Peggy Sue Got Married

Last updated

Peggy Sue Got Married
Peggy Sue Got Married.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced byPaul R. Gurian
Written byJerry Leichtling
Arlene Sarner
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Jordan Cronenweth
Edited by Barry Malkin
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
103 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million
Box office$41.5 million

Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Kathleen Turner as a woman on the verge of a divorce, who finds herself transported back to the days of her senior year in high school in 1960. The film was written by husband-and-wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner.


The film was a box office success and received positive reviews from critics. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Turner), Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. In addition, Turner was nominated for Best Foreign Actress at the Sant Jordi Awards.

The title of the movie — and the name of the main character — refers to the 1959 Buddy Holly song of the same name, which is played over the film's opening credits.


In 1985, Peggy Sue Bodell attends her 25-year high school reunion, accompanied by her daughter, Beth, rather than her husband, Charlie, who was her high-school sweetheart. She and Charlie, who married right after graduation when Peggy Sue became pregnant, have recently separated due to Charlie's infidelity.

At the reunion, Peggy reconnects with her old high school girlfriends, Maddy and Carol. Peggy ignores Charlie when he unexpectedly arrives. The emcee then announces the reunion's “king and queen": Richard Norvik, the former class geek who is now a billionaire inventor, and Peggy Sue. Overwhelmed, Peggy Sue faints onstage while being crowned.

Peggy Sue awakens, only it is now 1960, her senior year of high school. Confused and disoriented, she decides to go home to her parents and act like everything is normal. Hoping that Richard Norvik can shed light on her situation, she befriends him and relates what happened. He disbelieves her story until Peggy Sue begins giving details about the future. She later decides to break up with Charlie. However, she wants to sleep with him after a party, but he panics and reminds her that she rebuffed him the weekend before. He takes her home, but instead of going inside, she goes to all-night café where she sees fellow student, Michael Fitzsimmons, an artsy loner who she always wished she had slept with. As they sit and talk, Peggy Sue learns they have much in common. They leave on his motorcycle and later have sex under the stars.

The next night at a music bar, Michael wants Peggy to go to Utah with him and another female for a polygamous relationship where the two women support him while he writes. She declines, telling him to use their night together as inspiration for his writing. Charlie happens to be singing at the bar, and she sees there is more to him than she realized. Charlie comes off the stage and speaks to a music agent who is there to evaluate him but is unimpressed.

The next day, Peggy Sue tries to talk to Charlie but he lashes out, upset over failing to secure a record deal. She leaves to say goodbye to Richard, stating that she wants to stop ruining her life and everyone's around her, especially Charlie's, since the reason he stopped singing is because she got pregnant. Richard proposes, but she turns him down, not wanting to marry so young or derail his future. Peggy Sue visits her grandparents on her 18th birthday. Upon learning that her grandmother is psychic, she tells them her story. Her grandfather takes her to his Masonic lodge, where the members perform a ritual to return her to 1985. Charlie enters the lodge and seeing the ritual, picks up and runs out with Peggy Sue, leaving everyone inside believing the ritual worked.

Charlie tells her that he has given up singing and has been given 10% of the family business. He then proposes and gives her the locket she was wearing at the beginning of the film. She looks inside and sees baby pictures of her and Charlie, which resemble their children. Peggy Sue realizes they love each other. They have sex, proving that she would make the same choices again.

Peggy Sue awakens in a hospital back in 1985, with Charlie at her side. He deeply regrets his infidelity and wants her back. Michael has written a book dedicated to Peggy and a starry night, indicating that Peggy possibly did travel back in time. Peggy Sue and Charlie reconcile.




The film was originally going to star Debra Winger and be directed by Jonathan Demme. They had creative differences and Demme left the project, to be replaced by Penny Marshall, who would be making her feature directorial debut. Then Marshall had creative differences with the writers and left the project. Winger then quit out of loyalty to Marshall. (Marshall then made her directing debut with Jumpin' Jack Flash — after the original director dropped out.) [3]

Rastar, the production company, offered the film to Francis Ford Coppola, hoping to entice Winger back to the project. [4] In the end, Kathleen Turner became the star. Two of Coppola's relatives were also cast in the film: his daughter Sofia Coppola as Peggy Sue's sister, Nancy; [5] and his nephew Nicolas Cage as Peggy's boyfriend and then estranged husband, Charlie. (Cage has later said he never wanted to play the role, but was asked multiple times by Coppola; he only agreed to take the part if he could play it in an over-the-top manner.) [6]


Kathleen Turner stated that Francis Ford Coppola was contractually obligated to finish the film on time or lose final cut privilege. Accordingly the cast and crew worked twenty hours a day, six days a week, to deliver the movie to the studio on time. [7]

Turner has spoken numerous times about the difficulty of working with co-star Nicolas Cage (Coppola's nephew). [8] In her 2008 memoir, she wrote that:

