Terms Of Endearment


2h 10m 1983
Terms Of Endearment

Brief Synopsis

A mother-daughter relationship survives years of rivalry and romantic problems.

Film Details

Also Known As
Tendres passions, Ă–mhetsbevis
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Medical
Adaptation
Release Date
1983
Location
Texas, USA; Nebraska, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Synopsis

Multiple Academy Award-winner "Terms of Endearment" (1983) has surely endeared itself to audiences both comically, and emotionally. Based off of the novel by Larry McMurtry, the film's plot focuses on the capricious relationship between a mother and her daughter. Their lives are constantly changing and the daughter fighting a bout of terminal cancer, every day is filled with drama. The lead cast is superb and is complemented well by the strong supporting actors.

Crew

James Alexander

Sound

Terry Lynn Allen

Sound Editor

Harold Arlen

Music

Bob Badami

Music Editor

Andrzej Bartkowiak

Director Of Photography

Andrzej Bartkowiak

Dp/Cinematographer

Jackie Beavers

Casting

Leonard Bernstein

Song

James L. Brooks

Screenplay

James L. Brooks

Producer

Brian Brosnan

Location Manager

Hoagy Carmichael

Music

Ellen Chenoweth

Casting

Albert Coleman

Assistant Editor

Norval Crutcher

Sound Editor

Samuel C Crutcher

Sound Editor

Joanne D'antonio

Sound Editor

David Davis

Advisor

Rosemary Dorsey

Script Supervisor

Jeannie Epper

Stunts

Marty Ewing

Assistant Director

Anthony J Faso

Costumes

Penney Finkelman Cox

Coproducer

Wayne Fitzgerald

Titles

Jeff Freeman

Assistant Editor

Judy Garland

Song Performer

Alan Gibbs

Stunts

E Ray Goetz

Song

Michael Gore

Music

Oda Groeschel

Costumes

Cecelia Hall

Sound Editor

Mark Harrah

Technical Advisor

Lorenz Hart

Music

Richard Hazard

Original Music

Richard Hazard

Music

Austen Jewell

Unit Production Manager

Martin Jurow

Producer

Liz Keigley

Casting

Carole King

Song Performer

Carole King

Song

Rick Kline

Sound

Gerry Leetch

Hair

Edgar Leslie

Song

Sam Lewis

Song

Terry E Lewis

Props

Barbara Marks

Sound Editor

Richard Marks

Editor

Ira Marvin

Production Supervisor

Larry Mcmurtry

Source Material (From Novel)

Johnny Mercer

Music

Ethel Merman

Song Performer

George W. Meyer

Song

Harold Michelson

Art Director

Billy Miller

Key Grip

Dick Mingalone

Camera Operator

Donald O Mitchell

Sound

Anthony Mondello

Set Decorator

Ben Nye Jr.

Makeup

Kevin O'connell

Sound

Jennifer Parsons

Costumes

Andrew G Patterson

Sound Editor

Tom Pedigo

Set Decorator

Polly Platt

Production Designer

Cole Porter

Song

Kaye Pownall

Hair

Don Reddy

Camera Operator

Shari Rhodes

Casting

Richard Rodgers

Music

Jerry Rosenthal

Sound Editor

Zade Rosenthal

Photography

Bron Roylance

Makeup

James Sabat

Sound

Jean Schwartz

Song

Albert Shapiro

Assistant Director

Stephen Sondheim

Song

Julie C Steffes

Makeup

Juliet Taylor

Casting

Sandy Veneziano

Set Designer

Susan Vogelfang

Location Manager

Dan Wallin

Music

Ned Washington

Music

George Watters

Sound Editor

Meta Wilde

Script Supervisor

Sidney Wolinsky

Editing

Tom Wright

Storyboard Artist

Joe Young

Song

Victor Young

Music

Kristi Zea

Costume Designer

Film Details

Also Known As
Tendres passions, Ă–mhetsbevis
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Medical
Adaptation
Release Date
1983
Location
Texas, USA; Nebraska, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Award Wins

