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The Goodbye Girl

  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • 1977
  • Herbert Ross
  • 105 mins
  • PG


Neil Simon's romantic comedy, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. Divorced former dancer Paula McFadden is horrified to discover that her latest lover has not only left her, but has also sublet their apartment to struggling actor Elliott Garfield. Unwilling to see Paula and her young daughter made homeless, Garfield lets them stay, but the trio make uneasy flatmates.

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A star rating of 4 out of 5.

A Neil Simon script, Mike Nichols wielding the megaphone and Robert De Niro to star. It seemed nothing could stop Bogart Slept Here from becoming the movie of the year. But a mere two weeks into production, the director and his star were at odds over everything from Method acting to comic timing. De Niro was sacked and went off to make Taxi Driver with Martin Scorsese, leaving Nichols to shut down the picture after he failed to find a suitable replacement. Two years later, following his triumph working with Steven Spielberg in Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Richard Dreyfuss took the lead in what was now called The Goodbye Girl, and Neil Simon's winter of discontent was made glorious summer by this unprepossessing son of New York. Dreyfuss is inspired as Elliott Garfield: his gay Richard III is the highlight of a wisecracking romantic comedy that barely pauses for breath. He's ably matched by Marsha Mason as the ex-chorus girl and single mother whose disastrous love life has given her a healthy suspicion of thespians. Circumstances force the pair to share an apartment, and, as the bickering subsides, romance blossoms, though not without a few thorns along the primrose path. Neil Simon is at his best when examining the strain Big Apple culture places on relationships, and all his familiar themes are present and correct here. Along with Mason and Quinn Cummings (as her young daughter), however, he missed out on Oscar night, but Dreyfuss went home with a statuette (a success De Niro still regards as the one that got away). Director Herbert Ross was also nominated that year, though for his work on The Turning Point and not his sterling contribution here.

How to watch





Elliott Garfield Richard Dreyfuss
Paula McFadden Marsha Mason
Lucy McFadden Quinn Cummings
Mark Morgenweiss Paul Benedict
Donna Douglas Barbara Rhoades
Mrs Crosby Theresa Merritt
RonnieMichael Shawn
Rhonda FontanaPatricia Pearcy
Assistant choreographerGene Castle
Dance instructorDaniel Levans
Oliver FryeNicol Williamson
LindaMarilyn Sokol
Mrs MorgenweissAnita Dangler
Mrs BodineVictoria Boothby
Liquor store salesmanRobert Costanzo
MuggerPoncho Gonzales
CynthiaDana Laurita
DrunkDave Cass
Strip club managerEsther Sutherland
MuggerJose Machado
MuggerHubert Kelly


DirectorHerbert Ross


Theatrical distributor
Columbia-Warner Dists
Released on
English | Japanese
Contains swearing.
Available on
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