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Untamed Heart

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Bill
Produced by Tony Bill
Helen Buck Bartlett
Written by Tom Sierchio
Starring Marisa Tomei
Christian Slater
Rosie Perez
Music by Cliff Eidelman
Cinematography Jost Vacano
Editing by Mia Goldman
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) February 12, 1993
Running time 102 min.
Country United States
Language English

Untamed Heart is a 1993 film starring Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei. It mixes drama with romance and comedy and tells the story of a young woman, always unlucky in love, finally finding true love in a very shy young man. The film is directed by Tony Bill, and written by Tom Sierchio. The original music score is composed by Cliff Eidelman.


Plot summary

Caroline (Tomei) is a young woman working as a waitress who is always unlucky in love. Adam (Slater) is a shy busboy who saves Caroline when two men try to rape her on her way home one night. She then gets to know him. They become close, but she finds out his past, and the attackers come after Adam for revenge. As their relationship progresses, Caroline discovers that Adam has a heart defect, though he claims he has a baboon heart.



Tony Bill discovered Tom Sierchio’s screenplay for Untamed Heart during one of his talent hunts. He asked an agent at William Morris to send him screenplays from new writers. Originally, Sierchio’s screenplay had been submitted as a writer’s sample. Bill showed the screenplay to producer Helen Bartlett who suggested that they option it. Within two weeks of Sierchio handing his script to his agent, MGM had greenlighted the project. Originally the film was entitled, The Baboon Heart in honor of an infant named Baby Fae (born 14 October 1984) who received a cross-species heart transplant from a baboon to fix a congenital heart defect.

Initially, Bill had not considered Christian Slater for the role of Adam, “but then it was just the obvious choice."[1] For the role of Caroline, Bill remembered auditioning Marisa Tomei for his earlier film, Five Corners. She had been too young for that role but after her success with My Cousin Vinny, he knew she was right for this film.

Sierchio’s screenplay was originally set in New Jersey but for logistical reasons they could not shoot there. The filmmakers considered finding a location to double for the state but while Bill, Bartlett and Sierchio were scouting in Minneapolis, they realized that it was the perfect place because of its strong acting community (they cast 35 of the film’s 40 roles from it) and a large commercial producing community which allowed them to utilize a mostly local crew.

The city’s locations were also a strong factor in deciding to shoot there. The centerpiece was Jim’s Coffee Shop & Bakery, which actually existed at the time of production but was closed to the public for the duration of shooting the film. Bill said, “It had a wonderful combination of ingredients from every diner you’ve ever been to; we’ve done very little to change it for the film. In fact, we changed the original name of the diner in the script to reflect that it is Jim’s."[2]

Principal photography began in March 1992 amidst cold temperatures. However, several scenes in winter were shot in May and fake snow had to be created to maintain the illusion. One scene was shot at the Met Center, the home of the Minnesota North Stars at the time.

Tomei wanted to have a believable regional accent and chose a driver who was from the area and could act as her “dialogue coach.” Once she got the accent down, she continued to speak in it on and off the set.


Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that the movie was "kind of sweet and kind of goofy, and works because its heart is in the right place".[3] Hal Hinson of The Washington Post said that the film "is hopelessly syrupy, preposterous and more than a little bit lame, but, still, somehow it got to me".[4] Vincent Canby of The New York Times, said that the movie "is to the mind what freshly discarded chewing gum is to the sole of a shoe: an irritant that slows movement without any real danger of stopping it".[5] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman praised Tomei's performance: "With her flashing dark eyes and libidinous overbite, Tomei is adorable — she looks like a flirtatious bunny rabbit — but what's astonishing is the range of expression that passes over those delectable features".[6] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers wrote, "The Rain Man-Dying Young elements in Tom Sierchio's script are pitfalls that Slater dodges with a wonderfully appealing performance. His love scenes with the dazzling Tomei have an uncommon delicacy".[7] In his review for The New Yorker, Anthony Lane praised Tomei for bringing "startling high spirits to a dullish role. She snatches moments of happiness out of the air and shares them out to anyone who’s around".[8] Mike Clark, in his review for USA Today, wrote, "Director Tony Bill (My Bodyguard) is adept both in the yarn's meticulous buildup and in his handling of the actors".[9]


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Untamed Heart is a 1993 film starring Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei. It mixes drama with romance and comedy and tells the story of a young woman, always unlucky in love, trying to find happiness with a very shy young man.

