Mommie Dearest (movie)

1981 film by Frank Perry

Mommie Dearest is a 1981 American biographical psychological drama[2] movie directed by Frank Perry and starring Faye Dunaway, Steve Forrest, Mara Hobel, Diana Scarwid and Xander Berkeley. The movie shows Christina Crawford's adoptive mother, Hollywood actress Joan Crawford, as an abusive, controlling and manipulative mother. Christina and her brother Christopher are suffering child abuse from their mother.

Mommie Dearest
Directed byFrank Perry
Screenplay by
  • Robert Getchell
  • Tracy Hotchne
  • Frank Perry
  • Frank Yablans
Based onMommie Dearest
by Christina Crawford
Produced byFrank Yablans
CinematographyPaul Lohmann
Edited byPeter E. Berger
Music byHenry Mancini
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • September 16, 1981 (1981-09-16) (New York City)
  • September 18, 1981 (1981-09-18) (United States)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$19 million



The movie was adapted for the screen by Robert Getchell, Tracy Hotchner, Frank Perry, and Frank Yablans from Christina's 1978 autobiography of the same name. The executive producers were Christina's husband, David Koontz, and Terry O'Neill, Dunaway's then-boyfriend and soon-to-be husband. The movie was distributed by Paramount Pictures, the only one of the "Big Eight" movie studios for which Crawford had never appeared in a movie.



The movie was not considered successful at the box office, making just over $19 million in North America[3] from a $10 million budget.[4] Despite receiving mostly negative reviews from movie critics, the movie's melodramatic script and Faye Dunaway's acting, made it a cult movie and an "unintentional comedy".[5] It is often considered one of the worst movies ever made. It was nominated for nine Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies) at the 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards, and won five, including "Worst Picture" and "Worst Actress" for Faye Dunaway.[6]


  1. "MOMMIE DEAREST (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. September 30, 1981. Archived from the original on January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  2. "Mommie Dearest (1981) - Frank Perry | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie". Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  3. "Domestic box office gross". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  4. "AFI". AFI Catalog. Archived from the original on May 1, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  5. QueenB. "MOMMIE DEAREST – Midnight Screening of 1981 Cult Classic! « Long-standing Beach Cinematheque". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  6. Gary Susman. "17 Things You Never Knew About 'Mommie Dearest'". Moviefone. Archived from the original on August 16, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2018.

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