Best Actress

1983
Shirley Maclaine

Best Actress

1983
Debra Winger

Best Adapted Screenplay

1983

Best Director

1983
James L. Brooks

Best Picture

1983

Best Supporting Actor

1983
John Lithgow

Best Supporting Actor

1983
Jack Nicholson

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1983
Polly Platt

Best Editing

1983
Richard Marks

Best Score

1983

Best Sound

1983

Articles

Terms of Endearment


"Come to laugh, come to cry, come to care, come to terms," implored the trailer for Terms of Endearment upon its release in 1983. As it turns out, everyone did just that, from moviegoers to critics to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Terms of Endearment cleaned up at the Oscars with five wins, ignited a love/hate firestorm with film reviewers, and charmed audiences with its bittersweet story of a mother and daughter navigating through family issues, relationships, and death. Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, who penned two other books made into popular films - The Last Picture Show (1971) and Lonesome Dove (1989) - Terms was the labor of love for director James L. Brooks.

A TV veteran responsible for such hit series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) and Taxi (1978-83), Brooks had never directed a film before. As he explained in an interview in Film Comment, "The book was sent to me as a vehicle for a specific actress. I read the book and I had a great emotional reaction to it, but I didn't want to do it without preconditions, without saying it had to be the right person." The actress was Jennifer Jones, who earned an Oscar for her performance in The Song of Bernadette (1943), a fine performer by Brooks' own admission, but not who he envisioned for the lead role of Aurora, the sassy and controlling mother. He succeeded in convincing Paramount to pick up the project while effectively ending Jones' involvement in the picture and eventually got the green light from Michael Eisner, who wrote the following note: "Terms of Endearment. Go picture at 7 million. Deliver Xmas of '82."

Brooks quickly cast Shirley MacLaine as Aurora, because Brooks said, "She was the only one who ever saw it as a comedy." The other roles would not be assigned so easily: Sissy Spacek was originally set to play her daughter Emma, and Brooks, who also wrote the screenplay, added a pivotal character to the action - Garrett Breedlove, the ex-astronaut neighbor of Aurora, a role he created specifically for Burt Reynolds. However, Reynolds turned the role down due to a prior film commitment - bad move, it was Stroker Ace (1983). Paul Newman was also offered the role before Nicholson. Spacek was replaced by Debra Winger, a rising star with An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and Urban Cowboy (1980) to her credit (her role in Urban Cowboy was, coincidentally, slated to be Spacek's as well).

Jack Nicholson jumped at the chance to play Breedlove, declaring in Rolling Stone interview, "...I've always wanted to play older...One of the things that motivated me with that character is that everyone was starting to make a total cliche out of middle age crisis, they were dissatisfied, they hated their job. I just went against the grain of the cliche. I just wanted to say, 'Wait a minute. I happen to be this age and I'm not in any midlife crisis. I'm not an object of scorn or pity by anybody ten years younger than me.' There's got to be other people like me, so I'd like to represent that in this movie." Nicholson would later say he based his character in part on astronaut Russell Schweikert (a former high school friend) and his own brother-in-law, a test pilot. Rounding out the cast were Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow--on a 3-day break from filming Footloose (1984), and Danny DeVito, the latter playing a hapless suitor of Aurora.

During shooting, rumors abounded that Winger and MacLaine were not getting along: MacLaine later said of her once temperamental co-star, "She marches to the beat of a different drummer than the rest of us." Brooks, in the Film Comment interview, was more diplomatic, stating, "No, they didn't go out, they didn't talk into the night, they didn't pal around together. But each of them understood better than anybody else alive what the other was going through. The bonds were so deep and singular they could take any kind of behavior and not be damaged. So everybody would say "Look how they hate each other" and you'd find them turning to each other and playing a scene brilliantly. It's like estranged family members in a way. Whenever the situation demands, the estrangement is gone and the familial qualities are there."

