Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine

4.9 13
Director: Lewis Gilbert, Pauline Collins, Tom Conti, Alison Steadman

Cast: Lewis Gilbert, Pauline Collins, Tom Conti, Alison Steadman


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Since its London and Broadway stage debut, playwright Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine has proven an excellent showcase for any number of talented actresses (Loretta Swit won the 1989 Sarah Siddons Award for her work in the Chicago production). In the film version of Shirley Valentine, Pauline Collins re-creates the role that had previously brought her


Since its London and Broadway stage debut, playwright Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine has proven an excellent showcase for any number of talented actresses (Loretta Swit won the 1989 Sarah Siddons Award for her work in the Chicago production). In the film version of Shirley Valentine, Pauline Collins re-creates the role that had previously brought her theatrical fame and a Tony Award. Spending the bulk of the film speaking directly to the audience, the titular Shirley (Collins), a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, reveals her innermost thoughts and fears in a manner that is both insouciant and poignant. Once an incorrigible anti-establishment rebel, Shirley now chafes under the plodding insensitivity of her husband, Joe (Bernard Hill). Her life enters a new and exciting phase when, after her best friend, Jane (Alison Steadman), wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to Greece, Shirley is given the opportunity to travel to faraway places without her husband. Shirley Valentine represents the second felicitous collaboration between playwright Willy Russell and director Lewis Gilbert; the first was Educating Rita (1983).

Editorial Reviews

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The fact that Pauline Collins received an Oscar nomination for her work in Shirley Valentine may be more an indication of a weak 1989 field than her having turned in a virtuoso performance. In fact, the talking-to-the-viewer format, fairly natural as a stage device, is at times almost uncomfortable, especially with how heavily director Lewis Gilbert relies on it. Still, that this little-seen film adaptation of Willy Russell's beloved play could generate such acclaim was a sturdy approbation of Collins' intimate, confessional take on the title character, backed by a script of internal and external journeys that lead her to greater self-understanding and satisfaction. What makes it such a brave, interesting (albeit not commercially viable) work is that it focuses on the intangible dismays of a decidedly middle-aged, decidedly average woman. Watching her cavort in Grecian seas with half-naked men half her age is a delight best appreciated by viewers in similar need of reawakening, but one that translates to viewers of all ages and romantic histories. The overall impression of Shirley Valentine is of a fond character study astutely realized by Collins and Gilbert, but one that may be more at home in Russell's original domain nonetheless.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount (Pmt)
[Full Frame]
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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Pauline Collins Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw
Tom Conti Costas Caldes
Alison Steadman Jane
Julia McKenzie Gillian
Joanna Lumley Marjorie
Bernard Hill Joe Bradshaw
Sylvia Syms Headmistress
Gillian Kearney Young Shirley
Catherine Duncan Young Marjorie
Tracie Bennett Milandra Bradshaw
Gareth Jefferson Brian Bradshaw
George Costigan Dougie
Anna Keaveney Jeannette
Ken Sharrock Sydney
Karen Craig Thelma
Cardew Robinson Londoner
Honora Burke Londer's Wife
Marc Zuber Renos
Deborah Yhip Sharon-Louise
Ray Armstrong Executive Type
John Hartley German Tourist
Marlene Morley German Tourist
Annee Blott Chambermaid
Matthew Long Teacher
Ruth Russell Veronica
Sarah Nolan Maureen
Diane Whitley Liz
Joanne Zorian Carol
Geraldine Griffiths Sally
Elaine Boisseau Woman in Taverna
Giorgos Xidakis Spiro
Sheila Aza Cooking Teacher
Alex Wright Kid in Car
Ged McKenna Van Driver
George Hatzinassios Actor

