Runaway Bride (film)

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Runaway Bride
Runaway Bride.jpg
North American theatrical release poster
Directed byGarry Marshall
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byBruce Green
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed by
Release date
  • July 30, 1999 (1999-07-30) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million
Box office$309.5 million

Runaway Bride is a 1999 American screwball romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The screenplay, written by Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, is about a reporter (Gere) that is assigned to write a story about a woman (Roberts) who has left a string of fiancés at the altar.

It is the second film to co-star Gere and Roberts, following Pretty Woman (1990). It received generally negative reviews from critics but was a commercial success, grossing $309 million worldwide.


Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is a spirited and attractive young woman who has had a number of unsuccessful relationships. Maggie, nervous about being married, has left a trail of fiancés waiting for her at the altar on their wedding day. All of these were caught on tape, earning Maggie tabloid fame and the dubious nickname "The Runaway Bride."

Meanwhile, in New York, columnist Homer Eisenhower Graham or "Ike" (Richard Gere), writes an article about her that contains several factual errors, supplied to him by a man he meets in a bar who Ike later learns was one of Maggie's former fiancés. Ike is fired for not verifying his source, but is invited to write an in-depth article about Maggie in a bid to restore his reputation. He travels to Hale, Maryland, where he finds Maggie living with her family and on her fourth attempt to become married. The fourth groom-to-be, Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni), is a local high school football coach who uses sports analogies to help Maggie with her concerns. He constantly makes references to Maggie "focusing" on the goal-line in reference to their pending nuptials. As Ike starts going around town to meet her friends, family, and former fiancés, Maggie becomes frustrated. Maggie offers Ike the opportunity to spend time with her, to see that she's not a bad person, that she and Bob really will work out. Ike and Maggie become closer the more time they spend together.

As he researches Maggie's history, Ike realizes that Maggie adopts the interests of her fiancés. This is signified most prominently by her choice of eggs, which changes with each fiancé. At a pre-wedding celebration for her and Bob, Ike defends Maggie from the public mockery she starts receiving from her family and guests, and Maggie runs outside due to the embarrassment. Ike then confronts Maggie outside about his realization regarding her relationships.

During the wedding rehearsal, Bob tries to quell Maggie's wedding anxieties by walking her down the aisle. Bob asks Ike to stand in for him at the altar, playing the groom. After Bob gets her to the altar, Ike and Maggie share a passionate kiss and admit to each other their feelings. Bob is chagrined, becomes jealous and punches Ike in the face before he storms out of the church. In the aftermath, Ike proposes that he and Maggie get married since the wedding is already arranged. At the wedding, Ike takes Bob's advice and maintains eye contact with Maggie to reassure her as she walks down the aisle. However, a camera flash breaks her concentration and Maggie suddenly gets cold feet and flees. Ike pursues her but she hitches a ride away on a FedEx truck.

Ike returns to New York and Maggie tries to discover herself, trying different types of eggs, and putting her lighting designs up for sale in New York stores. She shows up unexpectedly at Ike's apartment one night where he finds her making friends with his cat, Italics. Maggie then explains that she had been running because every other guy she was engaged to was only engaged to the idea she had created for them rather than the real her, but with Ike she ran because, even though he truly understood her, she didn't understand herself. She "turns in" her running shoes just before proposing to Ike. Ike hides his eyes, but she persists. The two are married in a private ceremony outside, on a hill, avoiding the big ceremonies that Maggie notes she never actually liked. In the end, they are shown riding away on horseback while everyone in Hale and New York (clued in via cell phone by Ike and Maggie's family) celebrates the fact that Maggie finally got married.

A post credit scene shows Maggie and Ike playing in the snow signifying that the relationship is going strong well after the wedding.


  • Julia Roberts as Margaret "Maggie" Carpenter, a woman who has run away from three weddings but is hoping not to do so on her fourth wedding attempt.
  • Richard Gere as Homer Eisenhower "Ike" Graham, a New York City news reporter who writes an article about Maggie and later falls in love with her.
  • Joan Cusack as Peggy Flemming, Maggie's best friend and co-worker at beauty salon. She is married to Corey Flemming, the town's radio announcer.
  • Héctor Elizondo as Fisher, Ike's boss who has since married Ike's ex-wife Ellie.
  • Rita Wilson as Ellie Graham, Ike's former wife and editor. She later marries Ike's boss Fisher.
  • Paul Dooley as Walter Carpenter, Maggie's widowed father who owns a hardware store. He later falls in love with and marries Mrs. Pressman.
  • Christopher Meloni as Bob Kelly, Maggie's fiancée who coaches High School football.
  • Lisa Roberts Gillan as Elaine, Ellie's secretary from Manhattan.
  • Donal Logue as Father Brian Norris, the first groom who Maggie dumps at the altar. He later became a priest.
  • Yul Vazquez as Dead Head Gill Chavez, the second groom Maggie dumps at the altar. He is a musician and car mechanic.
  • Reg Rogers as George "Bug Guy" Swilling, the third groom Maggie dumps at the altar.
  • Kathleen Marshall as Cousin Cindy, Maggie's cousin who isn't married.
  • Jean Schertler as Grandma Julia Carpenter, Maggie's grandmother and mother of Walter. She is an avid runner.
  • Sela Ward as pretty woman in bar.
  • Garry Marshall (uncredited) as softball first baseman
  • Laurie Metcalf (uncredited) as Betty Trout
  • Larry Miller (uncredited) as Kevin, New York bartender
  • Emily Eby (uncredited) as reporter
  • Linda Larkin as Gill's girlfriend


