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Steel Magnolias Details


The title refers to those seemingly frail Southern belles who survive any and all deprivations through whims of iron. Robert Harling's original stage play was set exclusively in a Louisiana beauty parlor where an all-female cast of characters laughed, cried and compared menfolk. The film expands the playing field by including scenes at picnics, hospitals and the like, and by visually depicting the males who never appeared in the stage version. Dolly Parton plays the goodnatured beauty-shop owner, while Shirley MacLaine is the cantankerous town eccentric, decked out in grungy overalls and speaking fluent Trash. Well-to-do Sally Field bravely endures several assaults to her sensibilities, not the least of which is the illness (and subsequent death) of daughter Julia Roberts. The performances are first-rate, with the possible exception of Daryl Hannah's overemphatic portrayal of a gawky hairdresser. The film stumbles a bit in its depiction of the male characters as fools and deadheads, and in the final overlong hospital scenes involving the comatose Roberts, which play like a road company version of Terms of Endearment. Otherwise, Steel Magnolias is a prime example of ensemble filmmaking, lovingly coordinated by director Herbert Ross. (Sidebar: Herbert Ross was reportedly rather rough on Julia Roberts, deriding her lack of experience. The rest of the female cast rallied around Roberts and told the director to lay off or pay the price). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:November 15, 1989


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Julia Roberts Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1989 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Julia Roberts Best Supporting Actress 1989 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sally Field Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama 1989 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Shirley MacLaine Best Supporting Actress 1990 Nominee


Sally Field
as M'Lynn Eatenton
Dolly Parton
as Truvy Jones
Shirley MacLaine
as Ouiser Boudreaux
Daryl Hannah
as Annelle Dupuy Desoto
Olympia Dukakis
as Clairee Belcher
Julia Roberts
as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie
Tom Skerritt
as Drum Eatenton
Sam Shepard
as Spud Jones
Dylan McDermott
as Jackson Latcherie
Kevin J. O'Connor
as Sammy Desoto
Bill McCutcheon
as Owen Jenkins
Betsy Widhalm
as Church Organist
Aja Sansone
as Monique
Lori Tate
as Mrs. Latcherie, Sr.
Rick Hurst
as Bark Boone
Nancy Parsons
as Janice Van Meter
Knowl Johnson
as Tommy Eatenton
Norman Fletcher
as Mr. Latcherie, Sr.
Walker May
as Newspaper Boy
Sandra Asbury-Johnson
as Dancing Couple
Travis Harrison
as Delivery Boy
Gladys Mallard
as Nurse
Debbie McCann
as Cook's Helper
Ann Wedgeworth
as Aunt Fern
Tom Hodges
as Louie Jones
James Wlcek
as Marshall Marmillion
Trent Dawson
as Church Singer
Robert Harling
as Minister
Carol Sutton
as Nurse Pam
Janine Turner
as Nancy Beth Marmillion
Jonathan Ward
as Jonathan Eatenton
Bibi Besch
as Belle Marmillion
Spencer Henderson
as Dancing Couple
Carole Cook
Daniel Camp
as Jack Jr. (3 years old)
Robert Ginnaven
as Mayor Van Meter


Herbert Ross
Raymond Stark
Robert Harling
John A. Alonzo
Georges Delerue
Composer (Music Score)
Paul Hirsch
Edward Pisoni
Production Designer
Gene Callahan
Production Designer
Hub Braden
Art Director
Andrew Stone
Associate Producer
Victoria White
Executive Producer
Lee Poll
Set Designer
Julie Weiss
Costume Designer
Spencer Henderson
Christina Smith
Hallie D'Amore
Leigh Mitchell