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The Goodbye Girl Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Rochelle O'Gorman

The Goodbye Girl is a bittersweet comedy about relationships and taking chances. Though it deals with the human condition, what most quickly comes to mind are those wickedly comedic scenes featuring Richard Dreyfuss in an Oscar-winning role. He plays a struggling actor with a sharp tongue who has sublet an apartment from single mom Marcia Mason, a divorcée with horrific taste in men, who are always running out on her. She is left high and dry once more, stuck sharing her apartment with Dreyfuss when he hasn't the heart to enforce his lease and toss out mother and daughter.

Neil Simon's play shines under the direction of Herbert Ross as these two mismatched people find their contempt changing into mutual admiration. Quinn Cummings is more interesting than most precocious child stars; she seems brighter and her manner is prickly instead of cloying. Watch this film just for the scene in which Dreyfuss plays Richard III in an off-off-Broadway play. He lisps, he limps, he screams. It is the worst theater you will ever see--and thoroughly hilarious.

Trivia!

The title song to the movie, The Goodbye Girl, was performed by David Gates, the former lead singer of Bread.

Academy Awards

The Goodbye Girl received an Academy Award for Actor (Richard Dreyfuss). The Goodbye Girl also received Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture (Ray Stark - Producer), Actress (Marsha Mason), Supporting Actress (Quinn Cummings), and for Writing (Best Screenplay written directly for the screen; Neil Simon).

Share Your Memories!

Is The Goodbye Girl one of your favorite movies? What do you remember about it? Share your stories (or your reviews) with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"A truly entertaining movie made even better by Neil simon's sparkling screenplay as well as the actors' unquestionable chemistry. Not to mention David Gates' (of the Bread fame) inspiring song of the same title. If you want a movie that will make you smile for a long time, this one's for you."

--yecaps25

"Undeniably, the best romantic comedy that bested other similar themes in the later years! One of those truly feel-good movies that I won't go tired of watching over and over again. A perfect in all aspects: theme, casting, script, directing and everything!"

--Kevin

"A terrific love story. Really nobody makes love movies like this one anymore. The song The Goodbye Girl is wonderful, and again they don't make love songs like they did in the Super70s."

--lollypop

"One of my FAVORITE films ever! I first saw this film with my x-husband at a theater in Los Angeles when it first came out back in '77. (I've seen it so many times since, I've lost count)!

I was 24 at the time, and was a huge fan of Richard Dryfuss. Masha Mason was so adorable, and Quinn Cummings was amazing as her little daughter with all the smarts! The theme song still gives me chills. Seeing it today fills me with so many memories. Those times were crazy but full of fun and hope. I myself had been a bit of a "Goodbye Girl" in real life so I could relate to Paula McFadden and her desire to find a love that will be forever. The film is real, human, and a total delight. On top of everything else, who doesn't love Neil Simon! If you still haven't seen this super entertaining flick, better make an evening of it soon. You will fall in love with the entire cast and always find a warm spot in your heart forever after by the mere mention of it's name!"

--vintagevogue1

"Last night we watched "Good Bye Girl" again. It is still one of my favorite movies. I just wondered if anyone knows where Quinn Cummings is now and what she is doing. [Editor's note: She invented or co-invented the Hip Hugger baby carrier and co-owns the company in Los Feliz, California where she is raising her daughter Anneke DiPietro, born in June 1999.]"

--Anonymous

"The first time I saw The Goodbye Girl, I was seven years old. My mom and I went with one of her best friends. and it was my first visit to a movie theater. My mom and dad had been divorced for two years by then, and I remember sitting in that dark theater, identifying so aptly with Quinn Cummings' character - always trying desperately to find something to like about the ones with whom my mom chose to spend her time, only to be toughened and wizened by the experience in the longrun.

Little else of the movie registered consciously for a long, long time beyond the titillating glimpse of bare male hip during the knock-down-drag-out over Dreyfuss's late-night guitar strum . well, other than an unbelievably enduring crush on Richard Dreyfuss.

I watched the movie this weekend as a thirty-three-year-old single mother of an eight-year-old daughter. and no, the parallel didn't escape me. But the corollary was really unintentional: I'd seen the trailers for the remake on cable a number of times and thought about watching. However, the staunch purist in me, who'd choose "Breakfast at Tiffany's" any day over "Pretty Woman", opted to rent the original.

I'd thought about popping up some corn and letting my daughter watch it with me, remembering the 'we got us when we got nobody else' mindset that was such a comfort to me, as a kid. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't try to make it 'our experience'.

Watching from a dual perspective was poignant and sweet. All of the feelings of that fragile little girl I'd left behind so long ago came flooding back. At the same time, I could also feel the toughness of being a woman who's seen and heard a good bit of muck.

I wrote a paper on Richard III in eighth grade. My teacher was a forty-something single woman who rode a motorcycle to work and carried her wallet in her back pocket, hanging from a chain. She gave us a list of classic books from which to pick and instructed us to write enough to be prepared to deliver in a three-minute oral report. While I remember very little specifically about my report, I still remember a note scribbled below my grade in teacher's red wax pencil: "What brought you to the conclusion that Richard's inner battle might be one of sexual identity?" While I don't know if she found my observation astute for a thirteen-year-old or subversive for it's very suggestion, in 1983, I got an 'A' - and she was tough, so I guess I did something right.

But I couldn't have told her, to save my life, how I might have drawn that conclusion. Not at thirteen. I didn't remember at all that Dreyfuss was issued the daunting task of portraying Richard as a flaming homosexual; I didn't even know what homosexuality was when I saw the movie. I just didn't 'get' the humor in his frustration with the play's director. So when I watched the other night, the memory of this paper, too, washed over me. I smiled.

This movie is amazing on any number of levels. If you've already seen it, watch it again. You just might see something you missed before."

--Robin Sisson

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Herbert Ross

Stars: Richard Dryfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings, Paul Benedict, Barbara Rhoades

Released: November 30, 1977

Availability: DVD VHS


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