Overboard (film)

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Overboard film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by
Written by Leslie Dixon
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by
  • Sonny Baskin
  • Dov Hoenig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • December 16, 1987 (1987-12-16)
Running time
112 minutes[1]
Country United States
  • English
  • French
Box office $26.7 million

Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall, written by Leslie Dixon, and starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell[2] and produced by Roddy McDowall (who co-stars in the film). The film's soundtrack was composed by Alan Silvestri. In turn, it was adapted into the 2006 South Korean television series, Couple or Trouble. In recent years, it has become popular via cable television and has gained a cult following.


Spoiled heiress Joanna Stayton is accustomed to the life of the idle rich with her husband, Grant Stayton III. While waiting for their yacht to be repaired in the rural hamlet of Elk Cove, Oregon, she passes the time by hiring local carpenter, Dean Proffitt, to remodel her closet. At first, Dean puts up with Joanna's rude and demanding behavior. However, when Joanna refuses to pay because he didn't use cedar to build the closet, Dean says he will only redo the cabinet for double pay. This enrages Joanna and she tosses Dean and his tool kit overboard.

Later that night, as Joanna and Grant sail away from the harbor, she falls overboard, develops amnesia, is rescued by a garbage scow, and is taken to the local hospital where no one can figure out who she is. Once Grant realizes Joanna's fallen overboard, he sails back to port to get her. After seeing Joanna's mental state, Grant denies knowing her and returns to the yacht to embark on a spree of parties with younger women.

After seeing her story on the local news, Dean, a widower living in squalor with four young sons, decides to seek revenge. He goes to the hospital and tells her that she is Annie, his wife of thirteen years and the mother of his sons. He convinces the staff by telling them about a small birthmark on Joanna's behind, which he saw on the yacht when Joanna was wearing a revealing swimsuit. Joanna reluctantly goes home with him. Once there, Joanna begins caring for the household.

At first, Joanna has difficulty dealing with Dean's sons and the heavy load of chores. She soon adapts, however, and learns to cook, clean, do laundry, and care for the pets. As she masters her responsibilities, she learns about the boys' school and family issues and that Dean is secretly working two jobs to make ends meet. She begins to fall in love with him and his sons, and handles the boys' family matters and money challenges with considerable wisdom and grace.

Seeing Dean struggle, Joanna makes his dream come true by helping him design a miniature golf course based on her untapped knowledge of the Seven Wonders of the World. Although Dean has also fallen in love with her, he doesn't tell her the truth about her real identity for fear that she will leave. Even when Dean attempts to confess when she discovers a pair of monogrammed underwear from her former life, Billy Pratt (Michael G. Hagerty), a friend of Dean's, says they belonged to a girl he met, Kelly Morson, to cover for Dean, as Joanna initially believed they were evidence of Dean having an affair.

Meanwhile, giving in to the pressure of Joanna's mother, Edith, Grant reluctantly returns to Elk Cove to retrieve her. Upon seeing him, her memory returns immediately. She is shocked and hurt when she realizes that Dean lied and has been using her for months. She returns with Grant to the yacht where Edith and Dr. Korman, their bumbling psychiatrist, are waiting.

Joanna now finds her old lifestyle stuffy and pretentious. One evening after doing shots of tequila with the crew, she turns to Andrew (Roddy McDowall), her loyal butler, and apologizes for her poor treatment of him. Surprised and pleased, Andrew observes that unlike most people, she has been given an opportunity to see life from a different station than that to which she was born. Andrew also tells Joanna that she is the one who can decide how to use the new perspective. Realizing how happy she was with Dean and the boys, she commandeers the yacht and turns back toward Elk Cove. When Grant finds out, he accuses her of mutiny, admits he never loved her, and commandeers the yacht.

Meanwhile, Dean and the boys attempt to get her back with the help of Billy's friend who is in the Coast Guard. When they catch up to the yacht, Joanna and Dean both jump overboard. An incensed Grant attempts to shoot her with a bow and arrow only to be unceremoniously booted overboard by Andrew, who promptly gives his notice of resignation. Safely aboard the smaller vessel, Dean is impressed that Joanna left Grant for him, but she says the money and yacht are actually hers. Dean then asks her, "What could I possibly give you that you don't already have?" She looks at the boys, smiles, and replies, "A little girl."



The film received a mixed reception from critics. Based on 24 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, half of the critics enjoyed it, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[3] Variety praised Hawn's performance, but called it "an uninspiring, unsophisticated attempt at an updated screwball comedy that is brought down by plodding script and a handful of too broadly drawn characters."[4] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called it "a deeply banal farce" with "one-dimensional characters, a good long look at her buttocks and lots of pathetic sex jokes."[5] Roger Ebert liked it; while calling it predictable, he wrote: "the things that make it special, however, are the genuine charm, wit and warm energy generated by the entire cast and director Garry Marshall."[6] The Los Angeles Times' review of it read: "The film tries to mix the two 1930s movie comedy strains: screwball romance and populist fable. But there's something nerveless and thin about it. Hawn and Russell are good, but their scenes together have a calculated spontaneity—overcute, obvious."[7]

Box office[edit]

The film was generally considered a mild success, grossing nearly $27 million domestically.[8]


  1. ^ "OVERBOARD (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. January 8, 1988. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Revenge of the epic movie flops". London: Independent. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  3. ^ "Overboard". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  4. ^ "Overboard". Variety. 1986-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  5. ^ "Overboard". Washington Post. 1987-12-16. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  6. ^ "Overboard". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1987-12-18). "MOVIE REVIEW : Hawn Keeps 'Overboard' From Sinking". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  8. ^ Box Office Mojo

External links[edit]