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Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Written byJohn Patrick Shanley
Produced by
  • Norman Jewison
  • Patrick Palmer
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited byLou Lombardo
Music byDick Hyman
Distributed byMGM/UA Communications Co.
Release date
  • December 16, 1987 (1987-12-16) (New York City)
  • December 18, 1987 (1987-12-18) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$80.6 million[2]

Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed and co-produced by Norman Jewison, written by John Patrick Shanley, and starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Olympia Dukakis, and Vincent Gardenia. The film follows Loretta Castorini, a widowed Italian-American woman who falls in love with her fiancé's estranged, hot-tempered younger brother.

Moonstruck was theatrically released on December 16, 1987, in New York City, and then nationally two days later by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to critical and commercial success. It received six nominations at the 60th Academy Awards, winning three for Best Actress (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Dukakis), and Best Original Screenplay (Shanley).


Thirty-seven year old Loretta Castorini, an Italian-American widow, works as a bookkeeper and lives in Brooklyn Heights with her family: father Cosmo; mother Rose; and paternal grandfather. Her boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri, proposes to her before leaving for Sicily to be with his dying mother; Loretta is insistent that they carefully follow tradition as she believes her first marriage was cursed by her failure to do so, resulting in her husband's death after two years. Johnny asks Loretta to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny to the wedding. Loretta returns home and informs her parents of the engagement. Cosmo dislikes Johnny and is reluctant to pay for the "real" wedding that Loretta insists on, while Rose is pleased that Loretta likes Johnny but does not love him; she believes that one can easily be hurt by a partner whom one loves.

When Loretta goes to see Ronny at his bakery, he reveals that he has a wooden prosthetic hand and blames Johnny for his loss in a moment of inattention, after which his fiancée left him. Loretta insists that they discuss things in his apartment, where she cooks a meal and then tells him that she believes he is a "wolf" who cut off his own hand to escape the trap of a bad relationship. Ronny reacts furiously and passionately, kissing Loretta and then carrying her to his bed, where they make love.

That evening, Rose's brother Raymond and his wife Rita join Rose and Cosmo for dinner and they wonder where Loretta is. Raymond recalls a particularly bright moon like the one shining now that he thought long-ago was brought to the house when Cosmo was courting Rose. The next morning, Loretta tells Ronny they can never see each other again. Ronny promises to never bother Loretta again if she attends an opera at the Met with him. She goes to church to confess her infidelity and afterwards calls at Raymond and Rita's store to close out the cash register. Upon leaving, she impulsively goes to a hair salon and buys a glamorous evening gown and shoes at a boutique next door.

Loretta is deeply moved by her first opera, Puccini's La bohème. As they leave, she sees her father, Cosmo, together with his girlfriend, Mona, and confronts him. As Loretta is with Ronny, he suggests that they agree that they did not see each other at all. Loretta attempts to return home, but Ronny desperately persuades her into another tryst. That same night, Rose decides to dine alone at a restaurant and sees a college professor, Perry, being dramatically dumped by a female student. Rose invites him to dine with her instead, allowing him to walk her home but refusing to invite him in because she is loyal to her marriage. Later, Johnny unexpectedly returns from Sicily after his mother's "miraculous" recovery and arrives at the Castorini house; as Loretta is not there, Rose asks him instead why men chase after women, and agrees that it is because they fear death.

Returning home next morning, Loretta is distressed to learn from Rose that Johnny will be there soon. Ronny arrives, and Rose invites him for breakfast over Loretta's objections. Cosmo and his father emerge from upstairs; Grandpa insists that Cosmo agree to pay for Loretta's wedding. Rose then confronts Cosmo and demands that he end his affair; he is upset but gives in and, at Rose's insistence, also agrees to go to confession. Both reaffirm their love for each other. Raymond and Rita arrive, concerned that Loretta had not deposited the previous day's takings at the bank, and are relieved to learn that she merely forgot and still has the money. When Johnny finally arrives, he breaks off the engagement, superstitiously believing that their marriage would cause his mother's death. Loretta berates Johnny for breaking his promise and throws the engagement ring at him. Seizing the moment, Ronny borrows the ring and asks Loretta to marry him, to which she agrees. The family toasts the couple with champagne and Johnny joins in at Grandpa's urging, since he will now be part of the family after all.



