Peggy Sue Got Married

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This article is about the film. For the Buddy Holly song, see Peggy Sue Got Married (song). For the musical, see Peggy Sue Got Married (musical).
Peggy Sue Got Married
Peggy sue got married.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Paul R. Gurian
Written by
  • Jerry Leichtling
  • Arlene Sarner
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Jordan Cronenweth
Edited by Barry Malkin
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Box office $41,382,841

Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 American comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Kathleen Turner as a woman on the verge of a divorce, who finds herself transported back to the days of her senior year in high school in 1960. The film was written by husband and wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Turner), Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. In addition, Turner was nominated for Best Foreign Actress at the Premis Sant Jordi de Cinema.


Peggy Sue Bodell sets off for her 25-year high school reunion in 1985, albeit hesitantly, with her daughter, Beth, who goes along as company. Peggy Sue has just separated from her high school sweetheart, now husband, Charlie, and is wary of attending the reunion because of everyone questioning her about his absence as they have been married since Peggy Sue became pregnant right after graduation. Peggy has dressed like they used to when they were back in high school, unlike everyone else who is dressed in current eighties attire.

Peggy Sue arrives at the reunion and is happy to reconnect with her old best friends, Maddy and Carol, and they all start to comment on old high school memories and how times (and classmates) have changed (not much, they all are the same for the most part). Charlie unexpectedly arrives at the reunion, causing an awkward scene with Peggy Sue ignoring him. The awkwardness is ended when the event MC announces the reunion’s "king and queen." The king is Richard Norvik, a former class geek turned billionaire computer whiz. Peggy Sue is named the queen and walks on stage, but after they wheel out the reunion cake, she faints.

When Peggy Sue wakes, she finds herself back in the spring of 1960 during her senior year of high school, having passed out after donating blood in the school gym (where the reunion was). Peggy at first believes she died at the reunion and is very disoriented. She finds all of her friends that she just left to also be their teenage selves, not just her. Still in shock, she allows herself to be taken home while she sees her surroundings are back to the way they were 25 years before. She's behaving oddly when she arrives home, but everyone chalks it up to her having given blood. She finds herself having to watch what she says like stopping herself from telling her sister not to eat the red M&Ms (the red dye on them was later erroneously believed to cause cancer). After a rough first night (getting drunk to deal with her situation), she decides to have fun with the experience and behave as if everything is normal. However, when given the chance to break up with Charlie, she begins to think it might be the best since she knows how it will end.

Peggy is seemingly moving on with her life as she finds herself making friends with Richard Norvik, the class geek (and future billionaire) to figure out what is going on with her. Charlie gets jealous when she ignores him at lunch and makes arrangements to meet Richard after school to discuss time travel with him. When she tells him her secret, at first he thinks it's a joke. However, she is able to tell things about him and the world that she would not be able to know if she was not from the future. Although Peggy has made a decision to break up with Charlie (and her eyes have been on Michael Fitzsimmons given this new chance), she's the only one who wants that. Since her friends date his friends, staying away from him is not the easiest thing to do and is thrown together with him often and she is forced to see the things that made her love him and that he was not destined to be the appliance king he eventually became.

Now comfortable in 1960, some things still take Peggy by surprise (like answering the phone to find her deceased in 1985 grandmother on the other end) that are rather upsetting. However, she’s fascinated by the chance to relive high school and do and say things she always wanted to(such as telling off rude girls and informing an algebra teacher she knows, for a fact, that she will never need algebra in her life). One thing Peggy is unhappy about is that she’s still around Charlie and decides (knowing that their marriage is doomed) to break up with him. However, she is a grown woman and has needs. One night after a party with their friends they are in the car making out when Peggy decides to sleep with Charlie. He then flips out and reminds her that she had rebuffed him the weekend before and therefore believes shes playing games then drives her home. Instead of going inside, she decides to take a walk and ends up at an all night cafe where more carefree teens are hanging out having fun. As she walks by, she sees Michael Fitzsimmons — the artsy loner in school she always wished she’d slept with - and goes in to talk to him. After finding out they have more in common than originally thought, they ride off with her on the back of his motorcycle. In a field, they smoke weed, ask each other what they want from life and find out more about one another. She finds out that he is a rich kid who cannot stand his parents and wants nothing more than to get out of their little town. When he asks if she is going to marry Charlie, she responds that she already did that and will not do it again. After he recites some of his poetry for her, they have sex.

