Pretty Woman is a 1990 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry
Marshall from a screenplay by J. F. Lawton. The film stars Richard
Gere and Julia Roberts, and features Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy
(in his final performance), Laura San Giacomo, and
Jason Alexander in
supporting roles. Set in 1987, the film's story centers on
Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward, who is hired by
Edward Lewis, a wealthy businessman, to be his escort for several
business and social functions, and their developing relationship over
the course of her week-long stay with him.
Originally intended to be a dark cautionary tale about class and sex
work in Los Angeles, the film was reconceived as a romantic comedy
with a large budget. It was widely successful at the box office and
was the third highest-grossing film of 1990. The film saw the highest
number of ticket sales in the U.S. ever for a romantic comedy, with
Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo listing it as the #1 romantic comedy by the highest
estimated domestic tickets sold at 42,176,400, slightly ahead of My
Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) at 41,419,500 tickets. The film
received positive reviews, with Roberts's performance being praised,
for which she received a
Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award and a nomination for the
Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition, screenwriter J. F. Lawton
was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and a BAFTA Award.
4.1 Box office
4.2 Critical response
5.1.1 Track listing
6 Musical adaptation
8 External links
High-powered businessman Edward Lewis has broken up with his
girlfriend after an unpleasant phone call wherein he asked her to
escort him during his business trip - she is offended that he treats
her as his "beck and call girl". Leaving a business party in the
Hollywood Hills, he takes his lawyer's
Lotus Esprit sports car, and
accidentally ends up on
Hollywood Boulevard in the city's red-light
district, where he encounters prostitute Vivian Ward. Having
difficulties driving the car, he asks her to get in and guide him to
the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where he is staying. It becomes
clear that Vivian knows more about the Lotus than he does, and he lets
her drive. Vivian charges Lewis $20 for the ride, and they separate.
She goes to a bus stop, where he finds her and offers to hire her for
the night; later, he asks Vivian to play the role his girlfriend has
refused, offering her $3,000 to stay with him for the next six days as
well as paying for a new, more acceptable wardrobe for her. That
evening, visibly moved by her transformation, Edward begins seeing
Vivian in a different light. He begins to open up to her, revealing
his personal and business lives.
Edward takes Vivian to a polo match in hopes of networking for his
business deal. His attorney, Phillip, suspects Vivian is a corporate
spy, and Edward tells him how they truly met. Phillip later approaches
Vivian, suggesting they do business once her work with Edward is
finished. Insulted, and furious that Edward has revealed their secret,
Vivian wants to end the arrangement. Edward apologizes, and admits to
feeling jealous of a business associate to whom Vivian paid attention
at the match. Vivian's straightforward personality is rubbing off on
Edward, and he finds himself acting in unaccustomed ways. Clearly
growing involved, Edward takes Vivian by private jet to see La
Traviata at the San Francisco Opera. Vivian is moved to tears by the
story of the prostitute who falls in love with a rich man. Vivian
breaks her "no kissing on the mouth" rule (which her friend Kit taught
her) and they have sex; in the aftermath, Vivian tells Edward she
loves him, but he does not respond. Edward offers to put her up in an
apartment so she can be off the streets. Hurt, she refuses, says this
is not the "fairy tale" she dreamed of as a child, in which a knight
on a white horse rescues her.
Meeting with the tycoon whose shipbuilding company he is in the
process of "raiding," Edward changes his mind. His time with Vivian
has shown him a different way of looking at life, and he suggests
working together to save the company rather than tearing it apart and
selling off the pieces. Phillip, furious at losing so much money, goes
to the hotel to confront Edward, but finds only Vivian. Blaming her
for the change in Edward, he attempts to rape her. Edward arrives,
wrestles Philip off her, punches him in the face and throws him out of
With his business in L.A. complete, Edward asks Vivian to stay one
more night with him, but because she wants to, not because he's paying
her. She refuses. Edward re-thinks his life and has the hotel
chauffeur detour to Vivian's apartment building, where he leaps from
out the white limousine's sun roof and "rescues her." Edward asks, "So
what happens after he climbed up the tower and rescues her?" to which
Vivian responds, "She rescues him right back."
Richard Gere as Edward Lewis, a rich corporate raider and womanizer
from New York.
Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward, an assertive freelance hooker with a
heart of gold on
Ralph Bellamy as James Morse, owner of a troubled shipbuilding company
Edward plans to take over.
Jason Alexander as Phillip Stuckey, Edward's insensitive lawyer.
Héctor Elizondo as Barney Thompson, the dignified but soft-hearted
Laura San Giacomo
Laura San Giacomo as Kit De Luca, Vivian's wisecracking friend and
roommate, who has taught her the prostitution trade.
