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Stardust Memories

original film poster
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Woody Allen
Charlotte Rampling
Tony Roberts
Editing by Susan E. Morse
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) September, 1980
Running time 91 min
Language English

Stardust Memories is a 1980 film written and directed by Woody Allen, who considers this to be one of his best films in addition to The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point.[1] The film is shot in black-and-white, particularly reminiscent of Federico Fellini's (1963), which it parodies. It was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for "Best Comedy written directly for screen".



It is the story of a famous filmmaker Sandy Bates (Allen), who is plagued by fans who prefer his "earlier, funnier movies" to his more recent artistic efforts, while he tries to reconcile his conflicting attraction to two very different women: the earnest, intellectual Daisy (Jessica Harper), and the more maternal Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault). Meanwhile, he is also haunted by memories of his ex-girlfriend, the mercurial Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling).


The conflict between the maternal, nurturing woman and the earnest, usually younger one, is a recurring theme in Allen's films. Like many of Allen's films, Stardust Memories incorporates several jazz recordings including those by such notables as Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Chick Webb. The film's title alludes to the famous alternate take of "Stardust" recorded in 1931 by Armstrong, wherein the trumpeter sings "oh, memory" three times in succession.

This movie deals with issues regarding religion, God, and philosophy; especially existentialism, psychology, symbolism, wars and politics. It is also about realism, relationships, and death. It refers to many questions about the meaning of life for mankind.


Allen denies that this film is autobiographical and has expressed regret that audiences interpreted it as such.[2] The film sharply divided both audiences and critics, with some Allen fans proclaiming it his best picture and perhaps just as many classing it among his worst.[3][4]

Box office

Stardust Memories opened in North America on September 26, 1980 to an onslaught of bad reviews. At 29 theatres, it grossed $326,779 ($11,268 per screen) in its opening weekend. The film failed to attract more than Allen's loyal fanbase in the long run, and it grossed a modest $10,389,003 by the end of its run. The film's budget was $10 million, so it likely made a profit after foreign revenue was taken into account.[5]


The film featured Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Daniel Stern, Tony Roberts, Amy Wright, Judith Roberts, and Helen Hanft. Among the extended cast members were an ingenue named Sharon Stone, in her first film appearance; a young Brent Spiner, later famous as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation; Laraine Newman of Saturday Night Live fame; Allen's ex-wife Louise Lasser; and Alan Colmes, the liberal-leaning former co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political-debate show on Fox News Channel.

Further reading


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Stardust Memories (1980) is a film written and directed by Woody Allen which he considers this to be one of his best films.

Sandy Bates

  • I took one course in existential philosophy at, uh, at New York University, and on, uh, on the final... they gave me ten questions, and, uh, I couldn't answer a single one of 'em. You know? I left 'em all blank... I got a hundred.
  • You can't control life. It doesn't wind up perfectly. Only-only art you can control. Art and masturbation. Two areas in which I am an absolute expert.
  • I don't know much about classic music. For years I thought the Goldberg Variations were something Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg tried on their wedding night.
  • To you, I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the loyal opposition.


  • Dorrie: That aftershave. It just made my whole childhood come back with a sudden Proustian rush.
    Sandy Bates: Yeah? That's 'cause I'm wearing Proustian Rush by Chanel. It's-it's reduced. I got a vat of it.
  • Fan : Can I talk to you about an idea for a film I have?
    Sandy Bates: This is not the place.
    Fan: Do you have a moment, please? It's a comedy based on that whole Guyana mass suicide.
  • Sandy Bates: Shouldn't I stop making movies and do something that counts, like-like helping blind people or becoming a missionary or something?
    Voice of Martian: Let me tell you, you're not the missionary type. You'd never last. And-and incidentally, you're also not Superman; you're a comedian. You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes.
  • Vivian Orkin: In this film, he played the part of God.
    Ghost of Sandy Bates: This was not easy, folks, because, uh, you know, I-I-I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and I don't have a good voice for God.
    Vivian Orkin: And he received an Academy Award for his convincing portrayal of God... although they had to use another actor's voice.
  • Fan: My mother buys meat in the same butcher shop your mother does.
    Sandy Bates: Oh, great.
    Fan: Can I have your autograph?
    Sandy Bates: Oh, jeez.
    Fan: Could you just write: "To Phyllis Weinstein, you unfaithful, lying bitch."

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