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If These Walls Could Talk

Region 1 DVD cover-art
Directed by Nancy Savoca
Produced by Demi Moore
Written by Susan Nanus
I. Marlene King
Nancy Savoca
Earl W. Wallace
Pamela Wallace
Starring Demi Moore
Sissy Spacek
Xander Berkeley
Hedy Burress
Anne Heche
Jada Pinkett Smith
Distributed by Home Box Office Home Video
Release date(s) October 13, 1996
Running time 95 min
Country United States USA
Language English
Followed by If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
For the episode of The Outer Limits, see If These Walls Could Talk (The Outer Limits).

If These Walls Could Talk is a 1996 made for television movie, broadcast on HBO. It follows the plights of three different women and their experiences with abortion. Each of the three stories takes place in the same house in three different years: 1952, 1974, and 1996. All three segments were co-written by Nancy Savoca. Savoca directed the first and second segment while Cher directed the third. Anne Heche, who starred in the 1996 segment went on to direct the sequel, which received an Emmy Award.

The women's experiences in each vignette are designed to demonstrate the popular views of society on the issue in each of the given decades. The film became a surprise success, and was HBO's highest rated movie ever. The film's success was followed by an international release, and spawned a sequel, If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), starring Sharon Stone, Michelle Williams, Chloë Sevigny and Ellen DeGeneres, which deals with homosexuality in three different eras. When asked if he had seen the movie, Andrew Dice Clay famously responded "What, the one with the dykes?"

The films Common Ground (2000) and The Hours (2002) would also use a similar format to address the issue of homophobia as If These Walls Could Talk.





The 1952 segment deals with Claire Donnelly (Demi Moore), a widowed nurse living in suburban Chicago, who becomes pregnant by her brother-in-law and decides to undergo abortion in order not to hurt her late husband's family. However, abortion at the time is strictly illegal. Donnelly eventually finds another nurse (CCH Pounder) who provides her the name of a woman who can find her someone who will perform the abortion. After a clandestine procedure she finally manages to abort but dies shortly afterwards due to hemorrhage.


The 1974 segment deals with Barbara Barrows (Sissy Spacek), a struggling and aging mother with four children and a policeman husband who works the night shift, who discovers she must welcome another addition to the family, despite having recently gone back to college. She considers abortion with the support of her teenage daughter (Hedy Burress) but ultimately chooses to keep the child.


The 1996 segment deals with Christine Cullen (Anne Heche), a college student who got pregnant by a married professor, decides on an abortion when he breaks up with her and only offers her money. She is operated on by Dr. Beth Thompson (Cher). However, the abortion takes place during a violent protest, and an abortion protester (Matthew Lillard) walks in on the operation and shoots Dr. Thompson.


1952 segment:

1974 segment:

1996 segment:

Awards and nominations

  • Emmy Awards
    • Outstanding Made for Television Movie (nomination)
    • Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or a Special - Single Camera Production (nomination)
    • Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Special (nomination)
  • Golden Globe Awards
    • Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (nomination)
    • Best Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Demi Moore (nomination)
    • Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Cher (nomination)
  • NAACP Image Awards
    • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series – Jada Pinkett Smith (nomination)
  • National Educational Media Network, USA
    • Gold Apple (won)
  • Satellite Awards
    • Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (nomination)
    • Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV – Cher (nomination)

External links


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