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Legally Blonde

Theatrical poster
Directed by Robert Luketic
Produced by Ric Kidney
Marc E. Platt
Written by Screenplay
Karen McCullah Lutz
Kirsten Smith
Amanda Brown
Starring Reese Witherspoon
Luke Wilson
Selma Blair
Matthew Davis
Jennifer Coolidge
Victor Garber
Holland Taylor
Ali Larter
Music by Rolfe Kent
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Editing by Anita-Brandt Burgoyne
Garth Craven
Studio Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) July 13, 2001
Running time 1 hr 36 mins
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Gross revenue $141,774,679
Followed by Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

Legally Blonde is a 2001 American comedy film starring Reese Witherspoon, produced by Marc E. Platt for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios and directed by Robert Luketic. It is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Amanda Brown.

The film tells the story of fashion merchandising major and bubbly sorority girl Elle Woods' quest to be regarded seriously at Harvard Law School, and to win back her boyfriend Warner.

The film was a Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy; Witherspoon's performance also received a nomination.[1]

Legally Blonde ranks number 29 on Bravo's 2007 list of "100 Funniest Movies".

The movie's box office success spawned a 2003 sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde and 2009 direct-to-DVD spin-off, Legally Blondes. Additionally, Legally Blonde: The Musical premiered on January 23, 2007, in San Francisco and opened in New York City at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on April 29, 2007, starring Laura Bell Bundy. The musical has since closed on Broadway, but opened to very good reviews and box office in London's West End. The San Diego Civic Theatre also featured a showing of Legally Blonde The Musical in early spring of 2010.



When outgoing Delta Nu sorority president Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is asked to dinner with her boyfriend, Harvard law bound Warner, she believes he is proposing. Instead, Warner breaks up with her saying he needs someone more serious. Elle decides to apply for Harvard to become a law student in order to win him back. Elle crams for the LSATs, applies to Harvard with an unconventional film essay, and is accepted.

Elle's initial law school experience is crushing. Elle is treated with contempt by her fellow students, and discovers that Warner is now engaged to another law student, Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair), who is hostile to Elle. Devastated, Elle expresses her misery to a manicurist, Paulette Bonafonte (Jennifer Coolidge). Elle befriends Paulette, giving her advice on attracting the attention of the UPS driver she is interested in, and later helping Paulette regain custody of her dog from her ex-boyfriend.

After Vivian cruelly tricks Elle into attending a party in a Playboy Bunny costume, Elle becomes determined to do well at law school, studies hard and impresses her professors. She wins an internship with Professor Callahan (Victor Garber), along with Warner, Vivian, and Enid Wexler (Meredith Scott Lynn). They will work with Callahan and an associate, attorney Emmett Richmond (Luke Wilson), to defend Brooke Taylor-Wyndham (Ali Larter), a famous fitness instructor accused of murdering her billionaire husband Hayworth Wyndham. Elle remembers Brooke as her own fitness instructor and a sister of Delta Nu, and consequently believes in Brooke's innocence. Witnesses - by Brooke’s stepdaughter Chutney Wyndham (Linda Cardellini) and by the household’s “cabana boy”, Enrique Salvatore (Greg Serano) - said that they saw Brooke standing over her husband’s dead body, covered in his blood. Enrique claims to have had an affair with Brooke, and Brooke is unwilling to give Callahan an alibi.

Elle visits Brooke in prison, and in confidence gets Brooke's alibi: Brooke had liposuction on the day of the murder. Shocked, and knowing that it would ruin Brooke's reputation as a fitness instructor, Elle assures Brooke that she will keep her secret. Elle refuses to give Callahan the alibi, saying she made a promise. Vivian is impressed by Elle’s commitment and her hostility towards Elle disappears, and they start to become friends.

Elle uses her knowledge of fashion to deduce that Enrique is gay after he correctly identifies her shoe style, and reveals this to Callahan and Emmett. Callahan dismisses the suggestion, but Emmett, during a quick series of questions during the trial, asks Enrique the name of his boyfriend, to which Enrique answers "Chuck". When he quickly tries to cover up by saying that Chuck is just a friend, Chuck - who happens to be in the court room at the time - screams at Enrique, proving that Enrique is gay and was lying about his affair with Brooke.

