The Accidental Tourist

January 6th, 1989


The Accidental Tourist

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An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Release Year: 1988

Rating: 6.7/10 (8,767 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis

After the death of his son, Macon Leary, a travel writer, seems to be sleep walking through life. Macon's wife, seems to be having trouble too, and thinks it would be best if the two would just split up. After the break up, Macon meets a strange outgoing woman, who seems to bring him back down to earth. After starting a relationship with the outgoing woman, Macon's wife seems to think that their marriage is still worth a try. Macon is then forced to deal many decisions

Writers: Anne Tyler, Frank Galati

William Hurt - Macon Leary
Kathleen Turner - Sarah Leary
Geena Davis - Muriel Pritchett
Amy Wright - Rose Leary
David Ogden Stiers - Porter Leary
Ed Begley Jr. - Charles Leary
Bill Pullman - Julian
Robert Hy Gorman - Alexander Pritchett (as Robert Gorman)
Bradley Mott - Mr. Loomis
Seth Granger - Ethan Leary
Amanda Houck - Debbie
Caroline Houck - Dorrie
London Nelson - Caroline
Gregory Gouyer - Paris Boy
Bill Lee Brown - Morgue Detective #1 (as W.H. Brown)

Release Date: 6 January 1989

Filming Locations: 324 Hawthorne Road, Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Opening Weekend: $97,578 (USA) (26 December 1988) (3 Screens)

Gross: $32,632,093 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Edward the dog is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Continuity: The shaving cream on Macon's face changes as he talks with Sarah.

Julian: While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put.

User Review

An Underrated Gem

Rating: 10/10

This is a faithful adaption of a brilliant novel. I have seen this movie a dozen times and it gets better with each viewing. It is subtle, yes, and that probably means it is not for everyone. Subtle, however, is not synonymous with boring, as unfortunately many people accustomed to a non-stop barrage of sense-dulling special effects and violence have come to believe. This film is as far from boring as it gets.

What I walked away from this story with is a reaffirmation of a force bigger than ourselves that takes our lives in a new direction -- one that we often consciously choose to reject. Macon Leary, as superbly played by William Hurt, has been sleepwalking through life for years. His profession says it all: he writes books for business travelers who have to visit exotic places but want to feel as if they never left home. Thus, the title, "The Accidental Tourist".

He is separated from his beloved wife, Sarah, played very well by Kathleen Turner. She could no longer live in with the waking death their life had become since the senseless murder of their young son years before. But he still wants nothing more than for her to return and resume that life. Even after a quirky dog-trainer played by Geena Davis (in her well-deserved Oscar-winning performance) enters his life and his heart he believes his future can only be with Sarah.

I don't want to give away the entire story, but I will say that the entire supporting cast, Macon's family (Ed Begley, Jr., Amy Wright, David Ogden Stiers) his editor (Bill Pullman), and a scene-stealing Welsh Corgi contribute richly and completely to the overall power of this story.

Some of the best dialogue I've ever heard on relationships, why they work, and why what we want so dearly to work just doesn't work anymore, is in this film. "Don't be lulled by a false sense of security". This powerful line, is what this film is all about, and it is placed perfectly, as all the memorable lines are. Give it a chance and an open mind because this film is the real deal. In my estimation, "The Accidental Tourist" is American cinema at it's best.


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