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Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Written byRobert Getchell
Produced byAudrey Maas
David Susskind
StarringEllen Burstyn
Kris Kristofferson
Alfred Lutter
CinematographyKent L. Wakeford
Edited byMarcia Lucas
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
  • December 9, 1974 (1974-12-09) (Los Angeles)
  • January 29, 1975 (1975-01-29) (New York City)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.8 million[1]
Box office$21 million[1]

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a 1974 American comedy drama film[2] directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Robert Getchell.[3] It stars Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels with her preteen son across the Southwestern United States in search of a better life. Kris Kristofferson, Billy "Green" Bush, Diane Ladd, Valerie Curtin, Lelia Goldoni, Vic Tayback, Jodie Foster, Alfred Lutter and Harvey Keitel appear in supporting roles.[3]

The film premiered at the 27th Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, and it was released theatrically on December 9, 1974 by Warner Bros. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing $21 million on a $1.8 million budget. At the 47th Academy Awards, Burstyn won Best Actress, and Ladd and Getchell received nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • This "ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE" star was deeply DISTURBED during the filming of this scene!
  • Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) - Problems
  • Laura Dern's Cameo in "Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore" as a Child
  • Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) - "Socorro sucks!"



In Socorro, New Mexico, Alice Hyatt's husband, Donald, is killed in a truck accident while working. Alice, a former singer, decides to sell the majority of her belongings and take her son Tommy to her childhood home of Monterey, California, where she hopes to pursue a singing career, which she had abandoned when she married Donald.

Their financial situation forces them to take temporary lodgings in Phoenix, Arizona, where she finds work as a lounge singer. She meets Ben, a younger man who charms her into a sexual relationship that comes to a sudden end when his wife, Rita, confronts Alice. Ben breaks into Alice's apartment while Rita is there and physically assaults Rita in front of Alice; he also threatens Alice and smashes up her apartment. Fearing for their safety, Alice and Tommy quickly leave town.

Having spent most of what little money they had on their escape, Alice is forced to accept a job as a waitress in Tucson, Arizona, at a local diner owned by Mel, where she bonds with her fellow servers – independent, no-nonsense, outspoken Flo and quiet, timid, incompetent Vera – and meets divorced local rancher David. David quickly becomes enamored with Alice, who is wary of pursuing another relationship; however, she begins to warm to him as he establishes a paternal relationship with Tommy.

Their relationship is threatened when David uses physical force to discipline Tommy. Although Alice still dreams of going to Monterey, they reconcile; David offers to sell his ranch and move to Monterey, but in the end, Alice decides to stay in Tucson with him.


  • Ellen Burstyn as Alice Hyatt (née Graham), a widowed single mother who dreams of being a professional singer in Monterey
    • Mia Bendixsen as 8-year-old Alice
  • Alfred Lutter as Tommy Hyatt, Alice's preteen son
  • Kris Kristofferson as David, a regular customer of Mel and Ruby's Cafe who becomes Alice's love interest
  • Harvey Keitel as Ben Eberhardt, an abusive married man who has an affair with Alice in Phoenix
  • Lane Bradbury as Rita Eberhardt, Ben's wife whom he physically abuses
  • Diane Ladd as Florence Jean ("Flo") Castleberry, a hardened, sharp-tongued waitress at Mel and Ruby's Cafe
  • Valerie Curtin as Vera Gorman, a shy, awkward waitress at Mel and Ruby's Cafe
  • Lelia Goldoni as Bea, Alice's friend and neighbor in Socorro
  • Vic Tayback as Mel Sharples, a short-order cook who owns a diner in Tucson
  • Jodie Foster as Audrey, a tomboyish girl whom Tommy befriends in Tucson
  • Billy "Green" Bush as Donald Hyatt, Alice's husband, who is killed in a traffic accident early in the film
  • Murray Moston as Jacobs
  • Harry Northup as Joe & Jim's bartender

Director Martin Scorsese cameos as a customer in Mel's diner, and Diane Ladd's daughter, future actress Laura Dern, appears as a little girl eating an ice cream cone.


