The Money Pit (1986)

The Money Pit (1986)

Taglines: For everyone who’s ever been deeply in Love or deeply in debt.

Walter Fielding and Anna Crowley have to start looking for a new house- but there’s not much they can afford! This soon changes when they meet a lonely old con artist who sells them a beautiful mansion at a ridiculously low price. Only there’s a catch. The second they move into the house it falls apart, starting with the stairway collapsing to the bathtub falling through the floor to eventually the chimney falling into the house! Finally, they have to renovate the house before the frame collapses but the renovations also prove to be a disaster.

The Money Pit is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin and starred Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a couple who attempt to renovate a recently purchased house. It was filmed in New York City and Lattingtown, New York, and was co-executive produced by Steven Spielberg. In 2013, NBC announced they were developing a TV series based on the film, but the project was later put on hold.

About the Story

Attorney Walter Fielding (Tom Hanks) and his classical musician girlfriend, Anna Crowley (Shelley Long), learn of Walter Sr.’s wedding to a beautiful young woman named Florinda (Tetchie Agbayani) in Rio de Janeiro shortly after fleeing the country for embezzling millions of dollars from their musician clients. The next morning, they are told they need to vacate the apartment they are subletting from Anna’s ex-husband, Max Beissart (Alexander Godunov), a self-absorbed conductor who has returned early from Europe.

The Money Pit (1986)

Through an unscrupulous realtor friend, Walter learns about a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000. He and Anna meet the owner, Estelle (Maureen Stapleton), who claims she must sell it quickly because her husband, Carlos (John van Dreelen), has been arrested by the Israelis, having been accused of being Adolf Hitler’s pool man.

Her sob story and insistence at keeping the place in candlelight in order to save money “for the goddamn, bloodsucking lawyers”, distracts Walter and enchants Anna, who finds it romantic. They decide to buy it, but Anna insists on putting up half of the money needed for the repairs. She turns to Max for her half by selling him back what she got in their divorce. Walter gets his half from his wealthiest client.

From the moment Walter and Anna take possession of the house, it quickly begins to fall apart. Amongst other problems, the entire front door frame rips out of the wall, the main staircase collapses, the plumbing is full of gunk, the electrical system catches fire, the bathtub crashes through the floor, the chimney collapses, and a raccoon is living in the dumbwaiter.

Contractors Art (Joe Mantegna) and Brad Shirk (Carmine Caridi) are called in (the only construction company who is willing to take on the work), who summarily tear the house to pieces using Walter’s $5,000 down payment, leaving him and Anna embroiled in bureaucracy to secure the necessary building permits to complete the work. His continuing frustration at the escalating costs of restoring the house leads him to brand it a “money pit”, whilst the Shirks continue to assure him that the work will take “two weeks”.

The repair work continues for a grueling four months and Walter and Anna realize they need more money to complete the renovations. She attempts to secure additional funds from Max by selling him some artwork she received in their divorce. Although he does not care for it, he agrees to its purchase. He wines and dines her, and the next morning, when she wakes up in his bed, he allows her to believe that she has cheated on Walter; in reality, Max slept on the couch. Walter later asks her point-blank if she slept with Max, but she hastily denies it. His suspicions push her to admit that she did so, but the damage is done. She later confides in Max that, “He (Walter) can’t forgive me and I can’t forgive him for that.”

The Money Pit Movie Poster (1986)

The Money Pit (1986)

Directed by: Richard Benjamin
Starring: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov, Maureen Stapleton, Joe Mantegna, Philip Bosco, Josh Mostel, Yakov Smirnoff, Mia Dillon, Lucille Dobrin
Screenplay by: David Giler
Production Design by: Patrizia von Brandenstein
Cinematography by: Gordon Willis
Film Editing by: Jacqueline Cambas
Costume Design by: Ruth Morley
Set Decoration by: George DeTitta Sr.
Art Direction by: W. Steven Graham
Music by: Michel Colombier
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: March 26, 1986