Sleepless in Seattle

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Sleepless in Seattle
File:Sleepless in seattle.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nora Ephron
Produced by Gary Foster
Screenplay by
Story by Jeff Arch
Music by Marc Shaiman
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Edited by Robert M. Reitano
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • June 25, 1993 (1993-06-25)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $21 million[2]
Box office $227.8 million[2]

Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 American romantic comedy-drama film directed and co-written by Nora Ephron. Based on a story by Jeff Arch, it stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, alongside a supporting cast featuring Bill Pullman, Ross Malinger, Rob Reiner, Rosie O'Donnell, Gaby Hoffmann, Victor Garber, and Hanks' wife Rita Wilson. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $220 million worldwide.[2]


Sam Baldwin, a Chicago architect, loses his wife Maggie to cancer. He and his eight-year-old son Jonah start anew in Seattle, Washington, but Sam continues to grieve.

A year and a half later, on Christmas Eve 1992, Jonah—who wants his father to find a new wife—calls in to a radio talk show. Jonah persuades Sam to go on the air to talk about how much he misses Maggie. Hundreds of women from around the country who hear the program and are touched by the story write to Sam.

One of the listeners is Annie Reed, a Baltimore Sun reporter. She is engaged to amiable, suitable Walter but feels there is something missing from their cordial relationship, feeling no "magic". After watching the film An Affair to Remember, Annie impulsively writes a letter suggesting that Sam meet her on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. She does not intend to mail it, but her friend and editor Becky does it for her and agrees to send Annie to Seattle to "look into doing a story on those radio shows".

Sam begins dating a co-worker, Victoria, whom Jonah dislikes. Jonah, a baseball fan, reads Annie's letter and likes that it mentions the Baltimore Orioles, but he fails to convince his father to go to New York to meet Annie. On the advice of his playmate Jessica, Jonah replies to Annie, agreeing to the New York meeting. While dropping Victoria off at the airport for a flight, Sam sees Annie exiting from her plane and is mesmerized by her, although he has no idea who she is. Annie later secretly watches Sam and Jonah playing on the beach together but mistakes Sam's sister for his girlfriend. He recognizes her from the airport and says "Hello", but Annie can only respond with another "Hello" before fleeing. She decides she is being foolish and goes to New York to meet Walter for Valentine's Day.

With Jessica's help, Jonah flies to New York without Sam's permission and goes to the Empire State Building searching for Annie. Jonah goes to the observation deck and asks every unattached woman if she is Annie. Sam, distraught, follows Jonah and finds him on the observation deck. Meanwhile, Annie sees the skyscraper from the Rainbow Room where she is dining with Walter and confesses her doubts to him. They amicably end their engagement. She rushes to the Empire State Building but is told that the observation deck is closed. Annie begs the guard to let her go to the observation deck, using a phrase from An Affair to Remember which the guard recognizes. Citing it as one of his wife's favorite movies, he lets her go up. She arrives at the top just moments after the doors to the down elevator close with Sam and Jonah inside.

In spite of the observation deck being deserted, Annie convinces the elevator operator to let her take a quick look around. She discovers a backpack that Jonah has left behind. As she pulls out Jonah's teddy bear from the backpack, Sam and Jonah emerge from the elevator, and the three meet for the first time. Annie asks Jonah if the teddy bear is his, and he says it is. "Are you Annie?" Jonah asks. She nods yes, and Jonah smiles. "You're Annie?" says a stunned and lovestruck Sam. The elevator operator clears his throat. Sam indicates they should go, momentarily making it unclear what his intentions are, until he says "Shall we?", tenderly offering his hand to Annie. "Magic" is implied, because the couple keep holding hands as the three enter the elevator together. When the elevator door closes, the last thing we see is Jonah's beaming smile as he realizes his and Jessica's plan to bring Annie and his father together has worked.


