The Heartbreak Kid (1972 film)

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For the 2007 remake of this film, see The Heartbreak Kid (2007 film).
The Heartbreak Kid
The Heartbreak Kid (1972 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Elaine May
Produced by Edgar J. Scherick
Written by Neil Simon
Bruce Jay Friedman (story)
Starring Charles Grodin
Cybill Shepherd
Jeannie Berlin
Eddie Albert
Audra Lindley
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Palomar Pictures International
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
December 17, 1972 (1972-12-17)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $5,600,000 (rentals)[1]

The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 dark romantic comedy film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, and starring Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, Eddie Albert, Audra Lindley, Doris Roberts and Cybill Shepherd. It is based on the short story "A Change of Plan", written by Bruce Jay Friedman.

Jeannie Berlin was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Eddie Albert was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

It is #91 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs, a list of the funniest American movies ever made.

It was remade in 2007 as The Heartbreak Kid starring Ben Stiller and Malin Åkerman.

Plot and theme[edit]

A black comedy examination of love and hypocrisy loosely based on Theodore Dreiser's classic novel, An American Tragedy (and thereby recalling an earlier, well-regarded film of Dreiser's novel, A Place in the Sun), the satire begins with the New York City traditional Jewish marriage of emotionally shallow, self-absorbed, "nebbish"-man-boy, Lenny Cantrow, who is a sporting goods salesman (Charles Grodin). While on honeymoon at the Doral Hotel on Miami Beach, he meets and pursues a tall, blonde, Midwestern, seductively bitchy, but sarcastically witty and gorgeous, student named Kelly Corcoran (Cybill Shepherd). His unsophisticated and emotionally needy bride, Lila (Jeannie Berlin, daughter of director, Elaine May), refuses to use sunscreen and consequently develops a severe sunburn, which quarantines her in their hotel room. Lenny begins a rendezvous with Kelly, lying to his wife as to his whereabouts. Lenny recklessly and impulsively decides to dump Lila, ending his ephemeral marriage, in order to pursue unloving Kelly, his false ideal, and ultimate fantasy shiksa-goddess. (The girl he was "waiting for all of his life". He just "timed it wrong".) She is attending college in Minnesota, where her somewhat bigoted, suspicious and overprotective, hostile father (Eddie Albert) is a relentless obstacle. Despite Mr. Corcoran's opposition, which includes trying to buy him off with $25,000 (following a dinner during which Lenny inanely praises Midwestern produce, calling cauliflower "honest"), Lenny manages to seduce and marry Kelly. The movie ends with their wedding.



The film has received almost universal praise from critics, with a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] Notably, The New York Times declared it to be "a first-class American comedy, as startling in its way as was The Graduate."[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

American Film Institute recognition

Academy Awards

Golden Globe Awards

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974, pg 19.
  2. ^ The Heartbreak Kid on Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ The New York Times review

External links[edit]