The film was in development for over a decade. Actors attached at various times: Anjelica Huston, Mary Steenburgen, Lorraine Bracco, Geena Davis, Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, Ellen DeGeneres, Téa Leoni (for the role of Maggie); Christopher Walken, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas (for the role of Ike) and Ben Affleck (for the role of Bob). Director Michael Hoffman was attached. The film used a number of callbacks to Roberts’s and Gere's prior work, Pretty Woman. These references included the reframing of the store scene where she was blocked from buying the clothes. Writers Elaine May and Leslie Dixon did unused rewrites.[1]

Much of the film production took place in and around historic Berlin, Maryland, which was made over to become the fictitious town of Hale, Maryland. Main Street in Berlin as well as some of the landmarks such as the Atlantic Hotel were left nearly as-is during production, while some of the business names on Main Street were changed.[citation needed]

Coco Lee performed the theme song, "Before I Fall in Love."[citation needed]


Box office[edit]

The film opened on July 30, 1999 with $12 million on its opening day.[2] In its opening weekend, Runaway Bride peaked at #1 with $35.1 million.[3]

By the end of its run, the film had grossed $152.3 million in the United States and Canada, and an international gross of $157.2 million, altogether making $309.5 million worldwide.[4]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 46% based on 87 reviews, with an average rating of 5.31/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Cliche story with lack of chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts."[5] According to Metacritic, which assigned the film a weighted average score of 39 out of 100 based on 29 critics, the film received "generally unfavorable reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Runaway Bride' Josann McGibbon & Sara Parriott script is so muddled and contrived, raising issues only to ignore them or throw them away, you wonder why so many people embraced it."[8][9] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2/4 stars, saying: "After seeing Gere and Roberts play much smarter people (even in romantic comedies), it is painful to see them dumbed down here. The screenplay is so sluggish, they're like Derby winners made to carry extra weight."[10] The New York Times said: "More often, the film is like a ride through a car wash: forward motion, familiar phases in the same old order and a sense of being carried along steadily on a well-used track. It works without exactly showing signs of life."[11]


No.TitleWriter(s)Performing ArtistLength
1."I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"U24:40
2."Ready to Run"Dixie Chicks3:52
3."I Love You"
Martina McBride2:54
4."Maneater"Hall & Oates4:32
5."From My Head to My Heart"Evan and Jaron3:13
6."Blue Eyes Blue"Diane WarrenEric Clapton4:42
7."And That's What Hurts"Hall & Oates4:03
8."Never Saw Blue Like That"Shawn Colvin4:39
9."You Can't Hurry Love"Dixie Chicks3:07
10."You Sang to Me"Marc Anthony5:26
11."You're the Only One for Me"Allure4:04
12."Before I Fall in Love"
  • Dave Deviller
  • Sean Hosein
  • Allan Rich
  • Dorothy Gazeley
CoCo Lee3:44
13."Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)?"Billy Joel1:59
14."It Never Entered My Mind"Miles Davis4:02
Total length:54:57


  • The soundtrack peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 Charts on August 20, 1999.[12]


  1. ^ "'Bride's' Long, Long Path to the Altar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  2. ^ "Witch Chases 'Bride'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 30-August 1, 1999". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Runaway Bride (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  5. ^ "Runaway Bride (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  6. ^ "Runaway Bride Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  7. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Runaway Bride" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "It Looked Good on Paper". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  9. ^ "Review Roberts runs away with hearts in Runaway Bride". CNN. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  10. ^ "Runaway Bride". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "FILM REVIEW; Pretty Woman Is Back, But Now She's Cautious". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  12. ^ "Runaway Bride Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  13. ^ "Discogs Credits". Discogs. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  14. ^ "AllMusic Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Runaway Bride (liner notes). Various Artists. Columbia Records. 1999. CK 69923.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]