Heart of Dixie

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For other uses, see The Heart of Dixie.
Heart of Dixie
Heart of dixie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Davidson
Produced by Steve Tisch
Written by Anne Rivers Siddons
Tom McCown
Starring Ally Sheedy
Virginia Madsen
Phoebe Cates
Treat Williams
Music by Phillip Namanworth
Kenny Vance
Cinematography Robert Elswit
Edited by Bonnie Koehler
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
  • August 25, 1989 (1989-08-25) (U.S.)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,097,333

Heart of Dixie is a 1989 drama film adaptation of the 1976 novel Heartbreak Hotel by Anne Rivers Siddons and directed by Martin Davidson. The film stars Ally Sheedy, Virginia Madsen, Phoebe Cates, and Treat Williams.[1]


Three sorority women at a 1957 Alabama college face the experience and difficulties of ethnic strife and integration.

Production notes[edit]

The expression "Heart of Dixie" is a nickname for the state of Alabama.

The fictional Randolph University is based on Auburn University, Alabama.



Heart of Dixie was poorly received by many critics.

Rita Kempley, staff writer at The Washington Post panned the film, writing, "Ally Sheedy, Virginia Madsen and Phoebe Cates combine their negligible talents in Heart of Dixie -- a melodrama so full of hams, it oinks. Led by Sheedy, the tedious trio plays giddy coeds caught up in the racist and sexist traditions of the South in the late '50s. They all sound like they've been gulping hush puppy batter...Working from McCown's histrionic screenplay, Martin Davidson of Eddie and the Cruisers proves once again that he don't know nothing 'bout directing no movies."[2]

Contrasting this opinion, notable film critic "Vincent Canby" of the "The New York Times" wrote "Heart of Dixie is a clear-eyed, funny and affecting movie about the emotional awakening of a pretty, white Alabama coed in 1957, on the eve of the great racial struggles that would mark the 1960's throughout the South...Mr. McCown's screenplay, based on the novel Heartbreak Hotel, by Anne Rivers Siddons, is refreshing in the way that it refuses to impose a long historical view on the immediate events it is recording. The movie is always aware of history, but it somehow avoids the awful self-assurance that comes with 20-20 hindsight...Miss Sheedy is so good as Maggie that the character's liberation, and the rise of her social consciousness, appear to be genuine triumphs. Miss Madsen, who looks a little like Carol Landis as well as like Kim Novak, is also fine, as are Mr. Williams, Phoebe Cates (as Maggie's unconventional friend) and Don Michael Paul, who manages to play Maggie's Southern chauvinist fiance with a good deal of arrogant charm."[3]

Ally Sheedy was nominated for Worst Actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards, but lost to Heather Locklear for The Return of Swamp Thing.


  1. ^ Heart of Dixie at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Kempley, Rita. The Washington Post, film review, September 15, 1989. Last accessed: January 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent The New York Times, film review, September 16, 1989. Last accessed September 12, 2015

External links[edit]