Technical Credits
Lewis Gilbert Director,Producer
Amanda Ackland-Snow Set Decoration/Design
John Dark Executive Producer
John Hadjinassios Score Composer
Marvin Hamlisch Score Composer
Alan Hume Cinematographer
Basil Newall Makeup
Candice Paterson Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Rabinowitz Musical Direction/Supervision
Willy Russell Score Composer,Screenwriter
John Stoll Production Designer
Lesley Walker Editor


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Shirley Valentine 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this movie. Shirley talking to the kitchen wall while drinking wine. Feeding her husbands dinner (steak) to the neighbors dog because she feels sorry for it. Shirley who has dedicated her life to her husband who never smiles and is always sullen and her daughter, who moves back in and expects mom to wait on her hand and foot. Then making a daring move by accompanying her friend on a trip to Greece which turns into a life altering experience. This is a great movie! I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, what can I say. &quot Shirley Valentine&quot is one of those very few movies with perfection. Pauline Collins is terrefic in the role of Shirley, she is very adorable and her performence is worth appreciating, nevertheless her role is worth admiring and loving. Beautifull scenarios of Greece, excellent chemistry between Tom Conti and Pauline Collins and well, words alone cannot describe this beautifull film. Its emotional, its seductive, its lovely consisting of good performences. Unforgettable and definately worth watching. If you like good lighthearted drama, beautifull locations, this is the film for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
When my wife & I first saw this film in 1997, it was considered by local movie critics to be a 'sleeper' of a film. It wasn't rated that high so we weren't sure how enjoyable the film would be. I would consider this one of the top 5 films I've ever seen. It shows Shirley's stages of life as a student, antics with her fun loving husband when first married, and how time changes her husband from being 'fun' to being 'boring', something I think many people can relate to. I immediately knew the turning point in the film where Shirley knew 'enough was enough' & decided to inform her husband about her trip to Greece (see if you can tell). The only negative aspect about the film involved the credits. I considered her husband, (Bernard Hill), to have a major emphasis in the whole film. Yet at the beginning when the credits are shown, instead of it reading 'Starring Pauline Collins, Bernard Hill, ...', it reads, 'Starring Pauline Collins, ...', 'With Bernard Hill.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shirley did not fall prey to the domineering boring husband, or the demanding ungrateful children. She had dreams and aspirations and followed her heart. Life is too short not to follow your heart or dreams. Hurrah for Shirley Valentine. I hope they make this in DVD soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm still waiting for the sequel to this great film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, have seen this movie 32 times. Was I moved to get a ticket to Greece - YOU BET! Even stayed at the Manoulas Beach Hotel where she stayed and sat on the beach and watched the same sunset. Marvelous movie - Makes you ''think about life!!'' and take action. My hubby loves it also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wonderful comedy/introspective piece is about an unfulfilled housewife and how she gains the courage to follow her dreams and recapture the vivaciousness that was once very much part of her. It is an eye opener for anyone questioning ''how did I end up where I am and how can I regain my purpose'' ---a truly inspirational film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie that every woman needs to see and apply to her life. Excellent sceens where Shirley talks to the wall and to the audience. A group of ladies in Atlanta were told what a great movie this was and had a Shirley Valentine party. Twelve ladies watch it together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a perfect movie for anyone tired of the drudgery of day to day. Shirley's conversations with the well are hilarious. She is sweet and honest and brave and she inspires you to be the same. Look for the greatest diet plan ever devised (the F-plan) You and your best girl buds will laugh yourselves silly and still have something to think about when it's over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is for every person who ever asks the question, ''Is that all there is?'' or ''Whatever happened to the real me?'' Shirley Valentine is a middle-aged woman neglected by her family. Just when she thinks life has no more surprises, she gets an opportunity to take a trip to Greece. In Greece, she meets and is entertained by a charming local, played by the actor Tom Conti. Best of all, she is reintroduced to herself, the Shirley Valentine she thought she left behind when she married. Look for Joanna Lumley of AB-FAB fame, who plays Shirley's old school mate. This movie will make you want to book the next flight to Greece.