more maternal

Stardust Memories

Stardust Memories is a 1980 film written and directed by Woody Allen. Allen considers this to be one of his best films in addition to The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point. Considered by some to be an homage to by Federico Fellini, the film is shot in black-and-white in the style of Fellini's surrealist films of the 1960s.

It is the story of a famous filmmaker, played by Allen, who is plagued by fans who prefer his "earlier, funnier movies" to his more recent artistic efforts, while he tries to reconcile his conflicting attraction to two very different women, the earnest, intellectual Daisy (Jessica Harper), and the more maternal Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault) while being haunted by memories of his ex-girlfriend, the mercurial Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling). The conflict between the maternal, nurturing woman and the earnest, usually younger one, is a recurring theme in Allen's films. It was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for "Best Comedy written directly for screen".

Like many of Allen's films, Stardust Memories incorporates several jazz recordings and includes classic performances by such jazz notables as Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Chick Webb.


The film featured Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Daniel Stern, Tony Roberts, Amy Wright, Judith Roberts, and Helen Hanft.

Among the extended cast members were an ingenue named Sharon Stone, in her first film appearance; a young Brent Spiner, later famous as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation; Laraine Newman of Saturday Night Live fame; and Allen's ex-wife Louise Lasser.


Allen denies that this film is autobiographical and regrets that audiences interpreted it as such.

The film sharply divided both audiences and critics, and to this day it provokes strong reactions, with some Allen fans proclaiming it his best picture and perhaps just as many classing it among his worst.

Box office

Stardust Memories opened in North America on September 26, 1980 to on onslaught of bad reviews. At 29 theatres, it grossed $326,779 ($11,268 per screen) in its opening weekend. The film failed to attract more than Woody Allen's loyal fanbase in the long run, and it grossed a modest $10,389,003 by the end of its run. The film's budget was $10 million, so it likely made a profit after foreign revenue was taken into account.


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