The Accidental Tourist (film)

The Accidental Tourist is a 1988 American drama film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis. It was scored by John Williams. The film's screenplay was adapted by Kasdan and Frank Galati from the 1985 novel of the same name by Anne Tyler.

The Accidental Tourist
The accidental tourist.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLawrence Kasdan
Produced byLawrence Kasdan
Charles Okun
Michael Grillo
Screenplay byFrank Galati
Lawrence Kasdan
Based onThe Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyJohn Bailey
Edited byCarol Littleton
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 23, 1988 (1988-12-23)
Running time
121 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$32.6 million (United States)

It was nominated for four Oscars at the 61st Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Supporting Actress for Davis, which she won.[1] John Williams was nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Original Score.[1]


Macon Leary (William Hurt) is a Baltimore writer of travel guides for reluctant business travelers, which detail how best to avoid unpleasantness and difficulty.

His marriage to his wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner) is disintegrating in the aftermath of the murder of their 12 year-old son, Ethan. Sarah eventually leaves Macon, moving out of their house and into an apartment. After he falls down the basement stairs and breaks his leg, Macon returns to his childhood home to stay with his eccentric siblings.

Macon is pursued by Muriel Pritchet (Geena Davis), an animal hospital employee and dog trainer with a sickly son. Macon eventually hires Muriel to put his dog through much-needed obedience training. Although Muriel at first seems brash and unsophisticated, Macon eventually finds himself opening up to her and trusting her, and he moves into her apartment. When Sarah's apartment lease is up, she moves back into their old home and suggests to Macon that they start over. Macon leaves Muriel, and he and Sarah set up house once more.

When Macon visits Paris for research, Muriel surprises him by showing up on the same flight and stays in the same Paris hotel, recommended by Macon in one of his travel guides. She suggests that they enjoy themselves as if they are vacationing together. Macon insists he is there strictly for business, and he keeps Muriel at arm's length.

After Macon is bedridden in his room by a back problem, Sarah comes to Paris to care for him and to make day-trips to help complete his travel guide. Macon's back is still in pain the day before his return flight to Baltimore. Sarah proposes they reschedule the flight and make the trip a second honeymoon to which Macon agrees. However, Sarah continues to question Macon about his relationship with and attraction to Muriel, angering Macon.

The next morning, Macon dresses while Sarah still sleeps, then wakes her to tell her that he is going back to Muriel. On his way to the airport, Macon spots Muriel hailing a taxi and tells the driver to stop. Thinking the driver stopped for her, Muriel bends to gather her luggage and catches sight of Macon in the taxi. She smiles, and Macon returns the smile.



Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it four out of four stars.[2]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 81% based on 32 reviews.[3] On Metacritic the film has a score of 53 out of 100 based on reviews from 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[5]




The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. ^ a b "The Accidental Tourist Awards and Nominations". Fandango. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  2. ^ Roger Ebert (January 6, 1989). "The Accidental Tourist". Chicago Sun Times.
  3. ^ "The Accidental Tourist (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  4. ^ "The Accidental Tourist". Metacritic.
  5. ^ "ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, THE (1988) B". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  7. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-18.

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