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Desperately Seeking Susan

Desperately Seeking Susan

4.5 4
Director: Susan Seidelman,

Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Madonna, Aidan Quinn


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A petite New Jersey housewife finds self-fulfillment through amnesia in this new wave comedy of errors set in New York's hip '80s downtown scene. Rosanna Arquette stars as Roberta, who turns to the personals for vicarious thrills after her four-year marriage to staid hot tub salesman Gary (Mark Blum) grows stale. Her favorite classified ads trace the romance of Jim


A petite New Jersey housewife finds self-fulfillment through amnesia in this new wave comedy of errors set in New York's hip '80s downtown scene. Rosanna Arquette stars as Roberta, who turns to the personals for vicarious thrills after her four-year marriage to staid hot tub salesman Gary (Mark Blum) grows stale. Her favorite classified ads trace the romance of Jim (Robert Joy), a struggling musician, and Susan (Madonna), a SoHo vamp who's just narrowly escaped being murdered alongside one of her other boyfriends -- a gangster who recently stole some Egyptian jewelry. Through a series of complicated missteps, Roberta ends up losing her memory and convincing both herself and a broodingly handsome young man named Dez (Aiden Quinn) that she's the elusive, adventurous Susan. Soon, Roberta finds herself being romanced by Dez and pursued separately by her husband, Jim, Susan, and by a murderous mobster who's looking for the stolen jewels. For her second feature outing, which was partially inspired by Jacques Rivette's Celine and Julie Go Boating, director Susan Seidelman filled her cast with hipster extras, downtown personalities, and New York thespians. Notable faces include comedian Steven Wright; future indie mainstay John Turturro; future TV stars Michael Badalucco and Laurie Metcalf; punk singer Richard Hell, who also starred in Seidelman's Smithereens; and performance artist Ann Magnunson, who would star in the director's Making Mr. Right. The big dance-club sequence was filmed at Danceteria, the disco that helped launch Madonna's career. The scene, and the film, helped propel "Into the Groove," one of the singer's all-time club classics, into the charts even though it was actually a b-side to the single "Angel."