An impressed Callahan has a private discussion with Elle about her future career, but makes advances on her. Vivian sees this, but not Elle's reaction, prompting her to lash out at Elle. Elle concludes that she'll never be taken seriously and decides to return to California. Elle bids Paulette farewell, but she encounters Professor Stromwell, who encourages her to stand up for herself. Emmett tells Vivian and Brooke the truth about Elle's encounter with Callahan, Elle returns to court and Brooke fires Callahan, hiring Elle as her new attorney with Emmett supervising her.

During her cross-examination, Chutney Windham claims to have been taking a shower and washing her hair at the time of the murder, with and the noise drowning out the gunshot. Elle discovers that Chutney had a perm earlier that day, but knows that a shower taken shortly after a perm would have deactivated the ammonium thioglycolate and ruined her curls, yet the perm is still intact. Chutney finally breaks down in tears and confesses to accidentally shooting Hayworth because she thought it was Brooke, because she despised Brooke for being the same age as her. Brooke is exonerated and Chutney is arrested for murder. While leaving the courthouse, Warner admits he underestimated Elle, and wants her back, but Elle rejects him, having come to prefer her new career.

The epilogue, set at the graduation ceremony, shows that Elle graduates from Harvard as the class-elected speaker of her graduate class with high honors, and she has been recommended to one of Boston's most successful law firms. Elle's best friend Vivian called off her engagement with Warner, who graduated near the bottom of his class, with "no honors, no girlfriend, and without any job offers". Paulette is now the UPS guy's (Bruce Thomas) wife, and they are expecting a baby which they will name Elle. Emmett has quit working for Callahan and started his own practice, is now Elle's boyfriend of two years, and is planning to propose to Elle that night.



The film was met with a mixed to generally positive reception from critics, earning "fresh rating" of 68% positive ratings in the Rotten Tomatoes compilation of 130 reviews. Most reviews lauded Reese Witherspoon's lead performance even if they denigrated the overall merit of the film.[2] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 59 out of 100, based on 31 reviews.[3]

The movie was an unexpected hit, grossing over $20 million in its opening weekend and ending its run with over $96 million in the United States and more than $141 million worldwide. It made Witherspoon an A-list actress and one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood (she would be paid $15 million to star in the sequel). After this movie, Witherspoon had a string of hit movies including the sequel Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama and Walk the Line, the latter landing her an Oscar for Best Actress for playing June Carter.


Top Hip Hop choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo choreographed the "Bend and Snap" routine before they achieved greater fame as choreographers for the hit FOX show So You Think You Can Dance.

Although the film's setting is Harvard University, it was actually filmed at USC,[4] UCLA,[5] Caltech, and Rose City High School in Pasadena, California. The real Harvard only appears briefly in certain aerial shots.

The film was originally set to take place at the University of Chicago Law School, but administration at the school did not approve the film, because of a scene in which a professor places his hand on Elle's leg.[6]

The producers intentionally gave Elle a different hairstyle for every scene.

The movie appears to make several subtle shout-outs to John Grisham novels, most humorously with the names of Elle's and Paulette's dogs--Bruiser and Rufus--who both share names with Grisham's sleazy attorney characters--Elle's chihuahua apparently being named after J. Lyman "Bruiser" Stone from the novel The Rainmaker, and Paulette's bulldog after District Attorney Rufus Buckley from A Time to Kill. Additionally, Grisham's novel The Pelican Brief features its own Professor Callahan with a penchant for inappropriate relationships with law students

This was the second film that Witherspoon and Blair starred in together, the first being Cruel Intentions.

This is also the second film that Witherspoon and Alanna Ubach starred in together, the first being Freeway.

The opening song and main theme, "Perfect Day," was performed by Hoku.