As Peggy spends more time with Richard, she tells him more about the future and the things that will make them money (running shoes, pantyhouse, radios, etc.) if they "invent" them first and they are both excited. Dolores the town slut saw Peggy with Michael as they left the cafe together and along with her friends, Charlie eventually finds out the next day, but at different times. Her friends come over and are concerned that since they all date guys in the same group of friends, Peggy's dalliance with Michael will crush the girls plans of marrying and living together. Early in the morning he shows up to Peggy's house, crushed at the revelation that he has truly lost her (he almost smothered her with a pillow before she woke up). As she tries to explain that she knows it's for the best for both of them, he tells her that she will be sorry once he's a huge star. She sees Michael again and he takes her to a R&B club. Michael reveals that he wants her to go with him to Utah (where polygamy is legal) and another woman so they can marry and support him while he writes. After his revelation, she tells him he should go and to write about their night together. In the middle of their conversation, she hears a voice she recognizes singing. When she looks at the stage, she sees that it's Charlie and realizes that she did not know everything about him. Michael is upset, thinks that she declined his offer for Charlie and is ready to go. After they leave, it's shown that Charlie was singing as a audition for an agent and is rejected. The next day when Peggy goes to talk to Charlie, he lashes out at her and she gives him a song she "wrote" for him (which ends up being "She Loves You", by The Beatles). She then goes to Richard to say goodbye so she can stop messing up her life and everyone else's since the reason Charlie stopped singing was her becoming pregnant right before they graduated. Richard proposes, but she refuses because she does not want to marry anyone and he has to be valedictorian. Confused that what she thought she wanted is not what it appeared to be, she decides to take a bus to go see her grandparents for her birthday instead of going out with Charlie. After her grandparents tell her that her grandmother can see the future and that she knows exactly when she is going to die (yet will not tell her husband), she confides her story in them. Her grandfather and his lodge friends then try a strange séance ritual to send her back to 1985.

Peggy is then kidnapped by Charlie who takes her to a greenhouse, leaving everyone at the Lodge thinking that the ritual worked. He tells her that he told his Dad that he gave up singing and was given 10% of the business so he can support her. He then proposes, to which she declares she would have to be a fool to marry him twice and tries to leave. He then gives her the locket she wore at the beginning of the film and when she looks inside she sees baby pictures of her and Charlie, which resemble their children. Peggy sees how much he loves her and how much she loves him and they kiss. They begin to make love, which would again lead to Peggy getting pregnant and marrying him. In the next moment, Peggy Sue is transported back to 1985.

Peggy Sue awakes in a hospital, with Charlie at her side, singing to her surrounded by cards, flowers, balloons and other well wishes. Charlies picks up a book and states that Michael Fitzsimmons sent his book, which was dedicated to her and their night together (the inscription says, "to Peggy Sue and a Starry Night"). She says it must be another Peggy Sue since she barely knew him. Charlie, meanwhile, is deeply regretful of his adultery and tells Peggy Sue he wants her back. When she questions him about Janet, he swears it's over and that he will do anything to get her back. It seems there's hope for them possibly reconciling their differences when Peggy Sue looks at Charlie with new eyes and (citing a reference from her grandfather who claimed that her grandmother's strudel kept the family together) says, "I'd like to invite you over to your house for dinner on Sunday with your kids. I'll make a strudel."


Debra Winger was originally signed to play Peggy Sue but was forced to back out just before production began due to a back injury suffered in a bicycle accident.

Release and reception[edit]

Peggy Sue Got Married gained a positive reaction from critics, as it currently holds an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews.

The film opened with $6,942,408 and ended up grossing $41,382,841 in the U.S. It was the first box-office success for Coppola since Apocalypse Now.[3]

The film ranked number 17 on Entertainment Weekly‍ '​s list of "50 Best High School Movies".[4]

This film appeared on Siskel and Ebert's best of 1986 lists.[5]

American Film Institute lists

Musical adaptation[edit]

The film was adapted by Leichtling and Sarner into a full-length musical theater production which opened in London's West End theatre district in 2001. Despite receiving solid reviews[8] and a several million pound advance, 9/11 forced the show to close early.


  1. ^ "PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 29, 1986. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jim Catalano (1995). "Interview: Marshall Crenshaw" (in German). Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  3. ^ "''Peggy Sue Got Married'' at Box Office Mojo". 1986-12-30. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies". Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  5. ^ "Siskel and Ebert Top Ten Lists (1969-1998)". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  7. ^ American Film Institute. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Peggy Sue Got Married - the Musical, a CurtainUp review". Retrieved 2011-05-20. 

External links[edit]