In a Los Angeles Times article, Winger said, "For three months I walked around with pregnancy pads. Every two weeks I added weights. I slept with the pads. My back was killing me. I never gave in." The actress's demand for realism, however, didn't mesh with MacLaine's approach. "Debra insisted that I, and her parents, call her by the character's name, Emma," recalled MacLaine. "I understood the torture she was going through, but I just don't work that way. " MacLaine's own preparations for her role were equally unconventional, though. "My real role model was Martha Mitchell," the actress told reporters. "She was in my mind all the time. I always felt she was hovering while I was working."

When MacLaine was filming the sequel to Terms in 1996, the less successful The Evening Star, the producers wanted to use a picture of Debra Winger. In an interview with E! Online MacLaine recalls, "The producer called Debra and asked if we could use it and Debra said, "Sure, just make sure Shirley doesn't use it as a dartboard."

MacLaine's relationship with Nicholson was more positive; in the same interview, she described it as: "We're like old smoothies working together. You know the old smoothies they used to show whenever you went to the Ice Follies. They would have this elderly man and woman--who at that time were 40--and they had a little bit too much weight around the waist and were moving a little slower. But they danced so elegantly and so in synch with each other that the audience just laid back and sort of sighed. That's the way it is working with Jack. We both know what the other is going to do. And we don't socialize or anything. It's an amazing chemistry--a wonderful, wonderful feeling."

Regardless of the production ups and downs, Terms of Endearment proved to be a massive box office hit, prompting many rave reviews like this one from the New York Daily News: "...A juicy, utterly captivating movie that not only features wonderfully human characters, but actually dares to deal with the joys and frustrations of maintaining a mother-and-daughter relationship at a time when the average Hollywood movie is concerned mostly with overwrought computers." Not-so-positive reviews included such gems as "Terms of Endearment is as manipulative as anything Spielberg ever did. Sentimentality drips from every scene. . . Lots of laughs, just as many tears, and a general feeling of having one's strings pulled." This oft-heard verdict of emotional manipulation invoked Brooks to respond, "Okay, so what's manipulative? This woman gets ill. That's a manipulation? No, because we don't ask anybody to feel the things you usually ask an audience to feel by virtue of that. We don't ask them to feel sorry for anybody. We don't jerk tears. And it's not sugar-coated either. I think we serve truth, and I think we serve comedy. Truth first, comedy second. If you talk to five people about this picture, they end up talking about themselves; that's how unmanipulated they are, there's room for them to put their own lives and their own history in it. I don't respect the thought process that comes up with an easy word like manipulation. There are shots to take at this picture. Not that one, though."

The Academy apparently agreed: Brooks picked up the Oscar for Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture - not bad for his first try! In his acceptance speeches he thanked, among others, Jennifer Jones, Paramount, and Debra Winger, declaring that she "worked on this picture in countless ways for about a year with about as much as a person can give to a picture." Winger was the only primary player not recognized with an award for her efforts. Nicholson picked up the Best Supporting statuette, memorializing the event with the enigmatically playful, "All you rock people down at the Roxy and up in the Rockies, rock on!" Beating out Winger for Best Actress, MacLaine accepted her Oscar with an emotional, "I'm gonna cry, because this show has been as long as my career. I have wondered for twenty-six years what this would feel like." It was rumored that on her way up to the podium, she stopped by Winger and whispered, "Half of this belongs to you," to which Winger retorted, "I'll take half." Upon finishing her speech, MacLaine turned to go, and then turned back for a parting shot: "I deserve this!"

