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Gypsy (1993 film)

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United States


Biography, Comedy, Drama



Gypsy (1993 film) movie poster

Release date
December 12, 1993 (1993-12-12)

Based on
Gypsy: A Musical Fable by Arthur Laurents

TCA Award for Program of the Year


(Mama Rose), (Herbie), (Louise/Gypsy Lee Rose),
Ed Asner
(Pop), (Tessie Tura), (Mr. Goldstone)

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Gypsy is a 1993 American made-for-television musical comedy-drama film directed by Emile Ardolino. The teleplay by Arthur Laurents is an adaptation of his book of the 1959 stage musical Gypsy, which was based on Gypsy: A Memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee.


Gypsy (1993 film) movie scenes

Gypsy Rose Lee's son, Erik Lee Preminger, was instrumental in getting the film in production and was the main source for research. He had tried to get the musical filmed with Bette Midler, who had always wanted to play Rose, in the principal role 10 years earlier but it required the approval of five entities to obtain the rights. One of the obstacles had been Arthur Laurents himself, who wrote the book for the musical based on Lee's memoirs. He had hated the 1962 film version and was initially opposed to a remake."Not for all the money in the world will we let them make another film version of 'Gypsy'", he said.

Gypsy (1993 film) movie scenes

The film was originally broadcast by CBS on December 12, 1993 and then released in theaters in foreign markets. It has been released on home video multiple times.

Gypsy (1993 film) movie scenes

Director Ardolino died of AIDS one week before the film was broadcast.

Gypsy (1993 film) movie scenes


Determined to make her young, blonde, and beautiful daughter, June, a vaudeville headliner, willful, resourceful, domineering stage mother Rose Hovick will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. She drags June and her shy, awkward, and decidedly less-talented older sister, Louise, around the country in an effort to get them noticed, and with the assistance of agent Herbie Sommers, she manages to secure them bookings on the prestigious Orpheum Circuit.

Years pass, and the girls no longer are young enough to pull off the childlike personae their mother insists they continue to project. June rebels and elopes with Tulsa, one of the dancers who backs the act. Devastated by what she considers an act of betrayal, Rose pours all her energies into making a success of Louise, despite the young woman's obvious lack of singing and dancing skills. Not helping matters is the increasing popularity of sound films, which leads to a decline in the demand for stage entertainment. With bookings scarce, mother and daughter find themselves in Wichita, Kansas, where the owner of a third-rate burlesque house offers Louise a job.

When one of the strippers is arrested for shoplifting, Louise unwillingly becomes her replacement. At first, her voice is shaky and her moves tentative at best, but as audiences respond to her, she begins to gain confidence in herself. She blossoms as an entertainer billed as Gypsy Rose Lee, and eventually reaches a point where she tires of her mother's constant interference in both her life and wildly successful career. Louise confronts Rose and demands she leave her alone. Finally aware she has spent her life enslaved by a desperate need to be noticed, an angry, bitter, and bewildered Rose stumbles onto the empty stage of the deserted theater and experiences a moment of truth that leads to an emotional breakdown followed by a reconciliation with Louise.


  • Bette Midler as Rose Hovick
  • Cynthia Gibb as Louise Hovick
  • Elisabeth Moss as Baby Louise
  • Peter Riegert as Herbie Sommers
  • Jennifer Rae Beck as June Hovick
  • Lacey Chabert as Baby June
  • Edward Asner as Pop
  • Linda Hart as Miss Mazeppa
  • Anna McNeely as Miss Electra
  • Christine Ebersole as Tessie Tura
  • Michael Jeter as Mr. Goldstone
  • Andrea Martin as Miss Cratchitt
  • Jeffrey Broadhurst as Tulsa
  • Tony Shalhoub as Uncle Jocko
  • Keene Curtis as Mr. Kringelien
  • Spencer Liff as Clarence
  • Rachel Sweet as Agnes/Amanda
  • Peter Lockyer as Yonkers
  • Michael Moore as L.A.
  • Patrick Boyd as Kansas
  • Terry Lindholm as Flagstaff
  • Gypsy Rose Lee (archive footage) as herself
  • Musical numbers

    1. "Let Me Entertain You" - Baby June, Baby Louise
    2. "Some People" - Rose
    3. "Small World" - Rose and Herbie
    4. "Baby June and Her Newsboys" - Baby June, Baby Louise, Chorus
    5. "Mr. Goldstone" - Rose, Herbie, Chorus
    6. "Little Lamb" - Louise
    7. "You'll Never Get Away from Me" - Rose, Herbie
    8. "Dainty June and Her Farmboys" - June, Louise, Chorus
    9. "If Momma Was Married" - June, Louise
    10. "All I Need is the Girl" - Tulsa
    11. "Everything's Coming Up Roses" - Rose
    12. "Together, Wherever We Go" - Rose, Herbie, Louise
    13. "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" - Tessie Tura, Miss Mazeppa, Miss Electra
    14. "Small World" (reprise) - Rose
    15. "Let Me Entertain You" - Louise
    16. "Rose's Turn" - Rose


    The film features a score with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and reuses the original orchestrations by Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler. The musical numbers were choreographed by Jerome Robbins, who directed and choreographed the original Broadway production. Bob Mackie designed the costumes.

    Awards and nominations

    Midler won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. Gibb was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and the production was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film.

    The film was nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Midler, and won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction (Michael Rafter).

    Ardolino was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials.

    Home video

    It was released on videotape and laserdisc by RHI Entertainment in 1994 and on DVD by Pioneer Entertainment in 2000 and Lionsgate Home Entertainment in 2005. In recent years, the film has also been released to several digital download and streaming outlets such as Amazon and iTunes. On March 12, 2013, after several years of unavailability, Mill Creek Entertainment reissued the film on DVD in a double-feature set with the 2001 television remake of South Pacific.

    Critical reception

    Jule Styne said, "I'm so excited. I just watched a tape of the movie and I cried. It is the most outstanding singing and acting performance I've seen on the screen within memory."

    Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote, "Ms. Midler the toughest and brassiest Mama Rose ever... Most everything comes up roses here all right."

    Jennifer Stevenson wrote, "Probably the best movie of the television year..."

    Barbara Jaeger wrote, "...Midler deserves both an Emmy and a Grammy."

    "Midler was sensational as Mama Rose in the recent TV version of 'Gypsy'"

    "Midler has the perfect blend of energy and maturity to portray vaudeville's ultimate stage mother. But the guiding force behind the new, sparkling 'Gypsy' comes from the perceptive and reverent direction of Oscar winner Emile Ardolino, who artfully preserves the spirit of a stage play within the confines of television."

    "Bette Midler's star turn in CBS' 'Gypsy' not only brought the TV musical back from the dead, but it also helped the network win another ratings season."

    Nielsen ratings

    The film brought in an 18.6/28 rating/share, ranking 4th out of 90 programs that week, and was watched by 26.2 million viewers


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