Peggy Sue Got Married

Peggy Sue Got Married is a 1986 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola starring Kathleen Turner as a woman on the verge of a divorce, who finds herself transported back to the days of her senior year in high school in 1960. The film was written by husband-and-wife team Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner.

Peggy Sue Got Married
Peggy Sue Got Married.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola
Produced byPaul R. Gurian
Written byJerry Leichtling
Arlene Sarner
Music byJohn Barry
CinematographyJordan Cronenweth
Edited byBarry Malkin
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million
Box office$41.4 million

The film was a box office success and received positive reviews from critics. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actress (Turner), Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design. In addition, Turner was nominated for Best Foreign Actress at the Sant Jordi Awards.


In 1985, Peggy Sue Bodell attends her 25-year high school reunion, accompanied by her daughter Beth instead of her high-school sweetheart husband Charlie. She and Charlie were married right after graduation, when Peggy Sue got pregnant. However, the two have separated prior to the reunion because of his infidelity.

When she arrives at the reunion, she is happy at having the chance to reconnect with Maddy and Carol, her old best friends. However, an awkward scene begins to play out as Charlie arrives unexpectedly and Peggy Sue ignores him. The event's MC then announces the reunion's “king and queen:" Richard Norvik, the former class-geek-turned-billionaire-inventor, and Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue, overwhelmed, faints while accepting her crown onstage.

Peggy Sue awakens to find herself still in the same location (the high school gym where the reunion was taking place) but 25 years in the past. It is now 1960, during her senior year of high school, where she’s just passed out after having donated blood. She finds that all her friends, whom she was just with at the reunion, are now their teenaged selves. Still in shock, she allows herself to be taken home, deciding to act like everything is normal.

Hoping that Richard might be able to shed light on her situation, she befriends him. She chooses to tell Richard her secret, which he at first doesn’t believe, until Peggy Sue begins to give him details about the future. She then makes the decision to break up with Charlie. However, she decides to sleep with Charlie one night after a party, but he panics, and reminds her of how she rebuffed him the weekend before, and takes her home. Instead of going inside, she walks to an all-night café and sees Michael Fitzsimmons, the artsy loner at school she always wished she’d slept with, and goes inside to talk to him. During the conversation she learns they have more in common than she thought, leaving the café with him on his motorcycle. Michael asks if she’s going to marry Charlie, to which she replies that she’s already done that and will not be doing it again. The two then have sex.

The next night, Michael meets Peggy Sue at a music bar, and tells her to go to Utah with him and another woman to join them in a polygamous marriage, where the two women can support him while he writes. She tells him that he should go to Utah alone, and use their night together as the inspiration for his writing. During their conversation, she hears someone singing and looks towards the stage to find that it’s Charlie, and realizes there is more to him than she thought. Michael notices where her attention is drawn, becomes upset, and leaves, realizing his offer has been rejected. Charlie comes off the stage to speak to a music agent who had attended the show to hear him, but is rejected.

The next day, when Peggy Sue tries to talk to Charlie, he lashes out at her, still upset at his failure to secure a record deal. She leaves to say goodbye to Richard, stating that she wants to stop ruining her life and everyone's around her, especially Charlie's, since the reason he stopped singing is because she got pregnant with their daughter. Richard then proposes marriage, but she refuses, thinking about how she doesn't want to marry anyone at her age, and knowing he must become valedictorian. Confused, she visits her grandparents for her 18th birthday and, upon learning that her grandmother can see the future, she tells them her story. Her grandfather takes her to his Masonic lodge, where the members perform a ritual to send her back to the year 1985. Charlie enters the lodge and sees the ritual, then picks up Peggy Sue and runs out of the building, leaving everyone inside thinking the ritual worked.

Charlie tells her that he gave up singing and was given 10% of the family business so he can support her. He then proposes and gives her the locket she is seen wearing at the beginning of the film. When she looks inside the locket, she sees baby pictures of her and Charlie, which resemble their children. At this moment, Peggy Sue realizes just how much he truly loves her, and she him, and they kiss. They start to have sex, proving that she would've made the same choices if given a second chance.

In the next instant, Peggy Sue awakens in a hospital back in 1985, with Charlie at her side. He is deeply regretful for his adultery, and tells her he wants her back. When she questions him about his girlfriend Janet, he swears to her that it is over. Peggy Sue and Charlie then reconcile, and she invites him over for dinner.




