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Outrageous Fortune

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Ted Field
Written by Leslie Dixon
Starring Shelley Long
Bette Midler
Peter Coyote
Robert Prosky
George Carlin
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Editing by Tom Rolf
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date(s) January 30, 1987
Running time 100 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Gross revenue $52,864,741

Outrageous Fortune is a 1987 film written by Leslie Dixon, directed by Arthur Hiller, and stars Shelley Long and Bette Midler. The title is taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet ("... the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, ...").

Midler received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role).


Refined actress Lauren Ames finally has a chance to study with the great theatre professor Stanislav Korzenowski. Sandy Brozinsky, a brash, loud actress, decides through happenstance to also study with Korzenowski. The two women end up dating the same man, Michael Sanders (who turns out to be a double agent) and follow him across the country to force him to choose between them. The man works for the KGB, and has stolen a toxin that could destroy huge areas of nature with even a few drops. The women chase the man across America, coming across the CIA and other men cheated by the double agent. Finally, when a trade with the CIA for the toxin goes awry, and Lauren gets away with both the money and the toxin, with Michael in hot pursuit, cornered on a series of mountain tops, Lauren uses her former ballet skills to evade him, culmilating in a grand Jeté, as pursuing Michael slips and is killed on the rocks far below whilst the money is lost to native Indians. The women form a lasting friendship, and go on to perform Hamlet together, with Lauren in the title role.


Both Shelley Long and Bette Midler were promised top billing when they signed to do the film. Neither one wanted to give up top billing to the other. So west of the Mississippi River, Long got top billing and Midler got top billing east of the Mississippi. Bette Midler was three months pregnant when filming began and six months pregnant when it wrapped. Midler later said on The Oprah Winfrey Show she would never work with Long again because she was too 'difficult' and was a diva on the set.

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Outrageous Fortune is a 1987 comedy film, starring Shelley Long and Bette Midler as two struggling actresses who fall for the same man, who turns out to be a double agent trying to sell a defoliant to the Russian KGB. The two race across the country trying to make him choose between them, oblivious to his true reasons for taking an interest in them.

Directed by Arthur Hiller. Written by Leslie Dixon.



Sandy Brazinsky (Bette Midler)

  • "You know what I'll bet? I'll bet you haven't been laid in about a year!"

  • (After lying about being in hospital to avoid paying her phone bill) "Well, what was I supposed to do? Have them unhook the life support machine, so I could pay my bills?"

  • "Michael was not a guy, other guys would've made fun of in a locker room, OK!"

  • " This guy in the morgue.....whoever he is.....he's got a.....does the phrase needle dick, the bug fucker mean anything to you?"

  • "She's gotta get on this plane! There's a kidney in Kansas City that's not getting any fresher!"

  • (Screaming at a payphone that swallowed her change)"GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKIN' QUARTER!"

Lauren Ames (Shelley Long)

  • (While trying to ignore a bunch of wolf-whistling Mexican men): "Now why do they do that? Has there ever been one woman in the history of the world, who actually said "yes fellas, please, take me, now!"

  • (Lauren makes a leap with a grand jété from the last one of the Four Fingers clifftops with Michael following, only to slip and plunge onto the rocks far below): "Nine years of ballet, asshole!"


  • Sandy: "Oh my, that kind of evening?"
    Lauren: "Well, not the kind you're used to. No money changed hands!"

  • Lauren: "Where are we? We've been driving for hours, and I haven't seen a single white person on the street".
    Sandy: "There's one.....oops, they got him!""
    Lauren: "That's not funny".

  • Lauren: "You are really determined to get us killed."
    Sandy: "Oh, get over yourself, he's not gonna kill us."
    Lauren: "Oh, how can you be so sure?"
    Sandy: "Cause we're gonna be raped and murdered in this building!"

  • Lauren: "Oh my god, he's just a child.
    Sandy: "At least rape's out!"

  • Sandy: "You'd better tell her the name, she's kinda cranky."
    Lauren: "Yeah....I got my period!"

  • Lauren (Impersonating a non-English speaking woman): "Excuz please. I vas hoping you ver to help me. How do I to say?"
    Airline Check-in Agent: "You say it quickly, I'm off in three minutes!"

  • Lauren: "I know! We'll call the President."
    Sandy: "Oh, I'm sure that's a call he's gonna take. "Hi, we're two struggling actresses, we're saving the world!" Get real!


  • "The CIA is trailing them. The KGB is tracking them. The phone company is tracing them. The police are chasing them. The cowboys are herding them. And the Indians are hunting them. Are they gonna fall for all of that?"


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