The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 22 mins

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Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey during the Depression and is searching for an escape from her dreary life. Tom Baxter is a dashing young archaeologist in the film "The Purple Rose of Cairo." After losing her job Cecilia goes to see the film in hopes of raising her spirits. Much to her surprise Tom Baxter walks off the screen and into her life. There's only one problem..Tom isn't real. Meanwhile Hollywood is up in arms when they dicover that other Tom Baxters are trying to leave the screen in other theatres. Will Tom ever return and finish the film or will he decide to stay in the real world?

Cast: Jeff Daniels, Mia Farrow

Crew: Woody Allen (Director), Gordon Willis (Director of Photography), Dick Hyman (Music Director)

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Release Dates: 01 Mar 1985 (India)

Tagline: She's finally met the man of her dreams. He's not real but you can't have everything

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Did you know? After this film was previewed, word got back to Woody Allen that if he just changed his ending, he could have a big hit. Allen declined, saying that the ending is one of the reasons he made the film. Read More
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as Tom Baxter / Gil Shepherd
as Cecilia
as Movie Goer
as Raoul Hirsch
as Policeman #1
as Delilah
as Movie Goer
as Olga
as Movie Audience
as Monk
as Diner Boss
as Waiter
as Photo Double
as Rita
as Emma
as Diner Patron
as Hooker
as Bandleader
as Henry
as Movie Goer
as Diner Patron
as Arturo
as Movie Audience
as Press Agent
as Trumpet Player at the Copa
as Movie Audience
as Hooker
as Movie Goer
as Movie Audience
as Movie Audience
as Theater Manager
as Maitre D
Supporting Actor
as Movie Goer
as Hirsch's Lawyer
as Jason
as Diner Patron
as Usherette
as Kitty Haynes
as Reporter
as Hooker
as Movie Audience
as Music Store Owner
as Movie Audience
as Diner Patron
as Movie Goer
as Restaurant Patron
as Popcorn Seller
as Diner Patron
as Gil's Agent
as Father Donnelly
as Ticket Buyer
as Ticket Buyer
as Extra - Movie Theater
as Penny Pitcher
as Penny Pitcher
as The Communist
as Drugstore Customer
as Hollywood Executive
as Penny Pitcher
as Crowd
as Reporter
Supporting Actor
as Cecilia's Sister
as Variety Reporter
as Ticket Taker
as Policeman #2
as Larry
as Diner Patron
as Diner Patron
as Hooker
as The Countess




Production Company
Executive Producer
Associate Producer


Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Designer
Sound Editor


Art Director
Production Designer
Set Decorator


Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer



Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist
Film Type:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Panavision Panaflex
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1 (Flat)
She's finally met the man of her dreams. He's not real but you can't have everything
Crew/Equipment Visible
As Cecilia and Gil play and sing in the music store, the camera casts a shadow in the lower left that disappears as it pulls back to a wide angle shot.
The fourteenth feature film directed by Woody Allen.

Actor Jeff Daniels plays duals roles in this movie. Daniels plays both characters Tom Baxter and Gil Shepherd, but in one sense, as one character is an actor playing the other, a character, they are the one character in a sense.

Jeff Daniels's Gil Shepherd character has the same first name as Owen Wilson's Gil character in Woody Allen's later film Midnight in Paris (2011) made and released about twenty-six years later.

The production shoot for this film began in November 1983 whilst the picture did not debut until March 1985, sixteen months later.

Woody Allen has frequently said that Eve Arden is his favorite comedic actress, and he very much wanted to collaborate with her on this film. Allen offered Arden a part, but unfortunately she had to turn it down in order to care for her ailing husband.

Second and final of two Woody Allen films featuring actress Stephanie Farrow, sister of Mia Farrow. The first had been Zelig (1983) around two years earlier.

The fourth of thirteen cinema movie collaborations of actress Mia Farrow and actor-writer-director Woody Allen.

Part of this movie was filmed at the now-demolished Kent movie house where as a child Woody Allen would frequent the 12 cent picture shows there, and which Allen has said was "one of the great, meaningful places of my boyhood".

The film was inspired by a number of influences. These were Buster Keaton's 1924 silent comedy Sherlock Jr. (1924), the 1941 comedy Hellzapoppin' (1941), Federico Fellini's The White Sheik (1952) and Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author".

The entire lead cast of The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), they being Jeff Daniels, Mia Farrow and Danny Aiello, all appear in Woody Allen's later movie Radio Days (1987).

Jeff Daniels' Tom Baxter character has the same "Baxter" last name as the character of Biff Baxter whom Daniels plays in Woody Allen's later film Radio Days (1987).

Around the time the movie was made and released, director Woody Allen and lead actress Mia Farrow were in a personal relationship, which had started around 1980.

About eight years after the picture debuted, the film's premise was used for the later Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero (1993) where a screen idol comes out of reel life and into real life.

The film was selected to screen out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985 and was awarded the International Film Critics Prize by FIPRESCI.

According to Eric Lax's book, this movie is one of Woody Allen's favorite films which are (in order): Match Point (2005), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Stardust Memories (1980), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), and Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993).

Though classified as a comedy-fantasy-romance by the IMDb, the picture is also part of a group of films known as "Depression Era Dramas".

After this film was previewed, word got back to Woody Allen that if he just changed his ending, he could have a big hit. Allen declined, saying that the ending is one of the reasons he made the film.

Woody Allen has said more than once that this is his favorite of the movies he's made.

In an interview in Esquire, Woody Allen was asked why he didn't make a happy ending to the film. Allen replied, "That *was* the happy ending."

In an interview in a Belgian magazine, Viggo Mortensen said that he was very proud to have played a small role in this movie during a difficult time of his life. When he proudly took his entire family to a movie theater to see it, he was extremely disappointed to find out that all of his scenes were cut from the final movie.

Woody Allen has said of this film: "It was the one which came closest to my original conception".

Jeff Daniels replaced Michael Keaton in the lead male role. Keaton was originally cast footage was shot for ten days. Director Woody Allen decided it wasn't working feeling, that Keaton, despite a good performance so far, was miscast being too contemporary for the part and was not fitting well into this period movie. Keaton had taken sizable salary cut to do a film with Allen. Apparently, Keaton was to appear in another later Allen film to make-up for this disappointment, but to date [June 2013], this has yet to occur.

Jeff Daniels opened a playhouse in his hometown of Chelsea, Michigan called "The Purple Rose."

According to the Cannes Film Festival website, Woody Allen said of this film when it played there in 1985: "The seduction of fantasy, as opposed to the pain of real life, is a theme that has appeared in my work time and time again. This was something I never realized. It was pointed out to me by critics and friends over a period of years. The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) is apparently my latest expression of this idea. (Some others were Play It Again, Sam (1972), Zelig (1983), Stardust Memories (1980) and my short story "The Kugelmass Episode"). I think this time I really did this subject the most entertainingly that I ever have and if you agree, I will not bother you with this theme again. Thank you".