The film was originally going to star Debra Winger and be directed by Jonathan Demme. They had creative differences and Demme left the project, to be replaced by Penny Marshall, who would be making her feature directorial debut. Then Marshall had creative differences with the writers and left the project. Winger then quit out of loyalty to Marshall. Rastar, the production company, offered the film to Francis Ford Coppola hoping to entice Winger back to the project.[3] In the end, Kathleen Turner became the star.


Kathleen Turner stated that Francis Ford Coppola was contractually obligated to finish the film on time or lose final cut privilege. Accordingly the cast and crew worked twenty hours a day, six days a week to deliver the movie to the studio on time.[4]

Turner has spoken numerous times about the difficulty of working with co-star Nicolas Cage. In her 2008 memoir, she wrote that:

"He caused so many problems. He was arrested twice for drunk-driving and, I think, once for stealing a dog. He'd come across a chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket. On the last night of filming, he came into my trailer after he'd clearly been drinking heavily. He fell on his knees and asked if I could ever forgive him. I said, "Not right now. I have a scene to shoot. Excuse me," and just walked out. Nicolas didn't manage to kill the film, but he didn't add a lot to it, either. For years, whenever I saw him, he'd apologize for his behavior. I'd say: "Look, I'm way over it." But I haven't pursued the idea of working with him again."[5]

Turner also criticized Cage for his decision to adopt a nasal fry for his character (Cage said he based it on Pokey from The Gumby Show), and to wear false teeth. In response to Turner's claims that he had driven drunk and stolen a Chihuahua, Cage sued her for defamation and won.[6] In exchange he received a public apology from Turner, admission from her publisher that the claims were false and defamatory, and a pledge that Turner and the publisher would make a substantial donation to charity.[7]

During an interview in 2018, Turner commented on Cage's nasal voice that:

"It was tough to not say, 'Cut it out". But it wasn't my job to say to another actor what he should or shouldn't do. So I went to Francis [Ford Coppola]. I asked him, 'You approved this choice?' It was very touchy. He [Nicolas Cage] was very difficult on set. But the director allowed what Nicolas wanted to do with his role, so I wasn't in a position to do much except play with what I'd been given. If anything, it [Cage's portrayal] only further illustrated my character's disillusionment with the past. The way I saw it was, yeah, he was that asshole."[8]

Release and receptionEdit

Peggy Sue Got Married gained a positive reaction from critics, as it currently holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews The site's consensus reads, "Peggy Sue Got Married may seem just another in the line of 80's boomer nostalgia films, but none of the others have Kathleen Turner keen lead performance."

The film opened with $6,942,408 and ended up grossing $41,382,841 in the U.S. It was the first box-office success for Coppola since The Outsiders.[9]

Kathleen Turner won the 1986 award for Best Actress from the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.[10] The film ranked number 17 on Entertainment Weekly's list of "50 Best High School Movies".[11]

This film appeared on Siskel and Ebert's best of 1986 lists.[12]

American Film Institute lists

Musical adaptationEdit

The film was adapted by Leichtling and Sarner into a full-length musical theater production which opened in London's West End theatre district in 2001. Despite receiving solid reviews[15] and a several million pound advance, 9/11 forced the show to close early.


  1. ^ "PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 29, 1986. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  2. ^ Jim Catalano (1995). "Interview: Marshall Crenshaw". Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  3. ^ IS 'PEGGY SUE' NEAR THE ALTAR WITH COPPOLA?: FILM CLIPS London, Michael. Los Angeles Times 28 Nov 1984: h1.
  4. ^ Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (November 12, 2019). After Show: Kathleen Turner Turned Down This Sharon Stone Role. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Katherine Thomson (March 28, 2008). "Nicolas Cage Sues Kathleen Turner over Dog-napping Tale". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Katherine Thomson (March 28, 2008). "Nicolas Cage Sues Kathleen Turner over Dog-napping Tale". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  7. ^ SkyNews (April 4, 2008). "Kathleen Turner Apologizes to Nicolas Cage Over Dog Theft Allegation". Fox News. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  8. ^ David Marchese (August 7, 2018). "In Conversation: Kathleen Turner". Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  9. ^ "Peggy Sue Got Married at Box Office Mojo". December 30, 1986. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "1986 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies". Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  12. ^ "Siskel and Ebert Top Ten Lists (1969-1998)". May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  14. ^ American Film Institute. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot" (PDF). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "Peggy Sue Got Married - the Musical, a CurtainUp review". Retrieved May 20, 2011.

External linksEdit