Ghost (film)

Ghost (film)

Infobox Film
name = Ghost

caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Jerry Zucker
producer = Steven-Charles Jaffe
Bruce Joel Rubin
Lisa Weinstein
writer = Bruce Joel Rubin
starring = Patrick Swayze
Demi Moore
Whoopi Goldberg
Tony Goldwyn
Rick Aviles
Vincent Schiavelli
music = Maurice Jarre
cinematography = Adam Greenberg, ASC
editing = Walter Murch
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = July 13, 1990
runtime = 128 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget = $22,000,000
gross = $505,702,588 (int.)
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id = 19626
imdb_id = 0099653

"Ghost" is a 1990 romantic fantasy film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker. It was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning for Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Whoopi Goldberg.


*Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat
*Demi Moore as Molly Jensen
*Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown
*Tony Goldwyn as Carl BrunerThe film also stars Rick Aviles as Willie Lopez. Stephen Root, (the Police Sergeant) and the director's mother, Charlotte Zucker, have cameo roles, as does Phil Leeds as the hospital ghost, and Vincent Schiavelli as the "Subway Ghost," one of the film's more memorable characters.


Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) are a happy and loving couple living in New York City. The only problem in their relationship is Sam's apparent discomfort with saying "I love you" to his girlfriend, only responding to her saying it with "ditto." This bothers Molly, who feels she needs to hear him say "I love you" in return.

One night, while walking back to their new apartment after going to the theatre, they encounter a thief named Willy Lopez (Rick Aviles). He pulls a gun, and Sam is shot. Sam chases Willy, but loses him; when he returns to Molly, he sees her cradling his own corpse, and realizes that he is now a ghost, trapped between worlds. Lights descend to take him away, but he flees.

Sam realizes that the robbery was planned when Willy sneaks into the house and rifles through his belongings. Sam follows Willy home and learns that his close friend and co-worker, Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn), hired Willy to rob Sam in order to get his office computer password; Carl is involved in a money laundering deal at the bank where he and Sam worked. Sam had recently changed his computer password, locking Carl out of the phony accounts where Carl had stashed the money. Sam lashes out in frustration at his supposed best friend, but realizes that, as a ghost, he can do little.

Sam fears that Molly is in danger but is helpless, unable to communicate with her in his spiritual form. As fate has it, however, he encounters Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a con artist posing as a medium who ironically discovers (through hearing Sam say that her business is a "crock of shit") that she really does have her family's power to hear ghosts, though she cannot see them. Seeing her as his only hope of communicating with Molly, Sam endlessly pesters Oda Mae until she eventually gives in and agrees to help him.

Oda Mae reluctantly calls Molly and tells her she is communicating with Sam, but Molly is understandably skeptical. Molly is convinced only when Oda Mae tells her several private things that only Sam could know, most importantly Sam's use of the word "ditto."

Sam encounters a troubled ghost (Vincent Schiavelli) haunting the Subway, who teaches him how to touch and move objects by focusing his emotions on his intended target. He also learns that Oda Mae is now being plagued by ghosts coming from as far away as New Jersey to speak to their living relatives. One briefly possesses her, but it is seen that this greatly saps a ghost's energy. He promises that she will no longer be bothered if she helps him.

Meanwhile, Molly visits the police, having become quite skeptical of Oda Mae's claims. The desk sergeant assures her that she's right to be suspicious, as there's no file on any 'Willy Lopez' — but there is an amazingly "large" file on Oda Mae Brown, who is well-known to local police as a huckster and small-time fraud.

Sam and Oda Mae move to thwart Carl's plan. Carl had stolen $4 million and put it in a fraudulent account. Under Sam's instructions, Oda Mae poses as 'Rita Miller' — the name on the account - to withdraw the money, and grudgingly gives the large cheque to two nuns collecting for charity. Carl panics when he realises the account has been closed, and is tormented by Sam, who, invisible, behaves like a poltergeist and types the word "MURDERER" on his computer.

Carl traces the missing money and ends up at Molly's door, asking about Oda Mae. Molly slips and reveals that Oda Mae "was" Rita Miller, and that she knows about the secret 'slush fund' that Carl has been frantically trying to access. Carl realizes that Sam's ghost is present and tells him he will be back to kill Molly if he doesn't get the money back. Sam runs off to warn Oda Mae, but Willy arrives soon after. Oda Mae and her sisters escape as Sam terrorizes Willy, prompting Willy to run out into the street in a panic. Willy is hit by a truck, but only realises he is dead when he sees his own corpse. As he does so, the shadows around him rise from the ground and take the shape of demons, which drag him into darkness as he screams for mercy.

Molly is still unsure about Oda Mae, but she is convinced after Oda Mae slides a penny under the door and Sam uses his powers to place the penny in Molly's hand (earlier, we see that Sam and Molly save pennies "for luck"). Sam then uses Oda Mae's body to share a passionate moment with Molly, but an outraged Carl storms in and threatens to kill Molly and Oda Mae if he does not get his money. Sam is forcefully ejected from Oda Mae's body and tries to stop Carl, but, as seen before, the possession has left him drained.