"He caused so many problems. He was arrested twice for drunk-driving and, I think, once for stealing a dog. He'd come across a chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket. On the last night of filming, he came into my trailer after he'd clearly been drinking heavily. He fell on his knees and asked if I could ever forgive him. I said, "Not right now. I have a scene to shoot. Excuse me," and just walked out. Nicolas didn't manage to kill the film, but he didn't add a lot to it, either. For years, whenever I saw him, he'd apologize for his behavior. I'd say: "Look, I'm way over it." But I haven't pursued the idea of working with him again." [9]

Turner also criticized Cage for his decision to wear false teeth and to adopt a nasal fry for his character (Cage said he based it on Pokey from The Gumby Show ). [6] During an interview in 2018, Turner commented on Cage's nasal voice that:

"It was tough to not say, 'Cut it out". But it wasn't my job to say to another actor what he should or shouldn't do. So I went to Francis [Ford Coppola]. I asked him, 'You approved this choice?' It was very touchy. He [Nicolas Cage] was very difficult on set. But the director allowed what Nicolas wanted to do with his role, so I wasn't in a position to do much except play with what I'd been given. If anything, it [Cage's portrayal] only further illustrated my character's disillusionment with the past. The way I saw it was, yeah, he was that asshole." [10]

In 2008, in response to Turner's claims that he had driven drunk and stolen a chihuahua, Cage sued her for defamation and won. [9] In exchange he received a public apology from Turner, admission from her publisher that the claims were false and defamatory, and a pledge that Turner and the publisher would make a substantial donation to charity. [11]

Release and reception

Peggy Sue Got Married gained a positive reaction from critics, as it currently holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews The site's consensus reads, "Peggy Sue Got Married may seem just another in the line of 80's boomer nostalgia films, but none of the others have Kathleen Turner's keen lead performance." [12] Rita Kempley of the Washington Post gave the film a positive review, but wrote of Cage's performance: "What mars the movie, aside from the pokey opening and overused theme, is an icky performance by Nicolas Cage as Charlie. He calls it surreal, 'a type of cartoon acting.' Well, he does kind of remind you of Jughead." [13]

The film opened with $6,942,408 and ended up grossing $41,382,841 in the U.S. It was the first box-office success for Coppola since The Outsiders . [14]

In addition to the film's three Academy Award nominations, and Turner's nomination at the Sant Jordi Awards, Turner won the 1986 award for Best Actress from the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. [15] This film appeared on Siskel and Ebert's best of 1986 lists. [16]

Peggy Sue Got Married ranks number 17 on Entertainment Weekly 's list of "50 Best High School Movies." [17]

American Film Institute lists

Musical adaptation

The film was adapted by Leichtling and Sarner into a full-length musical theater production which opened in London's West End theatre district in 2001. Despite receiving solid reviews [20] and a several million pound advance, 9/11 forced the show to close early.

Related Research Articles

Francis Ford Coppola American filmmaker

Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He was a central figure in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His accolades include five Academy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Palmes d'Or, and a British Academy Film Award.

Nicolas Cage American actor

Nicolas Kim Coppola, known professionally as Nicolas Cage, is an American actor and filmmaker. Cage has been nominated for numerous major cinematic awards, and won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). He earned his second Academy Award nomination for his performance as Charlie and Donald Kaufman in Adaptation (2002).

<i>The Graduate</i> 1967 romantic comedy-drama movie directed by Mike Nichols

The Graduate is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The film tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who begins an affair with an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, and then becomes obsessed with her daughter Elaine.

Stage name Pseudonym used by performing artist

A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide variety of reasons, and may be similar or nearly identical to an individual's birth name. In some situations, though not often, a performer will adopt their title as a legal name. Nicknames and maiden names are sometimes used in a person's professional name.

Kathleen Turner American actress

Mary Kathleen Turner is an American actress. Known for her distinctive gritty voice, Turner has won two Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award, and two Tony Awards.

<i>Wild at Heart</i> (film) 1990 film by David Lynch

Wild at Heart is a 1990 American black comedy romantic crime film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe, Harry Dean Stanton, and Isabella Rossellini. Based on the 1989 novel of the same name by Barry Gifford, it tells the story of Sailor Ripley (Cage) and Lula Pace Fortune (Dern), a young couple from Cape Fear, North Carolina, who go on the run from Lula's domineering mother and the gangsters she hires to kill Sailor.

<i>The Cotton Club</i> (film) 1984 American film directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Cotton Club is a 1984 American crime drama film co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The story centers on a Harlem jazz club in the 1930s, the Cotton Club and stars Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee. The supporting cast included Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Allen Garfield, Laurence Fishburne, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne.

Sofia Coppola American screenwriter, director, producer, and former actress

Sofia Carmina Coppola is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and actress. The daughter of filmmakers Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola, she made her film debut as an infant in her father's acclaimed crime drama film, The Godfather (1972). Coppola later appeared in a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and portrayed Mary Corleone, the daughter of Michael Corleone, in The Godfather Part III (1990). Her performance in the latter film was criticized, and she turned her attention to filmmaking.