Producer/Director: James L. Brooks
Screenplay: James L. Brooks, Larry McMurtry
Art Direction: Harold Michelson
Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editing: Richard Marks, Sidney Wolinsky
Music: Michael Gore
Cast: Debra Winger (Emma Greenway), Shirley MacLaine (Aurora Greenway), Jack Nicholson (Garrett Breedlove), Jeff Daniels (Flap), John Lithgow (Sam), Danny De Vito (Vernon Dahlart).
C-132m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Eleanor Quin
Terms Of Endearment

Terms of Endearment

"Come to laugh, come to cry, come to care, come to terms," implored the trailer for Terms of Endearment upon its release in 1983. As it turns out, everyone did just that, from moviegoers to critics to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Terms of Endearment cleaned up at the Oscars with five wins, ignited a love/hate firestorm with film reviewers, and charmed audiences with its bittersweet story of a mother and daughter navigating through family issues, relationships, and death. Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, who penned two other books made into popular films - The Last Picture Show (1971) and Lonesome Dove (1989) - Terms was the labor of love for director James L. Brooks. A TV veteran responsible for such hit series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) and Taxi (1978-83), Brooks had never directed a film before. As he explained in an interview in Film Comment, "The book was sent to me as a vehicle for a specific actress. I read the book and I had a great emotional reaction to it, but I didn't want to do it without preconditions, without saying it had to be the right person." The actress was Jennifer Jones, who earned an Oscar for her performance in The Song of Bernadette (1943), a fine performer by Brooks' own admission, but not who he envisioned for the lead role of Aurora, the sassy and controlling mother. He succeeded in convincing Paramount to pick up the project while effectively ending Jones' involvement in the picture and eventually got the green light from Michael Eisner, who wrote the following note: "Terms of Endearment. Go picture at 7 million. Deliver Xmas of '82." Brooks quickly cast Shirley MacLaine as Aurora, because Brooks said, "She was the only one who ever saw it as a comedy." The other roles would not be assigned so easily: Sissy Spacek was originally set to play her daughter Emma, and Brooks, who also wrote the screenplay, added a pivotal character to the action - Garrett Breedlove, the ex-astronaut neighbor of Aurora, a role he created specifically for Burt Reynolds. However, Reynolds turned the role down due to a prior film commitment - bad move, it was Stroker Ace (1983). Paul Newman was also offered the role before Nicholson. Spacek was replaced by Debra Winger, a rising star with An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and Urban Cowboy (1980) to her credit (her role in Urban Cowboy was, coincidentally, slated to be Spacek's as well). Jack Nicholson jumped at the chance to play Breedlove, declaring in Rolling Stone interview, "...I've always wanted to play older...One of the things that motivated me with that character is that everyone was starting to make a total cliche out of middle age crisis, they were dissatisfied, they hated their job. I just went against the grain of the cliche. I just wanted to say, 'Wait a minute. I happen to be this age and I'm not in any midlife crisis. I'm not an object of scorn or pity by anybody ten years younger than me.' There's got to be other people like me, so I'd like to represent that in this movie." Nicholson would later say he based his character in part on astronaut Russell Schweikert (a former high school friend) and his own brother-in-law, a test pilot. Rounding out the cast were Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow--on a 3-day break from filming Footloose (1984), and Danny DeVito, the latter playing a hapless suitor of Aurora. During shooting, rumors abounded that Winger and MacLaine were not getting along: MacLaine later said of her once temperamental co-star, "She marches to the beat of a different drummer than the rest of us." Brooks, in the Film Comment interview, was more diplomatic, stating, "No, they didn't go out, they didn't talk into the night, they didn't pal around together. But each of them understood better than anybody else alive what the other was going through. The bonds were so deep and singular they could take any kind of behavior and not be damaged. So everybody would say "Look how they hate each other" and you'd find them turning to each other and playing a scene brilliantly. It's like estranged family members in a way. Whenever the situation demands, the estrangement is gone and the familial qualities are there." In a Los Angeles Times article, Winger said, "For three months I walked around with pregnancy pads. Every two weeks I added weights. I slept with the pads. My back was