Moment by Moment

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Moment by Moment
Moment by Moment.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jane Wagner
Produced by Robert Stigwood
Screenplay by Jane Wagner
Starring Lily Tomlin
John Travolta
Music by Lee Holdridge
Cinematography Phillip Lathrop
Edited by La Reine Johnston
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • December 22, 1978 (1978-12-22)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $10,963,824[1]

Moment by Moment is a 1978 American romantic drama film written and directed by Jane Wagner and starring Lily Tomlin and John Travolta. It was produced by Robert Stigwood and released by Universal Pictures on December 22, 1978.

The film was shot in Malibu, California from April to July 1978 and also marked the end of Travolta's three-film contract with Stigwood, following Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease (1978).


Trisha Rawlings (Lily Tomlin) is a wealthy, middle-aged Beverly Hills socialite suffering from loneliness following a separation from her philandering husband Stu (Bert Kramer). One day at a pharmacy, she meets Vick "Strip" Sunset (John Travolta), an indigent, suave young drifter whom she met briefly in the recent past when he worked as a car valet. He develops an infatuation with her, following Trisha to her Malibu beach house, hanging around despite her cold demeanor and offering her pills in an attempt to woo her.

Trisha is initially annoyed by Strip's flirtatiousness but eventually reciprocates his affections, although not quite to the same degree he feels for her. When he leaves her house, she goes after him and they have lunch. Thus officially begins their relationship, which proves to be rocky. She enjoys time spent with him, but the difference in age and class has her feeling a sense of shame.

When they attend a photography exhibition together, they run into Stu, which makes the situation uncomfortable. Once Trisha and Strip return home, they argue over their relationship. Strip leaves, but Trisha tracks him down and they reconcile.



A paperback novelization of the screenplay was written by Darcy O'Brien and published by Ballantine Books in January 1979 as a promotional tie-in.[2]


Moment by Moment:
The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released January 1979
Recorded 1978
Genre Pop, easy listening
Length 43:15
Label RSO Records
Producer Bill Oakes (Music Supervisor)
Singles from Moment by Moment
  1. "Moment by Moment"
    Released: December 1978

Moment by Moment soundtrack album was released on vinyl, cassette tape and 8-track tape by RSO Records in January 1979. Despite the film's poor reputation, its title song was a considerable hit for singer Yvonne Elliman.

Side 1:

  1. "Moment by Moment" (Yvonne Elliman) – 3:15
  2. "The Lady Wants To Know" (Michael Franks) – 4:32
  3. "Everybody Needs Love" (Stephen Bishop) – 3:40
  4. "Moment by Moment Theme (Reprise – Instrumental)" (Lee Holdridge) – 1:07
  5. "You Know I Love You" (Charles Lloyd) – 3:25
  6. "Sometimes When We Touch" (Dan Hill) – 4:03

Side 2:

  1. "Moment by Moment (Main Theme – Instrumental)" (Lee Holdridge) – 2:57
  2. "For You and I" (10cc) – 5:20
  3. "Hollywood Boulevard (Instrumental)" (Ray Parker, Jr.) – 3:34
  4. "Your Heart Never Lies" (Charles Lloyd) – 5:07
  5. "Moment by Moment ("On the Beach" – Instrumental)" (Lee Holdridge & John Klemmer) – 2:15
  6. "Moment by Moment (Reprise) Film Version" (Yvonne Elliman) – 4:00



Title Chart (1979) Peak
"Moment by Moment" US Billboard 200 Bubbling Under[3] 202


Title Chart (1978–79) Peak
"Moment by Moment" US Billboard Hot 100[4] 59
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[5] 32

Critical response[edit]

"Moment by Moment" was wholly panned by critics and moviegoers.[6]

During filming of Moment by Moment, a Los Angeles magazine reported from the set at the time: "The chemistry between Tomlin and Travolta began to rival that between Menachem Begin and Yassar Arafat." A crew staff was also quoted saying: "Two weeks into the shooting on location in Malibu, there was nobody on the set that didn't know we were in the middle of a turkey. It was like being on the voyage of the damned."

Two years after its release, Lily Tomlin said of the experience: "John and I were totally unprepared. We thought it was a sweet, small, lightly funny movie. We were not prepared for what others thought. It's the one thing that all performers live in fear of - total failure. And when it happens and you survive, I think you're probably in a much better place. It's made me less cautious. It made me place more importance on the experience of working with other artists than on the reaction of critics or the public."[7]

The film remains a "camp classic," with a reputation sufficient to have prompted Mystery Science Theater 3000 producers to try (unsuccessfully) to obtain the rights necessary to broadcast it and mock it on their show.[8]


External links[edit]