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
A classic Hollywood screwball comedy transposed to modern-day Manhattan, Desperately Seeking Susan offered mid-'80s moviegoers a mall-friendly version of hip New York style, much like Madonna did throughout her early musical career. Although it's often (and correctly) touted as the pop superstar's most successful big-screen performance, Desperately Seeking Susan is actually Rosanna Arquette's picture, and the pixie-cute actress acquits herself admirably as she portrays a bored homemaker who plays dress-up the same way thousands of preteen girls did during the real life Madonna "wannabe" years. Wearing the singer's thrift-store fashions, cavorting with SoHo scenesters, and playing a perky amnesiac without coming off too cutesy, Arquette is a virtual stand-in for the audience of middle Americans at whom the film is pitched. Director Susan Seidelman does fill her picture with actual underground personalities, but they're all at the periphery, from the Robert Smith types who fill the Danceteria to offbeat romantic leads Aidan Quinn and Robert Joy, who bring rough-edged charm to their proto-slacker characters. Laurie Metcalf has fun as Roberta's shrill, easily shocked sister-in-law, while Madonna expands her gamine music-video performance with wise-cracking self assurance and visual flair. Hardly a triumph for either its director or its singer-turned-actress co-star, Desperately Seeking Susan is, instead, a pleasant, vaguely feminist day trip from the New Jersey suburbs to the heart of the East Village.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Kl Studio Classics
Region Code:
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio commentary by the producers; Original and alternate endings; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rosanna Arquette Roberta Glass
Madonna Susan,Singer
Aidan Quinn Dez
Mark Blum Gary Glass
Robert Joy Jim
Laurie Metcalf Leslie Glass
Anna Levine Crystal
Will Patton Wayne Nolan
Peter Maloney Ian
Steven Wright Larry Stillman D.D.S
John Turturro Ray
Anne Carlisle Victoria
Shirley Stoler Jail Matron
Wendy Dasteel Actor
Risa Bramon Garcia Actor
Billy Hopkins Actor
Harsh Nayyar Egyptian Diplomat
Keita Whitten Store Customer
Jose Santana Boutique Owner
Giancarlo Esposito Street Vendor
Richard Hell Bruce Meeker
Steve Bosh Newscaster
Daisy Bradford Daisy
Annie Golden Band Singer
Richard Edson Man with Newspapers
Ann Magnuson Cigarette Girl
John Lurie Neighbor Saxophonist
Mary Joy Cocktail Waitress
Rosemary Hochschild Cocktail Waitress
Iris Chacon TV Singer
Victor Argo Sgt. Taskal
J.B. Waters Jail Matron
Arto Lindsay Newspaper Clerk
Henry Adler Magic Club Drummer
Marty Gold Magic Club Pianist
Alvy West Magic Club Saxophonist
Michael R. Chin Choy
Timothy Carhart Victoria's Boy Friend
Curt Dempster Coffee Shop Manager
Shirley Kaplan Waitress
Lazaro Perez Enrique the Guard
John Hoyt Space Commander
Gary Ray Band Member
Gary Binkow Band Member
Joyce Griffen Prostitute
Paul Austin Policeman
Richard S. Lowy Adrian the Hairdresser
Donna Ritchie Hot Tub Girl
Kim Chan Park Bum
Michael Badalucco Guy from Brooklyn
Elie J. Boubli Egyptian Ambassador
Adele Bertei Prisoner
Steve Eidel Party Guest
Michael Kaufman Party Guest
Ilene Kristen Party Guest
Carol Leifer Party Guest
Richard Portnow Party Guest
Isabel García Lorca Party Guest
Gilda Tortorello Ray's Mom
Stanley Burns Ventriloquist
Rockets Redglare Taxi Driver
Patrick John Hurley Policeman
Peter Castellotti Coffee Shop Cop
Michael Bramon Band Member
Betty Everett Singer

Technical Credits
Susan Seidelman Director
Leora Barish Screenwriter
Craig Bolotin Screenwriter
Risa Bramon Casting
Richard Dean Makeup
Danny Goldberg Musical Direction/Supervision
Lou Graf Sound Editor
Billy Hopkins Casting
Speed Hopkins Art Director
Francis Kenny Camera Operator
Edward Lachman Cinematographer
Les Lazarowitz Sound/Sound Designer
Santo Loquasto Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Madonna Songwriter
Andrew Mondshein Editor
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Peter Odabashian Sound Editor
Michael Peyser Executive Producer
Sarah Pillsbury Producer
Mark Rathaus Sound Editor
Midge Sanford Producer
Timothy R. Sexton Musical Direction/Supervision
Joel Tuber Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Desperately Seeking Susan
1. Chapter I
2. Chapter II
3. Chapter III
4. Chapter IV
5. Chapter V
6. Chapter VI
7. Chapter VII
8. Chapter VIII


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Desperately Seeking Susan 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
goodgirl2 More than 1 year ago
love this movie. Adin was so cute in this movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok so its the 80's duh and back then it was all about Maddona the pop 80's pricess her wardrobe was so awesome the cool black gloves with the holes that you put your fingers into the black rubberband braclets and the cool black sunglasses that madonna wore Madonna stars as Susan Rossana Aquite stars as Roberta a housewife who's life is well bornig anyway Susan and Roberta get mixed up Everyone thinks that Roberta is Susan she meets Dez a really cute guy they spend alot of time together The bad guy is after the real Susan but with Roberta's help she saves Susan's life Good going stranger says Susan and Susan and Roberta find the missing earings .
Guest More than 1 year ago
Madonna stars as Susan in this movie but another girl Roberta gets mistaken as her and some guy is trying to kill Susan Now Roberta is mistaken as Susan but is really married to a guy name Gary Its a roamntic love story of 1985 Madonna looked aweseome in this movie her wadorbe was cool