Julie Paris as Rachel, friend of Vivian and Kit.
Alex Hyde-White as David Morse, James Morse's grandson, who is being
groomed to take over the company.
Amy Yasbeck as Elizabeth Stuckey, Phillip's wife.
Elinor Donahue as Bridget, a friend of Barney Thompson who works in a
women's clothing store.
John David Carson as Mark Roth, a businessman in Edward's office.
Judith Baldwin as Susan, one of Edward's ex-girlfriends.
Laurelle Brooks Mehus as the hotel's night desk clerk.
James Patrick Stuart
James Patrick Stuart as the day bellhop.
Dey Young as a snobbish saleswoman in a dress store.
Larry Miller as Mr. Hollister, the manager of a clothing store where
Vivian buys her new wardrobe.
Patrick Richwood as Dennis, the hotel elevator operator.
Hank Azaria as a detective. This was Azaria's first speaking role.
Amzie Strickland as Matron
Lynda Goodfriend as a Tourist.
The film was initially conceived as a dark drama about sex work in Los
Angeles in the 1980s. The relationship between Vivian and Edward
also originally involved controversial themes, including Vivian being
addicted to drugs; part of the deal was that she had to stay off
cocaine for a week. Edward eventually throws her out of his car and
drives off. The original script by J.F. Lawton, called 3000, ended
with Vivian and her sex-worker friend on the bus to Disneyland.
Laura Ziskin considered these elements detrimental to a
sympathetic portrayal of Vivian, and they were removed or assigned to
Kit. The deleted scenes have been found, and some were included on the
DVD released for the film's 15th anniversary. In one, Vivian tells
Edward, "I could just pop ya good and be on my way", indicating her
disinterest in "pillow talk". In another, she is confronted by drug
dealers, then rescued by Edward.
Though inspired by such films as Wall Street and The Last Detail,
the film bears a resemblance to Pygmalion myths: particularly George
Bernard Shaw's play of the same name, which also formed the basis for
the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. It was Walt Disney Studios
Jeffrey Katzenberg who insisted the film be re-written
as a modern-day fairy tale and love story, as opposed to the original
dark drama. It was pitched to
Touchstone Pictures and re-written as a
romantic comedy. The title 3000 was changed because Disney
executives thought it sounded like a title for a science fiction
The film is one of two movies that triggered a resurgence of romantic
comedy in Hollywood, the other being When Harry Met Sally. Following
this film's success, Roberts became the romantic comedy queen of the
Casting of the film was a rather lengthy process. Marshall had
initially considered Christopher Reeve, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Denzel
Washington for the role of Edward, and
Al Pacino and Burt Reynolds
turned it down. Pacino went as far as doing a casting reading with
Roberts before rejecting the part. Gere initially refused but when
he met with Roberts, she persuaded him and he eventually agreed to
play Lewis. He reportedly started off much more active in his
Garry Marshall took him aside and said "No, no, no, Richard.
In this movie, one of you moves and one of you does not. Guess which
one you are?"
Julia Roberts was not the first choice for the role
of Vivian, and was not wanted by Disney. Many other actresses were
considered. Marshall originally envisioned
Karen Allen for the role;
when she declined, auditions went to many better-known actresses of
the time including Molly Ringwald, who turned it down because she
felt uncomfortable playing a sex worker. Winona Ryder
auditioned, but was turned down because Marshall felt she was "too
Jennifer Connelly was also dismissed for the same reason.
Meg Ryan, who was a top choice of Marshall's, turned it down as well.
According to a note written by Marshall,
Mary Steenburgen was also
among the first choices.
Diane Lane came very close to being cast (the
script was much darker at the time); they had gone as far as costume
fittings, but due to scheduling conflicts she could not accept.
Michelle Pfeiffer turned the role down, saying she did not like the
Daryl Hannah was also considered, but believed
the role was "degrading to women".
Valeria Golino declined,
doubting it would work with her thick Italian accent.
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh had auditioned. When all the other
actresses turned down the role, 21-year-old Julia Roberts, a relative
unknown, with only the sleeper hit
Mystic Pizza (1988) and the
Steel Magnolias (1989) to her credit, won the role
of Vivian. Her performance made her a star. J.F. Lawton, writer of the
original screenplay, has suggested that the film was ultimately given
a happy ending because of the chemistry of Gere and Roberts.
Veteran actor Ralph Bellamy, who plays James Morse, appears in his
final acting performance before his death in 1991.