Ellen Burstyn was still in the midst of filming The Exorcist when Warner Bros. executives expressed interest in working with her on another project. Burstyn recalled "It was early in the woman's movement, and we were all just waking up and having a look at the pattern of our lives and wanting it to be different ... I wanted to make a different kind of film. A film from a woman's point of view, but a woman that I recognized, that I knew. And not just myself, but my friends, what we were all going through at the time. So my agent found Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore ... When I read it I liked it a lot. I sent it to Warner Brothers and they agreed to do it. Then they asked who I wanted to direct it. I said that I didn't know, but I wanted somebody new and young and exciting. I called Francis Coppola and asked who was young and exciting and he said 'Go look at a movie called Mean Streets and see what you think.' It hadn't been released yet, so I booked a screening to look at it and I felt that it was exactly what ... Alice needed, because [it] was a wonderful script and well written, but for my taste it was a little slick. You know – in a good way, in a kind of Doris DayRock Hudson kind of way. I wanted something a bit more gritty."[4]

Burstyn described her collaboration with director Martin Scorsese, making his first Hollywood studio production,[5] as "one of the best experiences I've ever had". The director agreed with his star that the film should have a message. "It's a picture about emotions and feelings and relationships and people in chaos," he said. "We felt like charting all that and showing the differences and showing people making terrible mistakes ruining their lives and then realizing it and trying to push back when everything is crumbling – without getting into soap opera. We opened ourselves up to a lot of experimentation."[4]

The part of Alice was offered to Shirley MacLaine.[6] MacLaine turned down the role.[7] MacLaine admitted in a 2005 interview that she regretted this decision.[8]

Scorsese's casting director auditioned 300 boys for the role of Tommy before they discovered Alfred Lutter. "I met the kid in my hotel room and he was kind of quiet and shy," Scorsese said. But when he paired him with Burstyn and suggested she deviate from the script, he held his own. "Usually, when we were improvising with the kids, they would either freeze and look down or go right back to the script. But this kid, you couldn't shut him up."[4]

The film was shot on location predominantly in and around Tucson, but some scenes were shot in Amado, Arizona, and Phoenix. A Mel's Diner still exists in Phoenix.[4]

The soundtrack includes "All the Way from Memphis" by Mott the Hoople; "Roll Away the Stone" by Leon Russell; "Daniel" by Elton John; "Jeepster" by T-Rex; and "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton. During her lounge act, Alice sings "Where or When" by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; "When Your Lover Has Gone" by Einar Aaron Swan; "Gone with the Wind" by Allie Wrubel and Herb Magidson; and "I've Got a Crush on You" by George and Ira Gershwin. In a film clip from Coney Island, Betty Grable is heard singing "Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine" by Otto A. Harbach and Karl Hoschna; and in a film clip from Hello Frisco, Hello, Alice Faye performs "You'll Never Know" by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon.


Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it a "fine, moving, frequently hilarious tale". He also observed that "the center of the movie and giving it a visible sensibility is Miss Burstyn, one of the few actresses at work today ... who is able to seem appealing, tough, intelligent, funny, and bereft, all at approximately the same moment ... Two other performances must be noted, those of Diane Ladd and Valerie Curtin ... Their marvelous contributions in small roles are a measure of the film's quality and of Mr. Scorsese's fully realized talents as one of the best of the new American film-makers."[9] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "one of the most perceptive, funny, occasionally painful portraits of an American woman I've seen." He wrote: "The movie has been both attacked and defended on feminist grounds, but I think it belongs somewhere outside ideology, maybe in the area of contemporary myth and romance."[10] Ebert placed the film at number 3 of his list of the best films of 1975 (even though the film was released in December 1974).[11]

Judith Crist praised Burstyn for "making us care about her in all her incredibilities, stripping the character to its essential warmth as a woman, concerns as a mother, dependencies as a wife, and yearnings as an individual." However, she was critical of Scorsese's direction, writing that he was "putting on a camera show of his own, the handheld pursuit of the image lending an exhausting freneticism to what is melodrama enough on its own."[12] Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote "Alice is thoroughly enjoyable: funny, absorbing, intelligent even when you don't believe in what's going on--when the issues it raises get all fouled up."[13] TV Guide rated the film three out of four stars, calling it an "effective but uneven work" with performances that "cannot conceal the storyline's shortcomings."[14] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote the film was "a distended bore," adding it "takes a group of well-cast film players and largely wastes them on a smaller-than-life film—one of those 'little people' dramas that makes one despise little people."[15]

Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four, writing "[t]he characters aren't real, the situations in which they are placed aren't real, and, as a result, one cares little how the alleged relationships develop."[16] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times positively noted Burstyn's performance as "highly charged and sympathetic", and Diane Ladd as "wonderful". However, he felt the film was "seemingly uncertain whether to be a stylized and updating revision of the romantic comedy modes of the late '30s or a rough-and-tumble piece of social realism flavored with bitter comedy."[17] Similarly, Molly Haskell of The Village Voice felt the film was inconsistent in its attempt to "make a 'woman's picture' that will satisfy contemporary audiences' hunger for a heroine of some stature and significance, while at the same time allowing Scorsese to pay ironic tribute to the tear-jerkers and spunky showbiz sagas of the past and such demigoddesses as Alice Faye and Betty Grable." Overall, she felt "the fault is largely that too many cooks have been allowed to contribute their ingredients (they're called 'life moments' and the result is inorganic soup), without a guiding intelligence."[18]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89%, based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's consensus states: "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore finds Martin Scorsese wielding a somewhat gentler palette than usual, with generally absorbing results."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Actress Ellen Burstyn Won
Best Supporting Actress Diane Ladd Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Robert Getchell Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Martin Scorsese Won
Best Direction Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Ellen Burstyn Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Lelia Goldoni Nominated
Diane Ladd Won
Best Screenplay Robert Getchell Won
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Alfred Lutter Nominated
Cannes Film Festival[21] Palme D'Or Martin Scorsese Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Ellen Burstyn Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Diane Ladd Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 10th Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Ellen Burstyn Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Diane Ladd Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Drama Written Directly for the Screenplay Robert Getchell Nominated

Television adaptation

The film inspired the sitcom Alice, which was broadcast by CBS from August 1976 through July 1985. The only member of the film cast to reprise his role was Vic Tayback as Mel (though his diner was moved to Phoenix). Alfred Lutter portrayed Tommy in the pilot episode but was replaced by Philip McKeon for the series. Diane Ladd joined the show later in its run, but in a role different from that she had played in the film. Linda Lavin took the role of Alice Hyatt in the series after Ellen Burstyn said she wouldn't do television.

Home media

Warner Home Video released the film on Region 1 DVD on August 17, 2004. It is in anamorphic widescreen with audio tracks in English and French and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Bonus features include commentary by Martin Scorsese, Ellen Burstyn, and Kris Kristofferson and Second Chances, a background look at the making of the film.


A book chronicling the development of the film and its spin-off television series titled Alice: Life Behind the Counter in Mel's Greasy Spoon (A Guide to the Feature Film, the TV Series, and More) was published by BearManor Media in September 2019.

See also


  1. ^ a b Box Office Information for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Archived June 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - Movie Review". July 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Turner Classic Movies
  5. ^ Lucia Bozzola (2007). "All Movie Guide overview". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  6. ^ Grist, Leighton (2000). The Films of Martin Scorsese, 1963-77: Authorship and Context. Springer. ISBN 98
  7. ^ Foerster, Jonathan (February 9, 2011). "Shirley MacLaine isn't getting old, she's just advanced". Naples Daily News. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Modderno, Craig (October 16, 2005). "Shirley MacLaine's Words of Wisdom". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Canby, Vincent (February 2, 1975). "Terrific, Tough-Talking 'Alice'". The New York Times. p. 13X. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 1, 1974). "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 27, 2020 – via
  11. ^ "Siskel & Ebert Top Ten Lists (1968-1998)". Inner Mind. February 3, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  12. ^ Crist, Judith (January 27, 1975). "A Star Outshining the Galaxy". The New Yorker. p. 64. Retrieved October 22, 2022 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Kael, Pauline (January 13, 1975). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. p. 74. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  14. ^ "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anywhere". TV Guide. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  15. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (December 11, 1974). "Film Reviews: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  16. ^ Siskel, Gene (March 4, 1975). "'Alice Doesn't Live Here...'". Chicago Tribune. Section 3, p. 5. Retrieved October 22, 2022 – via open access
  17. ^ Champlin, Charles (December 9, 1974). "Widow Starts Over in 'Alice'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, pp. 16, 20. Retrieved October 22, 2022 – via open access
  18. ^ Haskell, Molly (January 13, 1975). "Alice in Actors Studio Land". The Village Voice. p. 71. Retrieved October 22, 2022 – via Google News Archive.
  19. ^ Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore at Rotten Tomatoes
  20. ^ "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  21. ^ "Festival de Cannes archives". Retrieved May 6, 2011.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 May 2023, at 08:52
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