In 2006, a musical adaption premiered on Broadway to mostly positive reviews, starring Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett, Orfeh as Paulette, Nikki Snelson as Brooke, Richard H. Blake as Warner, Kate Shindle as Vivienne, and Michael Rupert as Callahan. Other cast members included Andy Karl, Leslie Kritzer, Annaleigh Ashford, DeQuina Moore, and Natalie Joy Johnson. The show, Bundy, Borle, and Orfeh were all nominated for Tony Awards. Later, the Broadway show was the focus of an MTV reality TV series called Legally Blonde - The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods, in which the winner would take over the role of Elle on Broadway. Bailey Hanks from Anderson, South Carolina, won the competition.

Legally Blonde is currently playing at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End starring Sheridan Smith as Elle and Duncan James as Warner.

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Legally Blonde is a 2001 film about a stereotypical airheaded blonde sorority girl who enrolls in Harvard Law School to show a former boyfriend (and prospective fiance) that she's capable of being "serious".

Directed by Robert Luketic. Screenplay by Karen McCullough Lutz and Kirsten Smith. Based on the book by Amanda Brown.
This summer go blonde! (Taglines)



Elle Woods

  • "And last week I saw Cameron Diaz at Fred Segal, and I talked her out of buying this truly heinous angora sweater. Whoever said orange was the new PINK, was seriously disturbed!"
  • "So just because I'm not a Vanderbilt, suddenly I'm white trash? I grew up in Bel Air, Warner, across the street from Aaron Spelling. I think most people would agree that's better than some stinky old Vanderbilt."
  • "He's engaged! She's got the six-carat Harry Winston on her bony, unpolished finger."
  • "All people see when they look at me is blonde hair and big boobs."
  • "Thanks for inviting me, girls. This party is super-fun."
  • "Bend and snap!"
  • "Isn't it the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you are forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate?"
  • "The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known."
  • "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands. They just don't!"

Emmett Richmond

  • "You know, being a blonde is actually a pretty powerful thing. You hold more cards than you think you do. And I, for one, would like to see you take that power and channel it toward the greater good, you know?"

Professor Callahan

  • "Do you think she just woke up one morning and said, 'I think I'll go to law school today'?"


  • [Elle is in tears at the salon after she finds out Warner dumped her for her new rival, Vivian] "So What does this Vivian got that you don't got, three tits?"
  • "Could I have been anymore goddamn spastic?"
  • "I'm takin' the dog. Dumbass!"


  • "Law school is for people who are boring, and ugly, and... serious. And you, Button, are none of those things." -Elle's father (played by James Read)
  • "I was first in my class at Princeton, I have an IQ of a hundred and eighty-seven, and it's been suggested that Stephen Hawking stole his Brief History of Time... from my fourth grade paper." - Aaron Mitchell (played by Kelly Nyks)
  • "If you're going to let one stupid prick ruin your life, you're not the girl I thought you were." - Professor Stromwell (played by Holland Taylor)
  • "Oh my god, the bend and snap! Works every time." - Maurice (played by John Cantwell)


Warner: Elle, if I'm gonna be a senator, I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn.
Elle: So you're breaking up with me because I'm too... blonde?
Warner: No, that's not entirely true—
Elle: Then WHAT? My boobs are too big?
Warner (whispering): Your boobs are fine.

Warner Huntington III: Pooh Bear, just get in the car.
Elle: No.
[starts walking away, sniffling]
Warner Huntington III: You're gonna ruin your shoes.
Elle: Okay.
[gets in car]

[Elle is looking at a magazine and sees a picture of Warner's older brother and his fiance]
Elle: Oh my God!
Elle: Do you know who this is?
Old lady: No
Elle: Thats Warner's older brother
Old lady: WHO??
[Elle reads article about Warner's brother and his fiance]
Elle: This is the type of girl Warner wants to marry .
Elle: This is what I need to become to be serious.
Old Lady: What? Practically deformed?
Elle: No, a law student.

Margot: You'll need this.
Elle: Your scrunchie?
Margot: My lucky scrunchie. It helped me pass Spanish.
Serena: You passed Spanish because you gave Professor Montoya a lap-dance after the final.
Margot: Yeah - luckily.

