert Getchell
Music by Charles Gross
Cinematography Robbie Greenberg
Edited by Malcolm Cooke
Distributed by TriStar Pictures (Theatrical)
Release dates
  • October 4, 1985 (1985-10-04)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $13.5 million
Box office $9,085,049

Sweet Dreams is a 1985 biographical film which tells the life story of country music singer Patsy Cline.

The film was written by Robert Getchell and directed by Karel Reisz. It stars Jessica Lange, Ed Harris, Ann Wedgeworth, David Clennon, James Staley, Gary Basaraba and John Goodman.

The film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actress (Jessica Lange). For all the musical sequences, Lange lip-synced to the original Patsy Cline recordings. The soundtrack of the same name was released in September 1985.


Patsy Cline (Lange) is unhappily married and playing small-time gigs in the tri-state area consisting of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland when she meets Charlie Dick (Harris), whose charm and aggressive self-confidence catch her attention. In time, Patsy leaves her husband to marry Charlie, and she gives up music to focus on raising their children. But after Charlie gets drafted into the U.S. Army, Patsy begins singing again, and after joining forces with manager Randy Hughes, Patsy becomes a rising star on the country music scene.

However, Patsy's success fuels her self-confidence, much to Charlie's annoyance, and he becomes increasingly physically and emotionally abusive as Patsy attempts to assert her independence. Patsy was at the peak of her popularity as one of the first great female stars of country music when she died in a plane crash on March 5, 1963, at the age of 30.

Non-factual differences[edit]

For the scenes at an Army post, supposedly Fort Bragg, North Carolina, filming took place at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, instead. Other scenes were shot in Nashville, Tennessee, and Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Many of the sequences depicted in the film are inaccurate:

  • Patsy and her brother were not on their way to pick up beer when she nearly lost her life in a 1961 car crash. They were on their way to pick up material for her mother, a seamstress, to make her new stage clothes. The car crash happened in mid-June, not in the winter.
  • Patsy's husband, Charlie Dick, and their daughter, Julie, have both stated that Charlie had never hit Patsy in front of their daughter. Charlie has said that he had slapped Patsy only once for becoming hysterical[citation needed] Patsy's relatives have said that Patsy is portrayed more as a victim than she really was. "Their fights were always interesting to watch because you always knew Patsy would win", claimed friend Dottie West. However, other family members insist that Patsy was very badly beaten and sent to a hospital on numerous occasions.
  • Patsy's airplane crashed in the early evening hours in a forest -- not into a mountain cliff -- in Camden, Tennessee. (There is no mountain at all in West Tennessee.)
  • The plane crashed due to bad weather, not due to difficulties in restarting the engine after switching from an empty fuel tank to a full one. Randy Hughes (Patsy's manager and the pilot of the aircraft), who was not instrument-rated, became disoriented in the inclement weather and eventually lost control. Also, the plane crashed on the way to Nashville from Kansas City, not vice versa.
  • The aircraft in the crash was a Piper Comanche, not a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, as in the film.
  • Patsy's mother, the late Hilda Hensely, once stated: "They [the producers] told me that they were going to make a love story. I saw the film once. That was enough."



External links[edit]