Grumpy Old Men is a 1993 Warner Bros. romantic comedy film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Ann-Margret, with Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak, Katie Sagona, Ossie Davis, and Buck Henry.
It is shown that the entire rivalry got started over John's stealing of Max's childhood sweetheart, a woman named May to whom John was married 20 years and not happily. Max went on to marry a woman named Amy whom both he and John believe was the best thing to happen to him, but he has always harbored bad feelings over John's marriage to May.
The rivalry gets more heated when a new neighbor, Ariel Truax (Ann-Margret), moves into the neighborhood and Max and John both compete for her affections. Although Max and John are not the only people smitten by the widowed Ariel, they seem to be the two men in the neighborhood that she is most interested in.
Eventually Ariel begins spending more time with John to Max's dismay. To get back at John Max drives his truck into John's ice shanty and pushes it into thin ice where it sinks to the bottom of the lake. The two men then get into a fight over John's relationship with Ariel, with Max accusing John of stealing her from him like he did before with May. Although John tries to convince Max that he is better off, Max decides to shame John into ending the relationship by telling John that he can't support Ariel once the IRS, to whom he owes thousands in back taxes, takes his house and saying that he "ain't got time" to wait around for another Amy to come back into his life. Max's tactics work and John lets Ariel go, becoming depressed in the process.
Things come to a climax on Christmas Eve when John storms out of his house and heads to a bar due to a fight he had with his daughter Melanie's husband, who he doesn't like and from whom she had separated. Max goes down to the bar to try and calm John down, but doesn't get what John is upset about (the whole Ariel situation) and further angers John, who leaves the bar and begins walking home. On the way John suffers a massive heart attack and Max, who left after him to try to apologize, finds him in a snow drift and calls an ambulance.
Max visits John in the hospital the next day and sees him clinging to life. He decides that perhaps John and Ariel are better off together, and goes to tell her what happened. Ariel visits John and instantly the two appear to fall in love again.
While John is recovering Max decides to try and help him with his IRS trouble, barricading John's house shut and getting his son Jacob, newly elected mayor of Wabasha, to get an injunction against the IRS from seizing John's property. For old time's sake Max throws a dead fish in the IRS agent's car.
John and Ariel get married several months later, with Max providing two gifts. One is to help pay off John's taxes, and the other is the ever present dead fish in the limousine the newlyweds ride away in.
|Jack Lemmon||John Gustafson|
|Walter Matthau||Max Goldman|
|Burgess Meredith||Grandpa Gustafson (J.W.)|
|Daryl Hannah||Melanie Gustafson|
|Kevin Pollak||Jacob Goldman|
|Ossie Davis||Chuck (Bait Shop Owner)|
|Buck Henry||Mr. Sneyder (IRS Agent)|