killing me. I never gave in." The actress's demand for realism, however, didn't mesh with MacLaine's approach. "Debra insisted that I, and her parents, call her by the character's name, Emma," recalled MacLaine. "I understood the torture she was going through, but I just don't work that way. " MacLaine's own preparations for her role were equally unconventional, though. "My real role model was Martha Mitchell," the actress told reporters. "She was in my mind all the time. I always felt she was hovering while I was working." When MacLaine was filming the sequel to Terms in 1996, the less successful The Evening Star, the producers wanted to use a picture of Debra Winger. In an interview with E! Online MacLaine recalls, "The producer called Debra and asked if we could use it and Debra said, "Sure, just make sure Shirley doesn't use it as a dartboard." MacLaine's relationship with Nicholson was more positive; in the same interview, she described it as: "We're like old smoothies working together. You know the old smoothies they used to show whenever you went to the Ice Follies. They would have this elderly man and woman--who at that time were 40--and they had a little bit too much weight around the waist and were moving a little slower. But they danced so elegantly and so in synch with each other that the audience just laid back and sort of sighed. That's the way it is working with Jack. We both know what the other is going to do. And we don't socialize or anything. It's an amazing chemistry--a wonderful, wonderful feeling." Regardless of the production ups and downs, Terms of Endearment proved to be a massive box office hit, prompting many rave reviews like this one from the New York Daily News: "...A juicy, utterly captivating movie that not only features wonderfully human characters, but actually dares to deal with the joys and frustrations of maintaining a mother-and-daughter relationship at a time when the average Hollywood movie is concerned mostly with overwrought computers." Not-so-positive reviews included such gems as "Terms of Endearment is as manipulative as anything Spielberg ever did. Sentimentality drips from every scene. . . Lots of laughs, just as many tears, and a general feeling of having one's strings pulled." This oft-heard verdict of emotional manipulation invoked Brooks to respond, "Okay, so what's manipulative? This woman gets ill. That's a manipulation? No, because we don't ask anybody to feel the things you usually ask an audience to feel by virtue of that. We don't ask them to feel sorry for anybody. We don't jerk tears. And it's not sugar-coated either. I think we serve truth, and I think we serve comedy. Truth first, comedy second. If you talk to five people about this picture, they end up talking about themselves; that's how unmanipulated they are, there's room for them to put their own lives and their own history in it. I don't respect the thought process that comes up with an easy word like manipulation. There are shots to take at this picture. Not that one, though." The Academy apparently agreed: Brooks picked up the Oscar for Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture - not bad for his first try! In his acceptance speeches he thanked, among others, Jennifer Jones, Paramount, and Debra Winger, declaring that she "worked on this picture in countless ways for about a year with about as much as a person can give to a picture." Winger was the only primary player not recognized with an award for her efforts. Nicholson picked up the Best Supporting statuette, memorializing the event with the enigmatically playful, "All you rock people down at the Roxy and up in the Rockies, rock on!" Beating out Winger for Best Actress, MacLaine accepted her Oscar with an emotional, "I'm gonna cry, because this show has been as long as my career. I have wondered for twenty-six years what this would feel like." It was rumored that on her way up to the podium, she stopped by Winger and whispered, "Half of this belongs to you," to which Winger retorted, "I'll take half." Upon finishing her speech, MacLaine turned to go, and then turned back for a parting shot: "I deserve this!" Producer/Director: James L. Brooks Screenplay: James L. Brooks, Larry McMurtry Art Direction: Harold Michelson Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak Editing: Richard Marks, Sidney Wolinsky Music: Michael Gore Cast: Debra Winger (Emma Greenway), Shirley MacLaine (Aurora Greenway), Jack Nicholson (Garrett Breedlove), Jeff Daniels (Flap), John Lithgow (Sam), Danny De Vito (Vernon Dahlart). C-132m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Eleanor Quin

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 16, 1983

Re-released in United States on Video October 28, 1996

Released in United States November 1983

Released in United States Fall November 16, 1983

Re-released in United States on Video October 28, 1996

Released in United States November 1983