The film's budget was substantial, at $14 million, so producers could
shoot in many locations. Most filming took place in Los Angeles,
California, specifically in Beverly Hills, and inside soundstages at
Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The escargot restaurant the "Voltaire"
was shot at the restaurant "Rex," now called "Cicada". Scenes set in
Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Beverly Wilshire Hotel lobby were shot at the Ambassador Hotel in
Los Angeles. Filming commenced on July 24, 1989, but was immediately
plagued by problems. These included
Porsche declining the
product placement opportunity for the car Edward drove, neither firm
wishing to be associated with sex workers.
Lotus Cars saw the
placement value, and supplied a Silver 1989.5 Esprit SE (which was
Shooting was a generally pleasant, easy-going experience, as the
budget was broad and the shooting schedule was not tight. While
shooting the scene where Vivian is lying down on the floor of Edward's
penthouse, watching reruns of I Love Lucy,
Garry Marshall had to
tickle Roberts' feet (out of camera range) to get her to laugh. The
scene in which Gere playfully snaps the lid of a jewelry case on her
fingers was improvised, and her surprised laugh was genuine. The red
dress Vivian wears to the opera has been listed among the most
unforgettable dresses of all time.
During the scene in which Roberts sang to a Prince song in the
bathtub, slid down and submerged her head under the bubbles; she
emerged to find the crew had left except for the cameraman, who
captured the moment on film. In the love scene, she was so stressed
that a vein become noticeable on her forehead and had to be massaged
by Marshall and Gere. She also developed a case of hives, and calamine
lotion was used to soothe her skin until filming resumed. The
filming was completed on October 18.
In its opening weekend, the film was at number one at the box office,
grossing $11,280,591 and averaging $8,513 per theater. Despite
dropping to number two in its second weekend, it grossed more with
$12,471,670. It was number one at the box office for four
non-consecutive weeks, and in the Top 10 for 16 weeks. It has
grossed $178,406,268 in the United States and $285,000,000 in other
countries for a total worldwide gross of $463,406,268. It was also
the fourth highest-grossing film of the year in the United States
and the third highest-grossing worldwide. The film remains
Disney's highest-grossing R-rated release ever.
Critical response 
The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Review
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 61% of 55 film critics have
given it a positive review, with a rating average of 5.7 out of
10. Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100
to reviews from mainstream critics, gives it a score of 51 based on 17
reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Owen Gleiberman of
Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D, saying it
"starts out as a neo-Pygmalion comedy" and with "its tough-hooker
heroine, it can work as a feminist version of an upscale princess
fantasy." Gleiberman also said it "pretends to be about how love
transcends money," but "is really obsessed with status symbols."
On its twentieth anniversary, Gleiberman wrote another article, saying
that while he felt he was right, he would have given it a B today.
Carina Chocano of
The New York Times
The New York Times said the movie "wasn't a love
story, it was a money story. Its logic depended on a disconnect
between character and narrative, between image and meaning, between
money and value, and that made it not cluelessly traditional but
48th Golden Globe Awards
Best Actress - Musical or Comedy – Julia Roberts
16th César Awards
Best Foreign Film
63rd Academy Awards
Best Actress – Julia Roberts
48th Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
Best Actor - Musical or Comedy – Richard Gere
Best Supporting Actor – Hector Elizondo
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay – J. F.
The film is noted for its musical selections. The hugely successful
soundtrack features the song "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison, which
inspired its title. Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" reached No. 1
Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100 in June 1990. The soundtrack also features
"King of Wishful Thinking" by Go West, "Show Me Your Soul" by Red Hot
Chili Peppers, "No Explanation" by Peter Cetera, "Wild Women Do" by
Natalie Cole and "Fallen" by Lauren Wood. The soundtrack went on to be
certified triple platinum by the RIAA.
The opera featured in the film is La Traviata, which also served as
inspiration for its plot. The highly dramatic aria fragment that is
repeated is the end of "Dammi tu forza!" ("Give me strength!"), from
the opera. The piano piece Gere's character plays in the hotel lobby
was actually composed by and performed by him. Roberts sings the song
"Kiss" by Prince while she is in the tub and Gere's character is on
the phone. Background music is composed by James Newton Howard.
Entitled "He Sleeps/Love Theme", this piano composition is inspired by
Bruce Springsteen's "Racing in the Street".
Soundtrack album by Various artists
March 13, 1990
Singles from Pretty Woman
"Show Me Your Soul"
Released: February 14, 1990
"King of Wishful Thinking"
"It Must Have Been Love"
Released: 20 May 1990
The soundtrack was released on March 13, 1990 by EMI.