<i>Fast Times at Ridgemont High</i> 1982 American coming-of-age teen comedy film by Amy Heckerling

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a 1982 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Amy Heckerling and written by Cameron Crowe adapted from his 1981 book Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story. Crowe went undercover at Clairemont High School in San Diego and wrote about his experiences.

<i>Something Wild</i> (1986 film) 1986 film by Jonathan Demme

Something Wild is a 1986 American action comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta. It was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. The film has some elements of a road movie combined with screwball comedy.

Peggy Sue 1957 single by Buddy Holly

"Peggy Sue" is a rock and roll song written by Jerry Allison and Norman Petty, and recorded and released as a single by Buddy Holly in early July of 1957. The Crickets are not mentioned on label of the single, but band members Joe B. Mauldin and Jerry Allison (drums) played on the recording. This recording was also released on Holly's eponymous 1958 album.

<i>The Virgin Suicides</i> (film) 1999 film directed by Sofia Coppola

The Virgin Suicides is a 1999 American drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola, co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, AJ Cook and Josh Hartnett. The film also features Scott Glenn, Michael Paré, and Danny DeVito in minor roles, with voice narration by Giovanni Ribisi.

Kevin James O'Connor is an American actor.

The 58th National Board of Review Awards were announced on December 11, 1986, and given on February 9, 1987.

Lucinda Jenney is an American actress.

<i>The Wicker Man</i> (2006 film) 2006 film

The Wicker Man is a 2006 horror film written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage. The film primarily is a remake of the 1973 British film The Wicker Man but also draws from its source material, David Pinner's 1967 novel Ritual. The film concerns police officer Edward Malus, whose ex-fiancée Willow Woodward informs him that her daughter Rowan has disappeared and asks for his assistance in her search. When he arrives at the island where Rowan was last seen, he suspects something sinister about the neo-pagans who reside on the island. The film received negative reviews on Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes' critical consensus calls it unintentionally funny. The film grossed $39 million on a $40 million production budget.

<i>The Accidental Tourist</i> (film) 1988 film by Lawrence Kasdan

The Accidental Tourist is a 1988 American drama film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis. It was scored by John Williams. The film's screenplay was adapted by Kasdan and Frank Galati from the 1985 novel of the same name by Anne Tyler.

<i>Peggy Sue Got Married</i> (musical)

Peggy Sue Got Married is a 2001 musical adapted from the 1986 Francis Ford Coppola film of the same name. The musical shares the same storyline as the movie, following a 42-year-old woman as she travels back in time to relive certain high school experiences. This musical is much darker than most musicals, as the main character, Peggy Sue, must eventually make some life-altering decisions.

August Floyd Coppola was an American academic, author, film executive, and advocate for the arts. He was the brother of director Francis Ford Coppola and the father of actor Nicolas Cage.

Smokey Bites the Dust is a 1981 car chase film from New World Pictures directed by Charles B. Griffith. Despite the title, the film is not connected to the Smokey and the Bandit series.


  1. "PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (15)". British Board of Film Classification . September 29, 1986. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  2. Jim Catalano (1995). "Interview: Marshall Crenshaw". Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  3. "Penny Marshall—Director, Producer—Biography".
  4. London, Michael. "IS 'PEGGY SUE' NEAR THE ALTAR WITH COPPOLA?," Los Angeles Times (28 Nov 1984), p. h1.
  5. "Sofia Coppola Biography". Tribute. Tribute Entertainment Media Group. 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  6. 1 2 Byrne, Suzy. "Yahoo Celebrity: Nicolas Cage didn't want to make 'Peggy Sue Got Married': 'I must have said no 5 or 6 times'," Yahoo! Entertainment (August 7, 2019).
  7. Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (November 12, 2019). After Show: Kathleen Turner Turned Down This Sharon Stone Role. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  8. Markovitz, Adam (December 14, 2007). "Coppola Family Flow". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  9. 1 2 Thomson, Katherine (March 28, 2008). "Nicolas Cage Sues Kathleen Turner over Dog-napping Tale". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  10. Marchese, David (August 7, 2018). "In Conversation: Kathleen Turner". Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  11. SkyNews (April 4, 2008). "Kathleen Turner Apologizes to Nicolas Cage Over Dog Theft Allegation". Fox News. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  12. "PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED," Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2021.
  13. Kempley, Rita. "'Peggy Sue Got Married' (PG-13)," Washington Post (Oct. 10, 1986).
  14. "Peggy Sue Got Married at Box Office Mojo". December 30, 1986. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  15. "1986 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  16. "Siskel and Ebert Top Ten Lists (1969-1998)". May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  17. "Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies". Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  18. "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  19. American Film Institute. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  20. "Peggy Sue Got Married - the Musical, a CurtainUp review". Retrieved May 20, 2011.