Molly and Oda Mae escape to a loft above the apartment, with Carl in pursuit. He tries desperately to catch up with the women and finally gets to Oda Mae, pulling out a gun. Molly comes to Oda Mae's defense, but Carl overpowers her and he takes her hostage instead. Sam's energy is restored and he forces Carl to throw the gun away, enabling Molly to escape unharmed. Fighting in vain to stop Sam's attacks, Carl foolishly swings a hanging hook at him. The hook passes through Sam's ghostly body, swings back and shatters an open window, which falls and kills Carl while he is trying to escape. Sam expresses regret as the demons take Carl's terrified spirit away.

When Sam returns to Oda Mae and Molly, Molly can see and hear him, as he has assumed a partly visible form. After saying a final goodbye to Oda Mae, he shares a final kiss with Molly and tells her he loves her, to which she responds with "ditto." Sam then walks off into the bright light.


On the television program "Siskel & Ebert" the film received a split review, Roger Ebert gave the film a "thumbs down" rating and said the film was "unintelligent and corny" while Gene Siskel said the film was "flawed but rich and romantic" and recommended it. [ [ "Siskel & Ebert" review of "Ghost"] ] The film grossed over $200 million in the US, ["Dirty Dancing", The E! True Hollywood Story, first aired September 3, 2000] and $500 million worldwide and currently has a score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Academy Award Honors

*Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Whoopi Goldberg)
*Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
* Nomination: Best Film Editing
* Nomination: Best Music, Original Score (see "Ghost" soundtrack)
* Nomination: Best Picture

Goldberg's character, Oda Mae Brown, was ranked 95 on the list of the best movie characters of all time by Premiere Magazine. []


In the DVD_TV version of "Ghost" broadcast on AMC, it was revealed that writer Bruce Joel Rubin was heartbroken when he heard that Jerry Zucker, who made his career in comedy and movie spoofs, was hired to direct the film because he was afraid Zucker wouldn't take it seriously.


Several actors including Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Tom Cruise, Kevin Bacon, Bruce Willis (who, at the time, was married to already-cast star Demi Moore), Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin turned down the role of Sam. Paul Hogan was also among the long list of actors to decline the lead role. Paul Hogan instead made "Almost an Angel".

Nicole Kidman and Madonna auditioned for the role of Molly but were both rejected. Molly Ringwald auditioned and won the role but turned it down at her agent's request, a decision she has since regretted. Meg Ryan also turned down the role. According to the "Remembering the Magic" featurette on the DVD, Tina Turner was originally cast in the role of Oda Mae.

Cultural significance

*Mistah FAB's single Ghost Ride It features the line "Who's that driving? Patrick Swayze!"

*"Ghost like Swayze" is a line from the "Saturday Night Live" skit "Lazy Sunday."

*Swayze's name was also used in an episode of Supernatural; when Dean Winchester has an out of body experience, he smashes a glass to get the attention of his brother and father, to whom he is invisible, after which he says, "Dude, I full-on Swayzed that mother!"

*When Patrick Swayze hosted "Saturday Night Live", he reprises his role as Sam Wheat in a sketch parodying the movie in which he tries to communicate with Molly, played by Victoria Jackson; but is put off by her disgusting habits (since she thinks she is alone). When "Oda Mae" (Chris Rock) arrives, he tells her " [she's] a pig. I'm hauling my ass up to Heaven."

*"The 69 Eyes" have a song inspired by this movie called "Ghost" on their 2007 album "Angels"

The pottery scene

The film's iconic love scene, where Sam helps Molly on a potter's wheel and begins kissing her as "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers plays, has been parodied in several formats:
* In the "Family Guy" episode "The Story on Page One," there is a scene in which Peter, in a flashback, telling Meg his summer as a ghostbuster, he interrupts the potter's wheel scene in the movie by sucking up Sam (Patrick Swayze) (though Sam was actually alive during the scene). He then says to Molly (Demi Moore), "That'll be $27.50."
* An episode of "Blue Collar TV", it featured Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, and Jeff Foxworthy going to a pottery store. While molding a pot, Engvall does the famous gesture behind Foxworthy. Foxworthy remarks, "Bill, this isn't "Ghost"."
* A popular television commercial for the Ford Fiesta depicts two German engineers moulding a car out of clay and getting caught up in the moment, as "Unchained Melody" plays in the background.
* The scene was also parodied in an episode of Spin City in a fantasy of Jennifer Esposito's character featuring her and Michael J. Fox's character
*Other films that have parodied the potter's wheel scene include: "The Big Hit", "", "Chappelle's show" and the "Futurama" episode "Bendless Love". "The Naked Gun 2½" parody is particularly apt because Jerry Zucker directed "Ghost" and was heavily involved in the production of all three "Naked Gun" movies, mostly as a writer. It has also appeared in the anime "School Rumble", and the Japanese "dorama" series "Densha Otoko".
* On episode 41 of the Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters", the movie is mentioned during a segment on ancient pottery batteries. The narrator says, "and yes, he does get asked about that movie "Ghost" all the time. So don't."
*An episode of the Comedy Central show Mad TV parodied this scene during a skit starring the fictional character Antonia (Nicole Sullivan), and a male pottery teacher (Pat Killbane).


* The scene where the "Subway Ghost" (Vincent Schiavelli) teaches Sam to move objects with his "ghost powers" was filmed in an abandoned lower platform at the 42nd Street A station in New York. Interestingly though, the train running in that scene was the J Train, which is the same train that ran in Ode Mae and the hit man's neighborhood.


External links

*imdb title | id=0099653 | title=Ghost
* [ Boxoffice information]
* [ Complete list of actors who were considered for roles]

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