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Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 12 April 1985 (USA)
A bored suburban housewife, seeking escape from her life, suffers amnesia after an accident, wakes up, and is mistaken for a free-spirited New York City drifter named Susan.

Director:

Susan Seidelman

Writer:

Leora Barish
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosanna Arquette ... Roberta Glass
Madonna ... Susan
Aidan Quinn ... Dez
Mark Blum ... Gary Glass
Robert Joy ... Jim
Laurie Metcalf ... Leslie Glass
Anna Levine ... Crystal
Will Patton ... Wayne Nolan
Peter Maloney ... Ian
Steven Wright ... Larry Stillman D.D.S
John Turturro ... Ray
Anne Carlisle ... Victoria
José Angel Santana José Angel Santana ... Boutique Owner (as Jose Santana)
Giancarlo Esposito ... Street Vendor
Richard Hell Richard Hell ... Bruce Meeker
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Storyline

Bored Roberta spots a regular personal ad in the paper titled 'Desperately Seeking Susan'. She heads off to New York, following one of the ads, and finds Susan. When Susan sells her jacket, Roberta - trying to emulate her mystery ad writer - buys the jacket and wears it. Little does she know someone is looking for the jacket - and its owner... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperately Seeking Susan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,526,098, 31 March 1985

Gross USA:

$27,398,584

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$27,398,584
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon reading the script for the first time, Rosanna Arquette expressed her desire to play the part of Susan. She was surprised to discover the producers actually wanted her to play the lead part of Roberta. See more »

Goofs

In the opening salon scene Roberta is reading the personal ads while waiting for the hairstylist and has a white towel around her shoulders in closeup shots that disappears when she's viewed from behind. See more »

Quotes

Ray: [after curtain goes down] Nice try, kid. Here you go. 20 bucks. We'll see you tomorrow night at the same time.
Roberta: [surprised] You're hiring me?
Ray: Well, of course, we're hiring you.
Roberta: OK, that's great! Thank you!
Ray: [hands over the cage with the doves] You take these guys home, and you practice, all right?
[she accepts]
Ray: And, Susan... Practice a lot, OK?
Roberta: All right.
Ray: Good.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an edited version for basic cable and broadcast TV which appeared on the WE channel (and probably other outlets) after September 11, 2001, where several shots of the World Trade Center have been expunged (along with the usual swear words, drug references, etc.) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Newhart: Desperately Desiring Susan: Part 1 (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse and Arthur Sullivan
Played at the Magic Club
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cool girls from the city.
10 April 2004 | by vertigo_14See all my reviews

Desperately Seeking Susan is one of those titles in a catalogue of definitive 80s movies. It is a fantastic little caper directed by the fantastic Susan Seidleman, and unfortuantely, was one movie that got pitched around a long time before someone finally picked it up.

Susan (played terrifically by Madonna in her pre-burnout years) is a sassy, flaky, and often witty young woman who's always looking for a good time, even when danger is afoot. Enter Roberta Glass (Rosanna Arquette) who could practically be her alter ego as she is everything Susan is not. She is shy and judicious and stuck in a boring marriage, looking for an escape. She is everything Susan is not, and wants to be everything that Susan is. And she will get her chance.

Roberta reads the personal ads frequently because that is how wordly traveller Susan reaches her boyfriend, Jimmy (Robert Joy). They place ads saying hello and telling each where to meet. Roberta is going to tag along when Susan posts a new ad telling Jimmy to meet her in battery park. This is where Roberta takes an interest in Susan, but not that in single white female kind of way, despite the sudden mix up that arises out of all of this. She follows Susan around the city and so forth.

Someone else is following Susan, too. A murderer (Patton) looking for a very expensive earring that was stolen from a museum. He is after Susan because he knows she has the earring. But, after an accident at the park and Roberta winding up with amnesia, the murderer is after the wrong Susan. With the help of Jim's friend Dez (Quinn), Roberta slowly has to figure out who she is, otherwise the murderer is going to kill her, thinking she has the find. In the meantime, Susan teams up with Roberta's totally idiotic husband, Gary (Mark Blum) to find out Roberta's whereabouts. Roberta is going to get exactly what she wanted: a little fun, a little adventure, and a little escape, that will have her rethinking her own course.

Desperately Seeking Susan is really a fun movie that takes place in New York City. Everybody in it, even Mark Blum as the obnoxious Gary Glass and Laurie Metcalf as his compulsive and mistrusting sister, Leslie. Rosanna Arquette is great in nearly everything I've seen her in for her 80s career of movies, and works perfectly as Roberta in her romance with Dez (Quinn). And, it is one of the few things that I actually like Madonna in. They tried to recreate her Susan image (and story) for the movie, Who's That Girl (with Griffin Dunne), but it just couldn't work as perfectly as it did here. Seidleman and writer Leora Barish did some good work in producing a fun film.

By the way, if you're ever in Greenwhich Village, 'Love Saves the Day' (the second hand clothing store that Susan goes into to buy boots) still exists. However, they mostly sell retro novelty toys.


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