"Wild Women Do" (performed by Natalie Cole)
"Fame '90" (performed by David Bowie)
"King of Wishful Thinking" (performed by Go West)
"Tangled" (performed by Jane Wiedlin)
"It Must Have Been Love" (performed by Roxette)
"Life in Detail" (performed by Robert Palmer)
"No Explanation" (performed by Peter Cetera)
"Real Wild Child (Wild One)" (performed by Christopher Otcasek)
"Fallen" (performed by Lauren Wood)
"Oh, Pretty Woman" (performed by Roy Orbison)
"Show Me Your Soul" (performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Main article: Pretty Woman: The Musical
A stage musical adaptation of the film is scheduled to open on
Broadway on July 20, 2018 in previews, officially on August 16 at the
Nederlander Theatre. This follows an out-of-town tryout at the
Oriental Theatre in Chicago, which will run from March 13 to April 15,
2018. The musical has music and lyrics by
Bryan Adams and Jim
Vallance; the late
Garry Marshall and
J.F. Lawton wrote the book; and
Jerry Mitchell is the director and choreographer. The Chicago and
Broadway casts will feature Samantha Barks, in her Broadway debut as
Steve Kazee as Edward.
Orfeh will portray Kit, and
Jason Danieley will play Philip Stuckey. Eric Anderson will portray
the role of Mr. Thompson and Kingsley Leggs will play the role of
^ "Pretty Woman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 17,
^ Prince, Rosa (March 21, 2012). "Richard Gere:
Pretty Woman a 'Silly
Romantic Comedy'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
^ "Box Office Mojo". Retrieved July 12, 2007.
^ a b c d e f g h Pretty Woman: 15th anniversary (DVD). Buena Vista
Home Entertainment, Touchstone. 2005.
^ a b c Kate Erbland, "The True Story of Pretty Woman’s Original
Dark Ending, Vanity Fair, March 23, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
^ Hilary Lewis (August 26, 2016). "8 Movies With Major Title Changes".
Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
^ Stewart, James B. (2005). DisneyWar. New York: Simon & Schuster.
p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7432-6709-0.
^ "'Pretty Woman' Casting Information and Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved May
17, 2007. [unreliable source?]
^ Pacino, Al (June 15, 2007). ""
Al Pacino Interview"".
Larry King Live
(Interview). Interview with Larry King. CNN.
^ TODAY (March 24, 2015). "'Pretty Woman' Cast Reunites 25 Years Later
- TODAY" – via YouTube.
^ Tiffin, George (2015). A Star is Born: The Moment an Actress becomes
an Icon. Head of Zeus. p. 493. ISBN 978-1-78185-936-0.
^ Corcoran, Monica (June 28, 2008). "Molly Ringwald: Pretty in Pucci".
Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
^ a b "Darly Hannah Pleased to Decline Pretty Woman".
^ Kachka, Boris (December 4, 2005). "Lone Star: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Plays an Extroverted Striver in Abigail's Party, Now, that's a
stretch". New York Magazine: 2.
^ "LOTUS ESPRIT SE PRETTY WOMAN MOVIE CAR". Retrieved 22 March
^ Dumas, Daisy (December 6, 2011). "From
Pretty Woman and Atonement to
The Seven Year Itch, the Most Unforgettable Dresses of All Time".
Daily Mail. London.
^ a b c "
Pretty Woman (1990)—Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo.
Retrieved September 29, 2009.
Pretty Woman (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 29,
^ "1990 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved
September 29, 2009.
^ "1990 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved
September 29, 2009.
^ "DOMESTIC GROSSES BY MPAA RATING". Retrieved July 4, 2016.
^ "Pretty Woman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
Pretty Woman Reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Retrieved
September 29, 2009.
^ Gleiberman, Owen (March 23, 1990). "Pretty Woman". Entertainment
Weekly. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
^ Gleiberman, Owen. "'Pretty Woman': 20 Years after My Most Infamous
Review (Yes, I gave it a D), Here's My Mea Culpa—and Also My
Defense". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
^ Chocano, Carina (April 11, 2011). "Thelma, Louise and All the Pretty
Women". The New York Times.
^ "Pretty Woman's Soundtrack RIAA Multi Platinum Award". Recording
Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
Pretty Woman Original Soundtrack". Amazon.com. Retrieved February
Pretty Woman Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved February 21,
^ a b Clement, Olivia. " 'Pretty Woman' Musical Finds Its Broadway
Home, Sets Summer 2018 Opening" Playbill, November 22, 2017
^ a b McPhee, Ryan. "
Jason Danieley Joins Broadway-Bound 'Pretty
Woman' Musical" Playbill, October 6, 2017
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