Moonstruck is a 1987 romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison. The movie was released on December 18, 1987, and earned largely positive reviews from critics. The film went on to gross $80,640,528 at the US box-office alone, making it the 5th highest grossing movie of 1987 at the box office.


The story takes place within the Italian-American neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights in the borough of Brooklyn, New York , to which nearly all characters belong, and in many scenes the dialogue includes a few words in Italian before going back to English.

The main protagonist is a 37-year-old woman named Loretta Castorini (Cher). The first scene - in a funeral parlor where she prepares an income tax report and sharply reproves the owner for the mess in his receipts and documents - instantly defines her character: a cool and rational woman, dressed in neat, sober clothing, who makes and executes carefully detailed plans in both her personal and professional life, and who habitually manages the lives of men.

Loretta and Ronny Especially, she manages the life of the 42-year-old Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) who rather clumsily proposes to her in the early part of the film (with her immediately taking charge of the process and instructing him in the details of how to carry on).

The main theme of the film is the process by which Loretta is suddenly caught up and swept off her feet (literally, in one scene) by an overwhelming passionate love, defying all her plans and preparations - a passionate love which is explicitly compared with that of the protagonists in Puccini 's " La Boheme ", the difference being that this is a romantic comedy and not a Puccini opera (and therefore, the ending is bound to be different than that of the opera).

There are numerous subplots woven throughout the film, mostly involving the older members of Loretta's family - who live in a single, enormous house in Brooklyn: Loretta's parents, who had married for love but whose marriage is undergoing a deep crisis due to the father's infidelity, and Loretta's paternal grandfather, who always walks the streets with his numerous dogs, sees and knows everything and usually keeps his silence. In addition, there is an uncle and aunt who, on the contrary, undergo a kind of "second honeymoon"; and Loretta's mother meets and shares a meal with an aging professor (virtually the only non-Italian in the film) who keeps having short affairs with his female students, which invariably start with the girl being fascinated and end with her throwing a drink in his face and walking away.

Main Plot
Cast and Characters
Awards and Honors

Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage) The main plot starts with Johnny who, after proposing to Loretta, must visit his dying mother in Palermo, Italy before their marriage. He leaves her to make all preparations ("I will take care of everything, all you gotta do is show up"). Loretta's father, Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) does not approve of the marriage because he believes Loretta has bad luck in marriage (which she herself had stated to Johnny) and because Johnny is a "mama's boy". Loretta had been married once already. Her first husband died when he was hit by a bus. Her mother, Rose (Olympia Dukakis), does not really care about the marriage, but her question is:

Rose: "Do you love him?"
Loretta: "No, Ma."
Rose: "Good. 'Cause when you love 'em, they drive you crazy, because they know they can. But you like him?"
Loretta: "Oh yeah. He's a sweet man, Ma."

Johnny says that he wants her to talk his younger brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage) into coming to the wedding; this request is reiterated once Johnny reaches Italy and calls Loretta from Palermo. He also warns her that there has been some "bad blood" between the two. She then visits Ronny and finds out that Ronny lost his hand, and consequently his fiancée, while slicing bread for his brother, Johnny. While this "bad blood" makes no sense to Loretta, she is taken by Ronny's passionate and poetic ways and offers to make him something to eat. Loretta Castorini (Cher) During that time Loretta makes it clear to Ronny that she thinks the grudge he holds is stupid. Their mutual attraction then takes over and they make love. They wake up later and Loretta feels ashamed of herself. She says she could never see Ronny again and they must never tell anyone what they did, but Ronny is instantly hooked and Loretta too in her own way.

After feeling bad for betraying her fiance, Loretta goes to church and sees her mother Rose praying. Rose indicates to Loretta that Cosmo might be cheating on her. Ronny decides to woo Loretta by taking her to the opera later that day. Loretta dyes her hair and gets a beautiful dress. At the opera, both Loretta and her father Cosmo catch each other being unfaithful. Cosmo says "You are my daughter. I will not have you acting like a putana (Italian for whore)." But Loretta responds "And you are my father..." They both decide to go their separate ways and pretend they saw nothing. Walking home, Loretta feels guilty for her actions but Ronny convinces her, in so many words, that there should be no regrets and they should follow their hearts.

Later that night at the Castorini house, Johnny arrives back from Palermo. His mother has made a miraculous recovery and he has something important to tell Loretta. Loretta shows up the next morning with love bites on her neck and is shocked that Johnny has returned. Ronny arrives at the house to confront his Alla famiglia ! (To the family !) brother with the fact that he is in love with Loretta. At the same time, Rose confronts Cosmo about his affair, and he agrees to stop seeing his girlfriend. Johnny shocks the whole family by telling Loretta that he can't marry her. Even though upset, Loretta is relieved because that was the opportunity for Ronny to prove his love to Loretta and everyone else by proposing.

Rose: "Do you love him, Loretta?"
Loretta: "Ma, I love him awful."
Rose: "Oh, God, that's too bad."

Loretta accepts Ronny's proposal and the whole family toasts "Alla famiglia!" (To the family!).

Actor Character
Cher Loretta Castorini
Nicholas Cage Ronny Cammareri
Olympia Dukakis
Rose Castorini
Rose Castorini
Vincent Gardenia
Cosmo Castorini
Cosmo Castorini
Danny Aiello
Johnny Cammareri
Johnny Cammareri
Julie BovassoRita Cappomaggi
Louis GussRaymond Cappomaggi
Feodor Chaliapin Jr
Pop (Loretta's grandfather)
Pop (Loretta's grandfather)
John Mahoney


  • This is the second time that Cher and John Mahoney have starred in a movie together, their first was Suspect that same year.
  • Gardenia and Dukakis previously appeared in Death Wish (1974).
  • Cher and Aiello play younger characters; in real-life, she was approximately Johnny Cammareri's age (42), and Aiello was approximately twelve years older (54) than his character.
  • 23-year-old Cage (born 1964) plays a character about fifteen years older than his real age. In real life, he is eighteen years younger than Cher (born 1946) and thirty-one years younger than his on-screen brother Aiello (born 1933).
  • There is only a fifteen year age difference between Cher and Dukakis (born 1931).
La Famiglia
La Famiglia

Academy Awards Best ActressCherWon
Best Supporting ActressOlympia DukakisWon
Original Screenplay John Patrick ShanleyWon
Best Picture Nominated
Best Supporting ActorVincent GardeniaNominated
Best Director Norman JewisonNominated
British Academy Film AwardsBest ActressCherNominated
Best Supporting ActressOlympia DukakisWon
BAFTA Award for Best Film MusicDick HymanNominated
BAFTA Award for Best Original ScreenplayJohn Patrick ShanleyNominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress CherWon
Best Supporting Actress Olympia DukakisWon
Best Picture - Musical or Comedy  Nominated
Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nicolas CageNominated
Best ScreenplayJohn Patrick ShanleyNominated
Writers Guild of AmericaBest Original ScreenplayJohn Patrick ShanleyWon
Normal Jewison (director)

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Moonstruck was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the romantic comedy genre. The film is also number 72 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies," and number 41 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs .

American Film Institute recognition

  • 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #41
  • 2002: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions #17
  • 2005: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes #96
    • "Snap out of it!"
  • 2008: AFI's 10 Top 10 #8 Romantic Comedy

Influential film critic Roger Ebert entered the film to his "Great Movies" collection in June 2003.