Taglines: Life. Family. Love.
No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny, then she finds herself falling for his younger brother, Ronny. She tries to resist, but Ronny lost his hand in an accident he blames on his brother, and has no scruples about aggressively pursuing her while Johnny is out of the country. As Loretta falls deeper in love, she comes to learn that she’s not the only one in her family with a secret romance.
Moonstruck is a 1987 American romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and written by John Patrick Shanley. It is about a widowed 37-year-old Italian-American woman (Cher) who falls in love with her fiancé’s (Danny Aiello) estranged, hot-tempered younger brother (Nicolas Cage). Vincent Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis play supporting roles.
The film was released on December 16, 1987 in New York City, and then nationally on January 15 , 1988. Receiving largely positive reviews from critics, it went on to gross $91.6 million at the North American box office, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of that year. Moonstruck was nominated for six Oscars at the 60th Academy Awards, winning for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.
About the Story
Thirty-seven-year-old Loretta Castorini (Cher), a Sicilian-American widow, is an accountant in Brooklyn Heights, New York, where she lives with her family: her father Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) who is a successful plumber, her mother Rose (Olympia Dukakis), and her paternal grandfather (Feodor Chaliapin, Jr).
Her boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) proposes to her before leaving for Sicily to attend to his dying mother; she accepts, but is insistent that they carefully follow tradition as she believes her first marriage was cursed by her failure to do so, resulting in her husband’s death when he was hit by a bus.
They plan to marry one month later, and Johnny asks Loretta to invite his estranged younger brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to the wedding. Loretta returns home and informs her parents of the engagement. Cosmo dislikes Johnny and is reluctant to commit to paying for the “real” wedding Loretta insists on, while Rose is pleased that Loretta likes Johnny but does not love him; she believes that one can easily be driven crazy by a partner whom one loves.
The next day, Loretta goes to see Ronny at his bakery after he refuses to speak to her on the phone. He reveals that he has a wooden prosthetic hand, and he explains that he blames Johnny for the loss of his hand and his own fiancée; Ronny became distracted while talking to Johnny as he cut bread for him, his hand was mangled in the slicer, and his fiancée left him.
Loretta insists that they discuss the matter upstairs in his apartment, where she cooks for him and then tells him that she believes he is a “wolf” who cut off his own hand to escape the trap of a bad relationship. Ronny reacts furiously and passionately, kissing Loretta (who responds to his kiss) and then sweeping her up in his arms and carrying her to his bed where they make love.
That evening, Rose’s brother Raymond (Louis Guss) and his wife Rita (Julie Bovasso) join Rose and Cosmo for dinner, and they all wonder where Loretta is. Raymond recalls that when he was a boy and Cosmo was courting Rose, he thought that a particularly bright moon one night was somehow brought to the house by Cosmo because of his love for Rose. That night, Loretta remains at Ronny’s apartment and sees such a moon; Raymond sees it as well, and it leads him and Rita to make love once more.
The next morning, Loretta tells Ronny they can never see each other again. She slaps him when he claims to be in love with her (“Snap out of it!) and he agrees to never see her again if she will attend the opera (his other great love) with him that night. She agrees. After closing out the cash register in Raymond and Rita’s store, Loretta impulsively has some long-neglected beauty treatments, including having the gray removed from her hair, and buys a glamorous evening gown.
She then goes to church and confesses her infidelity. She unexpectedly sees her mother there, and Rose tells her that Cosmo is having an affair; Loretta is doubtful, but Cosmo is in fact dining with his mistress Mona (Anita Gillette) at that moment and giving her jewelry.
Directed by: Norman Jewison
Starring: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Anita Gillette, Leonardo Cimino
Screenplay by: John Patrick Shanley
Production Design by: Philip Rosenberg
Cinematography by: David Watkin
Film Editing by: Lou Lombardo
Costume Design by: Theoni V. Aldredge
Art Direction by: Dan Davis, Barbra Matis
Music by: Dick Hyman
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: January 15 , 1988