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Terms of Endearment

HD   PG Closed Captioning

James L. Brooks

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About the Movie

Terms of Endearment covers three decades in the lives of widow Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger). Fiercely protected by Aurora throughout childhood, Emma runs into resistance from her mother when she marries wishy-washy college teacher Flap (Jeff Daniels). Aurora is even more put out at the prospect of being a grandmother, though she grows a lot fonder of her three grandkids than she does of her son-in-law. Flap proves that Aurora's instincts were on target when he enters into an affair with a student (Kate Charleson). Meanwhile, Emma finds romantic consolation with an unhappily married banker (played by John Lithgow, who registers well in a rare "nice guy" performance). As for Aurora, she is ardently pursued by her next-door neighbor, boisterous astronaut Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson). After 75 minutes or so of pursuing an episodic, semi-comic plotline, the film abruptly shifts moods when Emma discovers that she has terminal cancer. Terms of Endearment won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for TV veteran James L. Brooks making his first feature film, Best Actress for MacLaine, and Best Supporting Actor for Nicholson. It was followed by a sequel, The Evening Star (1996), which again featured MacLaine as Aurora.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 43
  • Fresh: 38
  • Rotten: 5
  • Average Rating: 7.5/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: A funny, touching, beautifully acted film that covers more territory than it can easily manage. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Feb 22, 2015

Fresh: Its quirky rhythms and veering emotional tones are very much its own, and they owe less to movie tradition than they do to a sense of how the law of unintended consequences pushes us ceaselessly through the years, permitting no pause for perspective. – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Brooks' dialog is wonderful throughout and all the characters carry off their assignments beautifully, even down to Danny De Vito and Norman Bennett as MacLaine's other suffering suitors. – James Harwood, Variety, Feb 27, 2018

Fresh: Terms of Endearment is about three relationships and students of screenwriting would do well to study the way in which these three stories are told completely and effortlessly in a movie of average length. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune, Jan 18, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

a fantastic film

Terms of Endearment is a tearjerking drama with humor. It is definitly one of my top five favourite movies. acting, writing, and direction are superb.

Good Film...

Everything works with this film. The only reason I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars is just because it's not my cup of tea. I'm not exactly a person that would fall in love with this film. It's a great film. Buy it.

The Movie That Made Me A Shirley MacLaine Fan!

This is the first film I ever watched in my lifetime-when I was 3. The older I've gotten and the more I understand it, the more I fall in love with this movie over and over again. Brava performances by Shirley, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, and Jeff Daniels. Chick flick or not, this movie is appealing to the soul, and proves that some relationships never should have been...while for some, it's never too late to find love again. 10 stars!

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Terms of Endearment
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1983

Customer Ratings

Available Bundle

  1. Iconic Films of the 80's, Paramount Home Entertainment Inc.