Box office[edit]

On its wide release, the film opened at #3 and spent 20 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 and finally grossed $80,640,528[2] on a budget of $15 million.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 94% based on reviews from 64 critics, with an average score of 7.9/10. The site's consensus read, "Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies."[3] On Metacritic the film has a score of 83% based on reviews from 17 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

Time wrote, "John Patrick Shanley's witty, shapely script puts an octet of New Yorkers under a lunar-tuney spell one romantic night. Cher shines brightest of all."[citation needed] Roger Ebert, who later added the film among his "Great Movies" list, said: "Reviews of the movie tend to make it sound like a madcap ethnic comedy, and that it is. But there is something more here, a certain bittersweet yearning that comes across as ineffably romantic, and a certain magical quality".[6] Film historian Leonard Maltin seemed to agree, giving the picture 4 out of 4 stars.[7]

According to Gene Siskel, writing for the Chicago Tribune: "Moonstruck, which is being sold as a romance but actually is one of the funniest pictures to come out in quite some time. [...] You will not easily forget this incredibly robust family, created by writer John Patrick Shanley and directed by Norman Jewison, who makes a comeback with this uproarious film."[8]

It appeared on both critics' Top 10 lists for 1987.[9]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Picture Norman Jewison and Patrick Palmer Nominated
Best Director Norman Jewison Nominated
Best Actress Cher Won
Best Supporting Actor Vincent Gardenia Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen John Patrick Shanley Won
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Cher Nominated
Funniest Supporting Male Performer – Motion Picture or TV Vincent Gardenia Nominated
Funniest Supporting Female Performer – Motion Picture or TV Olympia Dukakis Won
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films Dick Hyman Won
Berlin International Film Festival[10] Golden Bear Norman Jewison Nominated
Best Director Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Cher Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Olympia Dukakis Nominated
Best Original Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Best Film Music Dick Hyman Nominated
Casting Society of America Best Casting for Feature Film – Comedy Howard Feuer Won
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Actress Cher Won
Best Foreign Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Nicolas Cage Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Cher Won
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Olympia Dukakis Won
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture John Patrick Shanley Nominated
Japan Academy Film Prize Outstanding Foreign Language Film Nominated
Jupiter Awards Best International Actress Cher Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won
Best Actress Cher Won
Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Best Screenplay John Patrick Shanley Runner-up
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Actress Cher Won
Best Female Dubbing Ludovica Modugno (for dubbing Cher) Won
National Board of Review Awards Best Supporting Actress Olympia Dukakis Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Runner-up
Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Actress Cher Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen John Patrick Shanley Won

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Moonstruck was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the romantic comedy genre.[11][12] The film is also number 72 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and number 41 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Influential film critic Roger Ebert entered the film to his "Great Movies" collection in June 2003.[20]


Song Artist Notes
That's Amore Dean Martin Harry Warren, Jack Brooks
Canzone Per Loretta/Addio, Mulberry Street Jack Zaza (mandolin) Dick Hyman
Mr. Moon Dick Hyman
It Must Be Him Vikki Carr Gilbert Bécaud, Mack David, Maurice Vidalin
Old Man Mazurka Dominic Cortese (accordion) Dick Hyman
Lament for Johnny's Mama Dick Hyman
Che gelida manina Ed Bickert (guitar) Giacomo Puccini
Donde lieta uscì Renata Tebaldi Giacomo Puccini
Canzone Per Loretta Dick Hyman
O soave fanciulla Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Tebaldi Giacomo Puccini
Musetta's Waltz Moe Koffman (alto saxophone) Giacomo Puccini
Musetta's Entrance Nora Shulman (flute) Giacomo Puccini
La bohème (instrumental excerpts) Giacomo Puccini
(In Loretta's Bedroom) Gettin' Ready Moe Koffman (alto saxophone) Dick Hyman
Brooklyn Heights Stroll Dick Hyman
Beautiful Signorina Dick Hyman
Moonglow Eddie DeLange, Will Hudson, Irving Mills
Canzone Per Loretta Dominic Cortese (accordion) Dick Hyman
Gioventù mia, tu non sei morta (La bohème, act 2) Carlo Bergonzi, Cesare Siepi, Ettore Bastianini, Fernando Corena, Gianna D'Angelo, Renata Tebaldi, Renato Cesari Giacomo Puccini

Soundtrack references: [21][22]


  1. ^ Box Office Information for Moonstruck. Archived 2017-07-08 at the Wayback Machine TheWrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013
  2. ^ a b "Moonstruck". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "Moonstruck (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Moonstruck". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-10-04. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  5. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 15, 1988). "Review of Moonstruck". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 1999-03-02.
  7. ^ Maltin's TV, Movie, & Video Guide
  8. ^ Gene Siskel (1988-01-15). "Flick Of Week: Comedy Is King In 'Moonstruck'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  9. ^ "Ebert & Roeper and the movies - Best & Worst". 5 June 2001. Archived from the original on 5 June 2001. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Berlinale: 1988 Prize Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  11. ^ American Film Institute (2008-06-17). "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres". Archived from the original on 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  12. ^ American Film Institute (2008-06-17). "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres". Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  13. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  14. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  15. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  16. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  17. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  18. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees (10th Anniversary Edition)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-10-08. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  19. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10: Top 10 Romantic Comedy". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  20. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 22, 2003). "Moonstruck". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 1, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  21. ^ "Moonstruck (1987)". Archived from the original on 5 May 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Moonstruck - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

External links[edit]