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The First Wives Club (1996)

PG | | Comedy | 20 September 1996 (USA)
Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
Reunited by the death of a college friend, three divorced women seek revenge on the husbands who left them for younger women.

Director:

Hugh Wilson

Writers:

Olivia Goldsmith (novel), Robert Harling (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,387 ( 587)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Goldie Hawn ... Elise Elliot Atchison
Bette Midler ... Brenda Morelli Cushman
Diane Keaton ... Annie MacDuggan Paradis
Maggie Smith ... Gunilla Garson Goldberg
Sarah Jessica Parker ... Shelly Stewart
Dan Hedaya ... Morton Cushman
Stockard Channing ... Cynthia Swann Griffin
Victor Garber ... Bill Atchison
Stephen Collins ... Aaron Paradis
Elizabeth Berkley ... Phoebe LaVelle
Marcia Gay Harden ... Dr. Leslie Rosen
Bronson Pinchot ... Duarto Feliz
Jennifer Dundas ... Chris Paradis
Eileen Heckart ... Catherine MacDuggan
Philip Bosco ... Uncle Carmine
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Storyline

After years of helping their hubbies climb the ladder of success, three wives have been dumped for newer, curvier models. But the trio is determined to turn their pain into gain. They come up with a cleverly devious plan to hit their exes where it really hurts - in the wallet! Sit back and watch the sparks fly as The Wives get mad, get even and get it all. Justice has seldom been so sweet. Or so much fun. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Getting even... this fall. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some mild language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The First Wives Club See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,913,411, 22 September 1996

Gross USA:

$105,489,203

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$181,489,203
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Goldie Hawn was previously directed by Hugh Wilson in Protocol (1984). See more »

Goofs

In the scene after Cynthia's funeral, when the girls are at the restaurant table, Brenda asks Elise about her surgery. When Brenda says "...the full enchilada", it's dubbed from "...the full Ivana" (as seen in the trailer), referencing Ivana Trump. See more »

Quotes

Brenda: So okay, alimony sucks. Okay, you didn't get to play a police woman in a wonder bra. But look at you, you're gorgeous! And thanks to Cher's pioneering efforts you still haven't hit puberty! And once upon a time you *were* a terrific actress! You've even got an Oscar to prove it! You've spent your whole life with people *sucking* up to you! I'm sure Annie will agree with me when I say that *your* perception of life is *somewhat altered*!
See more »

Connections

References Mission: Impossible (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Tangerine
Written by Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger
See more »

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User Reviews

A Bit Brainless, But Still a Good Watch...
3 June 2004 | by Raven_ZSee all my reviews

The First Wives Club, while being an amusing flick, should not and can not be compared to the novel of the same name. As a matter of fact, some of the problems many people have with the film virtually disappear in the novel.

Annie Paradise, played by Diane Keaton, is far more annoying on screen than on page. In the film, Annie is anxious, neurotic, and just plain wimpy, in comparison to the novel Annie who happens to be quiet, and somewhat "over-nice." While many find that this film is disturbingly feminist, Annie's actions are far more forgiving in the novel, which has an array of background characters which Annie's husband exploit (While in the movie, all that he does is marry her therapist). This is completely forgotten in the screenplay, where Annie's family of two sons, and a daughter with Down's Syndrome, is now whittled down to one daughter, Chris the Lesbian. One can hardly blame Annie for her actions in the novel, where Aaron Paradise, her ex-husband, favors one son and forgets the other, can never accept his handicap daughter, and steals all of her trust fund and gambles on the stock market, losing it. In the film, she just appears to be an embittered woman.

Bette Midler's character of Brenda remains very similar in personality, but very different in sexuality. Her children too, get an overhaul in the novel's transition to film, but since none make much of an appearance in either, this is irrelevant. In the novel, however, Brenda's money problems are much greater, and her anger with Morty who "welsched" on her is so great that there's not much of a chance of her wanting to get back together with him -- besides the fact that in the novel, he's in prison, and Brenda realizes, albeit somewhat late in life, that's she's a lesbian. Instead, she gets together with her feminist lawyer who helps her take on Morty.

Elise Elliot, played by Goldie Hawn, is the most shocking change of character. Elise Elliot of the film is shallow, vain, and out of work because of her impending age. Elise Elliot (Atchison) of the novel is down-to-earth, classy, intelligent, and battling to enjoy her life while still following her mother's advice of how a wealthy heiress should live. Bill, her husband, commits crimes that are minor compared to the other Wives' husbands - as one of the richest women (by inheritance) in the world, she only asked that Bill would try to give her as normal of a life as possible. Instead, her cheated on her multiple times. Elise gets involved in Bill's downfall very little, however, and he brings it upon himself by falling in love with a self-destructive young woman named Phoebe.

While I enjoy both the movie and the book, the comparison is depressing. The film is filled with self-righteous feminism, and is the story of three women who can't seem to handle the fact that their marriages have now ended -- and all men appear to be pigs. The novel is intelligent and funny, and the women only bring justice to their husbands, letting "the punishment fit the crime." Also, in the novel, how a person acted depended on who they were, not their sex. All three Wives find love in new men (or in Brenda's case, women).

While watching the First Wives Club, one must remember to take all of it's actions with a grain of salt - it is merely an exaggeration of an idea. The novel is one of justice, and an excellent account of the lives of "WASPs" in New York -- don't blame it for how it's been adapted.


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