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American Dreamer (1984)

JoBeth Williams , Tom Conti , Rick Rosenthal  |  PG |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)

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American Dreamer + Romancing the Stone (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: JoBeth Williams, Tom Conti, Giancarlo Giannini, Coral Browne, James Staley
  • Directors: Rick Rosenthal
  • Writers: Ann Biderman, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf
  • Producers: Barry Krost, Doug Chapin
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKHDO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,559 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Dreamer" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In AMERICAN DREAMER, frustrated housewife and writer Cathy Palmer enters a mystery-writing contest and wins an all-expense-paid trip to Paris. Once there, she is struck by a car and awakens believing that she is Rebecca Ryan, the heroine in a wild spy adventure.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JoBeth Is A Dream June 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
An exuberant wife and mother of two, with a flair for the written word finds adventure in "American Dreamer," a comedy from director Rick Rosenthal. Cathy Palmer (JoBeth Williams) enters a writing contest (two-thousand words written in the style of the famous "Rebecca Ryan" adventure-thriller series) and wins a week-long trip for two to Paris, France, to attend a luncheon to be given in her honor. When her patronizing husband, Kevin (James Staley) refuses to go (too much work at the office), and forbids her to go, as well, she asserts herself, finds a sitter for her two boys and goes anyway. While taking in some of the sights of Paris on her way to the luncheon, she is hit by a car and bashes her head on the pavement. When she awakens in the hospital, she thinks she is Rebecca Ryan, and her real adventures begin in earnest. First, a new wardrobe, charged to the hotel in which "Rebecca" resides. Actually, it's the home of Alan McMann (Tom Conti), son of Margaret McMann (Coral Browne), the author of the "Ryan" series. When Cathy shows up at Alan's as Rebecca, he takes it as a joke being played on him by one of his friends, and goes along with it. And very quickly, he wishes he hadn't; before he knows it, they're up to their necks in intrigue, involving political machinations and heads of state from a number of different countries. Not to worry, though, "Rebecca Ryan" is on the case. It's all a flight of fancy, played with gusto by the delightful JoBeth Williams. Her Cathy is the dutiful wife and mother, not necessarily demure, but cautious; when Rebecca takes over, however, she lets go without restraint. Read more ›
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JoBeth Williams in her greatest movie performance August 15, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
I'm continually amazed and confounded why the critics butchered this film when it was first released. AMERICAN DREAMER stars JoBeth Williams in one of her greatest roles, with fine support from Tom Conti and Coral Browne.

As a faithful wife to her colourless husband (James Staley) and attentive mother to two boys (Huckleberry Fox, C.B. Barnes), Cathy Palmer finds more romance and adventure in her beloved "Rebecca Ryan" novels. Cathy enters a contest where she has to submit a story written in the style of "Rebecca Ryan", and wins the trip to romantic Paris. Her husband forbids her to go, but realising this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Cathy packs her bags and goes alone. While siteseeing, Cathy is mugged and hit by a car, and waking up the hospital becomes convinced that she is indeed Rebecca Ryan, in the middle of one of her famous cases of international espionage.

JoBeth Williams is so wonderful as Cathy/Rebecca and turns in one of her greatest performances. Not to mention her lush wardrobe of designer clothes! Tom Conti plays the bewildered author of the "Rebecca Ryan" novels, caught up in Cathy's fantasy. With Coral Browne and Giancarlo Giannini. If you have yet to see AMERICAN DREAMER, I highly recommend it. This is a classic in my book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's coming out on DVD finally!!!! November 3, 2004
By jaded
Format:VHS Tape
For all of you diehard American Dreamer fans who have waited patiently (and not so patiently)for the movie to be released on DVD...You wish has been granted. I have been writing fox etc. for years (along with many others) to have this movie put on DVD. According to a CBS exective (posing from another site)the movie is being released on DVD sometime in 2005 through paramount studios ( a sister company), not a very precise date but at least confirmation that it will be brought out on DVD. Apparently all the demands have made a difference !

Hope this helps people :o)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Rebecca Ryan in all of us March 2, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Who hasn't fantasized about adventure and intrigue in exotic locations? This movie is a delight--funny, charming, and romantic. I've seen it over and over, and can't get enough. Tom Conti is perfectly cast as the bemused, exasperated, unwilling, and finally entranced hero, but the show really belongs to Jobeth Williams. Her portrayal of a vaguely dissatisfied but still devoted wife who accidentally takes on the persona of a madcap adventuress is priceless. I think I'll watch it again right now!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and light-hearted October 8, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Ignore the professional reviews above; they're not accurate. This is a gentle, witty, charming confection of a movie, well worth watching over and over again. Despite what Gorman and Maltin say, this is not a rip-off of Romancing the Stone, not even close. The relationship at the core of Romancing the Stone is adversarial, founded on deceit and one-upsmanship (just like in every other Michael Douglas movie ;>). In American Dreamer, the relationship between Williams and Conti may start in delusion on her part and exasperation on his, but it evolves into an affectionate collaboration.
JoBeth Williams plays a woman trapped in a marriage to a condescending man who wants a housekeeper, not an equal partner. (A dynamic familiar to many women in the early eighties. :>) She enters a "Rebecca Ryan" writing contest where the first prize is a trip for two to Paris -- and wins. Despite her best efforts to cajole her husband into accompanying her, he persists in belittling her accomplishment. Not only does he refuse to go to Paris with her, he also tries to prevent her from going, too.
Despite his best efforts (and much to his consternation :)), she goes anyway. Through a series of mishaps, she gets amnesia (it is a Hollywood comedy, after all), and wakes up thinking that she actually is Rebecca Ryan, the designer-clad heroine of a series of spy novels, written by Tom Conti's mother (well, his character's mother, but you knew what I meant). She shows up at "Rebecca's" suite at the Hotel Crillion (actually occupied by Conti), and the chase is on...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
I love this film. My son and nephew loved it as teenagers (amazing!) and still do take the time to view it again. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan Seymour
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Favorite
Tom Conti made this one of my most favorite movies ever! I loved the story and the adventurous plot. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Willow Cavenaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden oldie...
I have been waiting for years for this unsung classic to come out on DVD. It is an old favorite of mine that I can now enjoy again without trying to drag out an old VHS machine.
Published 1 month ago by M. McMann
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST!!!!
A classic, and a genera all it's own. Grew up with this movie, and loved it. Now I'm a Mom myself, and still love it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Connie Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars American Dreamer Makes A Splash
This is a comedy with a book character as the heroine -- It is a good movie with lots of optimism and fancy clothes and accidentally stumbling into a love affair and new life. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daurice Cody Shine
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun movie
I saw this movie years ago and loved it. There is one scene that cracks me up every time I watch it even though it is really corny.
Published 2 months ago by Julia Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful feel good movie
OK..... get your glass of wine and bowl of popcorn and snuggle up on the couch for this thoroughly enjoyable movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Manoah
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked the Story.
I liked it but forgot it had some inappropiate parts in that made me feel uncomfortable. Haven't watched it since. But that is for me. Most of the croud would enjoy it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gwen Heslington
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply charming!
Clever, well-acted, funny and sweet. JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti really shine in this fast-paced, utterly engaging romp. Simply a very charming movie!
Published 3 months ago by Michael A. Zas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!!!LOVE!LOVE!LOVE!
Whenever this movie first came out on vhs I think I watched it over and over again. I was going through a divorce and it really made me happy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by rhonda girard
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