The Goodbye Girl: Wikis


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The Goodbye Girl
Directed by Herbert Ross
Produced by Ray Stark
Written by Neil Simon
Starring Richard Dreyfuss
Marsha Mason
Quinn Cummings
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) November 30, 1977
Running time 110 minutes
Language English

The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 American comedy film. Directed by Herbert Ross, the film stars Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings, and Paul Benedict. The original screenplay by Neil Simon centers on an odd trio—an egotistical struggling actor who has sublet a Manhattan apartment from a friend, the current occupant (his friend's ex-girlfriend, who has just been abandoned) and her precocious pre-teen daughter.



Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) learns she has been dumped by her boyfriend Tony and he has sublet their apartment. Shortly thereafter, the neurotic, but sweet Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss) shows up unexpectedly in the middle of the night expecting to live there. Since she cannot return Elliot's rent money, Paula has no choice but to let him move in with her and her 10-year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings). However, she makes it very clear from the start that she considers him extremely annoying and unlikeable.

Paula struggles to get back into shape to try to resume her career as a dancer. Meanwhile, Elliot has his own problems. He has landed the title role in an off-off-Broadway production of Richard III, but the director, Mark (Paul Benedict), wants him to play the character as an exaggerated stereotype of a homosexual, in Mark's words, "the queen who wanted to be king." Many theater critics from television stations and newspapers in New York City attend opening night, and they all savage the production, especially Elliot's performance. The play quickly closes.

Despite their frequent clashes, Paula and Elliot fall in love. Then, Elliot is offered a fantastic opportunity that he cannot turn down. The only catch is that the job is in another city. Paula is scared that Elliot is leaving her, never to return, like all the other men in her life. But at the last minute, however, Elliot invites Paula with him and suggests she leaves Lucy with her grandmother. Paula declines, but is happy because she sees Elliot invitation as evidence that he loves her and will come back to her.


The Goodbye girl

Paula and Elliot could not be more different when he first moves in with her. He had bought a part of the house and Paula could not afford to give him his money back. So she had to let him, against her better wishes and wants, stay with her. At first they have a lot of conflict. They are always fussing about something. Then slowly they start to fall in love. She is scared to do anything because she thinks it will end up like her last relationships. So he makes the first move. She completely falls for it. Finally realizes that he is not such a bad guy and learns to trust him. But then he has to go away. She's scared. He is finally able to prove to her that he is going to come back. She believes him. They love each other so much.


The film began as a screenplay called Bogart Slept Here (essentially the story of what happened to Dustin Hoffman after he became a star), that was to star Robert DeNiro and Mason.[1] After several table readings, it was decided DeNiro wasn't right for the role. Dreyfuss was brought in to try out with Mason. At the end of the reading, Neil Simon decided, "It doesn't work, but they do." He rewrote the screenplay in six weeks. The Paula McFadden character is based on Marsha Mason,[citation needed] who was married to Neil Simon from 1973 to 1981.

The film's exteriors were shot in New York City and the interiors were shot in Los Angeles.

The title song was written and performed by David Gates, and was a #15 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

The film was co-produced by Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and now fully owned by the former. It is the only film in the WB library whose copyright is owned by both WB and Turner Entertainment (the initial buyer of MGM's pre-1986 library).

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Golden Globes

British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards


Roger Ebert gave the film a mixed, though mostly-favorable review. He was unimpressed with Mason's performance and the character as written, calling it "hardly ever sympathetic."[2] However, he praised Dreyfuss and cited his Richard III scenes as "the funniest in a movie since Mel Brooks staged Springtime for Hitler."[2] Ebert criticized the beginning as "awkward at times and never quite involving", but "enjoyed its conclusion so much that we almost forgot our earlier reservations."[2]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times found the film to be "exhausting without being much fun."[3] and "relentlessly wisecracked".[3]

Sources point to this film as the first romantic comedy to break the $100 million mark.

Musical and remake

The Goodbye Girl was subsequently developed into a 1993 Broadway musical of the same name starring Martin Short and Bernadette Peters. A 2004 TNT remake with Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton keeps the screenplay from the original version, but is considered to be inferior to the original[citation needed].

In Popular Culture

In an episode of That '70s Show, Fez, Jackie, Donna, and Kelso go see The Goodbye Girl.

The O.C. and, Gossip Girl both have episode titles based on the title of The Goodbye Girl.

Saturday Night Live aired a filmed parody with the characters portrayed by Gilda Radner and John Belushi.


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Goodbye Girl is a 1977 film about an actor who sublets an apartment which already contains a divorcée and her daughter. The three must learn to live together despite rubbing each other the wrong way.

Directed by Herbert Ross. Written by Neil Simon
Thank you Neil Simon for making us laugh at falling in love...again. (taglines)


Elliot Garfield

  • I play the guitar whenever I cannot sleep, and I meditate every morning, complete with chanting and burning incense, so if you have to walk around I'd appreciate a little tiptoeing. Also: I sleep in the nude. "Au buffo." Winter and summer, rain or snow, with the windows open. And because I may have to go to the potty or to the fridge in the middle of the night, and because I do not want to put on jammies which I do not own in the first place, unless you're looking for a quick thrill or your daughter an advanced education I'd keep my door closed.
  • I will bring home anyone or anything I chose including a one-eyed Episcopalian Kangaroo if that happens to be kinky inclination.
    • after being told not to bring any female guests into the apartment
  • If you were a Broadway musical, people would be humming your face.
  • "It never occurred to us that William Shakespeare wrote the Wizard of Oz. However, Elliot Garfield makes a splended Wicked Witch of the North." Tacky. Tacky. Well, if they're gonna kill me. Let 'em kill me with panache.
    • reading a review of his disasterous Richard III performance
  • Miss McFadden, today I begin rehearsals for my first New York play. It will be the most important day of my life. Am I nervous? No, I am not nervous. For I have meditated. I am relaxed. I am calm. I am confident. You, on the other hand, have not meditated, and therefore you are a pain in the ass.
  • My careereth is over. I am making a horseth asseth of myselfeth. Mark, I'm begging you. I'm BEGGING you. You want this kind of performance? Let me play Lady Anne.
    • during a rehearsal of Richard III in which his director has made him play the title character as a flamboyant homosexual
  • What is it about you that makes a man with a hundred forty-seven I.Q. feel like a dribbling idiot?
  • You know I liked you from the first time I met you when you answered the door. I said to myself, "This is the best half-a-face I ever saw!"
  • You know I love listening to you talk. I hate living with you but your conversation is first rate.
  • You're not the only one who can yell rape, you know.


Elliot Garfield: I happen to have a lease in my pocket. Are you gonna honor it or what?
Paula McFadden: I have a daughter in my bedroom. That tops the lease in your pocket.

Paula McFadden: I thought you said you were decent.
Elliot Garfield: I am decent. I also happen to be naked.

Lucy McFadden: What's that?
Paula McFadden: Sounds like God.
Lucy McFadden: I smell strawberries burning.
Paula McFadden: That's incense.
Lucy McFadden: What's incense?
Paula McFadden: It is what I am feeling right now.
  • upon awaking at dawn to Elliot's chanting

Lucy McFadden: Congratulations!
Elliot Garfield: For what?
Lucy McFadden: I didn't know what else to say.
  • after Elliot's play flops

Elliot Garfield: That's okay. Now I'm free to take that other job.
Lucy McFadden: What other job?
Elliot Garfield: I'm looking, I'm looking!
  • after hearing that his play has closed


  • Thank you Neil Simon for making us laugh at falling in love...again.


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