Directed by Tony Bill. Written by Tom Sierchio.



  • [during her beauty exam] Lady, I'm not butchering your hair. It's a free haircut, so stop your bitching, before I cut it all off, you fat cow!
  • [about her dad] First guy to walk out of my life, definitely not the last. Funny things, you and me. You always stayin' away from love, me always chasin' after it.
  • Don't let people stand in your way. They're just people, like you and me! Well, maybe not like you. I don't know if I have ever met anyone like you before.
  • He was like an angel, you know? I never knew life could be like that. He was the one thing I followed through in my life, the one thing I didn't give up on. I was good at loving him.
  • I am going to fall in love with you. You don't have to love me back. I am going to give you my heart.
  • My life is like watching the Three Stooges in Spanish!
  • What worries me is when someone is as screwed up as these guys doesn't want me!
  • He doesn't make sense, I don't make sense, together we make sense.
  • Magic records and a baboon heart...


  • I am not very good with people.
  • Once people got used to stay away, they always stay away. I never got close to anyone.
  • You are my peace.


  • Look at him! He's like a tumor sittin' over there. Ugh, and his hair! It just bothers me so much!
  • It's too bad though. I'd do him, if he wasn't so dumb!
  • It's not right to feel shitty this time of year, but everybody does. It's like this is life, and once you go through it long enough, you realize what the flavor is. And it sure ain't vanilla!


Caroline: Adam, your heart is diseased! You need a new one.
Adam: But this is my heart! I'm afraid that if they take it away, I won't be able to love you the same.
Caroline: You love with your mind and your soul, not your heart.
Adam: [touching his chest] Then how come I hurt here when you're not with me?

Adam: Do you like music, Caroline?
Caroline: Mmm. That's the first time I heard you say my name. It sounded... nice.
Adam: Would you like to listen to my records, Caroline?... Caroline.

Caroline: What's your dog's name?
Adam I don't know. He never told me.

Caroline: I think I'll go inside now.
Steve: I'll call you later, alright?
Caroline: No, don't do that. Just leave me alone.
Steve: I didn't mean to hurt you, Caroline.
Caroline: Yeah, well. You did.

Caroline: When did you get here?
Adam: Ten.
Caroline: Ten? That was almost two hours ago. You'd rather be out here with my cat than inside with... [realizing] than inside with a room full of strangers and relatives.

Caroline: You don't have to come as my boyfriend or anything. Though I'd like you to.
[Adam nods]
Caroline: Is that a yes?
Adam: Yes.
Caroline: Say yes again.
Adam: Yes.

Adam: I follow you home...
Caroline: You followed me home.
Adam: I wasn't finished.
Caroline: Finish.
Adam: I follow you home to make sure that you're... safe.
Caroline: Well, I never see you.
Adam: I stay pretty far behind. I'm sorry.
Caroline: Well, I mean, don't be sorry... I just...
Adam: I wasn't finished.
Caroline: Finish.
Adam: I'm sorry I was late that night.
Caroline: I never hear you speak, and when you do, you apologize for saving me?
Adam: I wonder if you think about me.
Caroline: Of course I think about you!
Adam: I wasn't finished!
Caroline: Finish.
Adam: I wonder if you think about me, as much as I think about you.

Caroline: I have fallen...
Adam: Are you hurt?
Caroline: I wasn't finished.
Adam: Finish.
Caroline: I have fallen so in love with you, so much more than I said I would.

Adam I love hockey.
Caroline: You didn't even know what a power-play was.
Adam: I know. But next time you can tell me.

Cindy: You are like wet sand in my underwear.
Jim: Ouch.

Caroline: Star light, Star bright, First star I see tonight, wish I may wish I might, Have this wish I wish tonight.
Adam: That's Mars.
Caroline: What?
Adam: That's Mars.You just wished on a planet.
Caroline: Figures.

Caroline: What did the doctor say?
Adam: That I'm not allowed to stick knives in my stomach.

Main cast

External links

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