Elle: I don't need back-ups. I'm going to Harvard.
C.U.L.A. Adviser: Well then, you'll need excellent recommendations from your professors.
Elle: Okay.
C.U.L.A. Adviser: And a heck of an admissions essay.
Elle: Right.
C.U.L.A. Adviser: And at least a 175 on your LSATs.
Elle: I once had to judge a tighty-whitey contest for Lambda Kappa Pi. Trust me, I can handle anything.

Elle: I'm reading about the LSAT's
Serena: My cousin had that once. Apparently you get a really bad rash on your...

[Elle is presiding at her sorority meeting]
Elle: It has come to my attention that the maintenance staff is switching our toilet paper from Charmin... to generic! All those opposed to chafing, please say "Aye".
Entire Sorority Group: Aye.

Elle: I feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life.
[someone whistles at her]
Elle: I object. (Gasps)

Warner Huntington III: You got into Harvard Law?
Elle: What? Like, it's hard?

Elle: [to Emmett] So, if you don't know an answer they're just gonna kick you out.
Emmett: So you have Stromwell, huh?
Elle: Yes. Did she do that to you too?
Emmett: No, but she did make me cry once... not in class I waited until I got back to my room, but yeah she'll kick you right in the balls..., or wherever.

Vivian: Nice costume.
Elle: You too. Except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated.

(In the checkout line at an electronics store, Emmett encounters Elle, dressed in a Playboy bunny suit, waiting to buy a laptop.)
Emmett: (clears throat)
Elle: Don't ask.
Emmett: Wasn't gonna.

David: I called your room last night, I was wondering if we could go out some time.
Girl: No.
David: Why?
Girl:: Because you're a dork.
Girl::Girls like me don't go out with guys like you.
Elle: Excuse me.
[turns around and slaps David]
Elle: Why didn't you call me? We spent a beautiful night together and I haven't heard from you since.
David: [pause] I'm sorry?
Elle: Sorry for what? For breaking my heart, or for giving me the greatest pleasure I've ever known and just taking it away?
David: Both?
Elle: Well, forget it. I've spent too much time crying over you.
Girl: [after Elle has walked off] So, when did you wanna go out?

Elle: Oh Warner, do you remember when we spent those four amazing hours in the hot tub together after winter formal?
Warner Huntington III: Uhh, yea... [Vivian gives him an evil look] no.
Elle: Well this is so much better than that! Excuse me, I have some shopping to do.
Vivian: Four hours, huh?

Elle: Did you see him? He's probably still scratching his head.
Paulette: Yeah, which must be a nice vacation for his balls.

Serena: Oh, look, there's Elle!
Serena: Elle, we came to see your trial and look! There's like a judge and everything... and jury people.
The Honorable Marina R. Bickford: Ladies, take a seat!

Enrique Salvatore: Don't stomp your little last season Prada shoes at me, honey.
Elle: These aren't last season...
[looks down, gasps, runs back into court room]
Elle: He's gay! Enrique is gay!

[Explaining how no straight man knows designers]
Elle: Warner, what kind of shoes are these?
Warner Huntington III: Umm... black ones.

Emmett: Did you take Mrs. Windham on a date?
Enrique Salvatore: Yes.
Emmett: Where?
Enrique Salvatore: A restaurant in Concord, where no one could recognize us.
Emmett: How long have you been sleeping with Mrs. Windham?
Enrique Salvatore: Three months.
Emmett: And your boyfriend's name is...?
Enrique Salvatore: Chuck.
Emmett: Right.
[Everyone gasps/laughs]
Enrique Salvatore: Pardon me, pardon me. I thought you said friend; Chuck is just a friend.
Chuck: [leaving the courtroom] YOU BITCH!


Reese Witherspoon - Elle Woods
Matthew Davis - Warner Huntington III
Luke Wilson - Emmett Richmond
Victor Garber - Professor Callahan
Selma Blair - Vivian Kensington
Jennifer Coolidge - Paulette
Ali Larter - Brooke Wyndham


  • This summer go blonde!
  • Boldly going where no blonde has gone.
  • Blondes DO have more fun!
  • Don't judge a book by its hair color!
  • Believing In Yourself NEVER Goes Out Of Style!

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