Ruby in Paradise

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Ruby in Paradise
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Victor Nuñez
Produced by Keith Crofford
Sam Gowan (exec. prod.)
Written by Victor Nuñez
Music by Charles Engstrom
Cinematography Alex Vlacos
Edited by Victor Nuñez
Distributed by October Films
Release dates
  • January 1993 (1993-01) (Sundance)
  • October 1993 (1993-10) (U.S.)
Running time
115 minutes
Language English
Budget $800,000 (estimated)
Box office $1,001,437

Ruby in Paradise is a 1993 film written, directed, and edited by Victor Nuñez, and starring Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean, and Dorothy Lyman. It is a homage to Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.[1]


Judd plays Ruby, the title character and narrator of the film. As the film begins, she is leaving Tennessee, landing in Panama City, Florida, a summer resort town she visited as a child. Although she arrives there in fall, at the beginning of the off-season, she gets a job at Chambers Beach Emporium, a souvenir store run by Mrs. Chambers (played by Lyman), overcoming the owner's initial rejection of her employment application by telling her "I've done retail before, and I work real cheap." Over the course of a year she keeps a journal (from which the film's narration is taken) and contemplates her career ups and downs, her love life, her past, and her future.

The film is a character study, proceeding at a leisurely pace with Ruby's introspective comments interspersed with routine scenes at the souvenir store or conversations with her friend Rochelle (played by Dean), or the men she dates (played by Field and Mitchum).


Production notes[edit]

Ruby in Paradise was filmed on location in Panama City, Florida at locations including since murdered Alan "Frog" Johnson's Show N Tail and John Pilcher's White Western Cabin.

Reception and release[edit]

The film received positive reception from mainstream critics. After the movie's theatrical run, the film was released on videocassette in 1994 by Republic and that same year in Canada by Cineplex Odeon. In 2008, Alliance Films released the movie on DVD in Canada.


Together with Public Access it won the 1993 Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. Roger Ebert picked it as one of his Top Ten Films for the year. It also won an Independent Spirit Award for Judd as Best Female Lead. It was nominated for the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics.


  1. ^ "Northanger Abbey". Jane Austen Society of North America. January 10, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
In the Soup
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic
tied with Public Access
Succeeded by
What Happened Was