The Accidental Tourist (film)

The Accidental Tourist

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
Produced by Lawrence Kasdan
Charles Okun
Michael Grillo
Screenplay by Frank Galati
Lawrence Kasdan
Based on The Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler
Music by John Williams
Cinematography John Bailey
Edited by Carol Littleton
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • December 23, 1988 (1988-12-23)
Running time
121 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $32,632,093 (United States)

The Accidental Tourist is a 1988 American drama film starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and Geena Davis. It was directed by Lawrence Kasdan and scored by John Williams. The film's screenplay was adapted by Kasdan and Frank Galati from the novel of the same name by Anne Tyler.

One of the most acclaimed films of 1988, it was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Supporting Actress for Davis, which she won.[1] John Williams was nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Original Score.[1]


Macon Leary (William Hurt) is a Baltimore writer of travel guides for reluctant business travelers, which detail how best to avoid unpleasantness and difficulty.

His marriage to his wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner) is disintegrating in the aftermath of the murder of their twelve-year-old son, Ethan. Sarah eventually leaves Macon, moving out of their house and into an apartment. After he falls down the basement stairs and breaks his leg, Macon returns to his childhood home to stay with his eccentric siblings.

Macon is pursued by Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis), an animal hospital employee and dog trainer with a sickly son. Macon eventually hires Muriel to put his dog through much-needed obedience training. Although Muriel at first seems brash and unsophisticated, Macon finds himself slowly opening up to her and trusting her, and he spends most nights at her house. When Sarah becomes aware of the situation, she decides they should move back together into their old home. Macon leaves Muriel, and he and Sarah set up house once more.

When Macon visits Paris for research, Muriel surprises him by showing up on the same flight and stays in the same Paris hotel, recommended by Macon in one of his travel guides. She suggests that they enjoy themselves as if they are vacationing together. Macon insists he is there strictly for business, and he keeps Muriel at arm's length.

After Macon is bedridden in his room by his back problem, Sarah comes to Paris to care for him and make day-trips to help complete his travel research. After some time, Sarah confronts Macon about his relationship with Muriel, but he refuses to discuss the situation in any depth.

Macon dresses while Sarah still sleeps, then wakes her to tell her that he is going back to Muriel. On the way to the airport, Macon spots Muriel hailing a taxi and tells the driver to stop. Thinking the driver stopped for her, Muriel bends to gather her luggage and catches sight of Macon in the taxi. She smiles, and Macon returns the smile.



Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it four out of four stars.[2]




The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. 1 2 "The Accidental Tourist Awards and Nominations". Fandango. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  2. Roger Ebert (January 6, 1989). "The Accidental Tourist". Chicago Sun Times.
  3. "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  4. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-18.
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