Hanks and Ryan had previously acted together in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) and would later star together in You've Got Mail (1998). Julia Roberts and Kim Basinger were reportedly offered the role of Annie Reed, but both turned it down.[3][4]


Sleepless in Seattle
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released June 15, 1993
Genre Pop
Length 36:22
Label Epic Soundtrax
Producer Marc Shaiman

The film was originally to have been scored by John Barry, but when given a list of twenty songs he had to put in the film, he quit.[5]

  1. "As Time Goes By" by Jimmy Durante – 2:28
  2. "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" by Louis Armstrong – 3:01
  3. "Stardust" by Nat King Cole – 3:15
  4. "Makin' Whoopee" by Dr. John featuring Rickie Lee Jones – 4:09
  5. "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" by Carly Simon – 3:16
  6. "Back in the Saddle Again" by Gene Autry – 2:36
  7. "Bye Bye Blackbird" by Joe Cocker – 3:30
  8. "A Wink and a Smile" by Harry Connick, Jr. – 4:08
  9. "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette – 2:41
  10. "An Affair to Remember" by Marc Shaiman – 2:31
  11. "Make Someone Happy" by Jimmy Durante – 1:52
  12. "When I Fall in Love" by Celine Dion and Clive Griffin – 4:21



Box office

Sleepless in Seattle opened theatrically on June 25, 1993 in 1,579 venues, earning $17,253,733 in its opening weekend, ranking second in the North American box office behind the third weekend of Jurassic Park.[7] At the end of its run, the film grossed $126,680,884 in the United States and Canada, as well as $101,119,000 internationally, for a worldwide total of $227,799,884.[2]

Critical response

The film received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 72% out of 45 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.5/10.[8] On Metacritic, the film has a 72 out of 100 rating, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".[9]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times lauded, "Sleepless in Seattle is as ephemeral as a talk show, as contrived as the late show, and yet so warm and gentle I smiled the whole way through." He added:

The actors are well-suited to this material. Tom Hanks keeps a certain detached edge to his character, which keeps him from being simply a fall guy. Meg Ryan, who is one of the most likable actresses around and has a certain ineffable Doris Day innocence, is able to convince us of the magical quality of her sudden love for a radio voice, without letting the device seem like the gimmick it assuredly is.[10]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times similarly called it "a feather-light romantic comedy" and wrote, "It's a stunt, but it's a stunt that works far more effectively than anybody in his right mind has reason to expect. Not since Love Story has there been a movie that so shrewdly and predictably manipulated the emotions for such entertaining effect."[11]


The film received two nominations for awards in the 66th Academy Awards (held in 1994), but did not win either of them. It lost out to The Piano for Best Original Screenplay while the song "A Wink and a Smile" lost out to "Streets of Philadelphia" (from Philadelphia, another Tom Hanks movie) for Best Original Song. The film was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards: one for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy (Tom Hanks) another for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Meg Ryan) and a third for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

The film won four awards at different ceremonies. Ryan won the award for Funniest Actress in a Leading Role at the American Comedy Awards. At the 1994 Young Artist Awards, Malinger won the award for Best Actor Under Ten in a Motion Picture and the film itself won Outstanding Family Motion Picture for Comedy.[citation needed]

Award Category Winner/Nominee Won
66th Academy Awards Best Original Song "A Wink and a Smile" Nominated
Best Screenplay – Original Nora Ephron, David S. Ward and Jeff Arch
48th BAFTA Film Awards Best Score Marc Shaiman Nominated
Best Screenplay Nora Ephron, David S. Ward and Jeff Arch
American Comedy Awards Funniest Actress in a Leading Role Meg Ryan Won
51st Golden Globe Awards Best Film – Musical or Comedy Nominated
Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Tom Hanks
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Meg Ryan
1994 MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Ross Malinger Nominated
Best Female Performance Meg Ryan
Best Movie Song "When I Fall in Love" (Celine Dion and Clive Griffin)
Best On-Screen Duo Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan
Young Artist Awards Best Actor Under Ten in a Motion Picture Ross Malinger Won
Outstanding Family Motion Picture – Comedy

Musical adaptation

In 2009, development began on a musical version of Sleepless in Seattle. David Shor was announced as the musical's producer, with a book being written by Jeff Arch, Shor's longtime partner and original story writer for the motion picture. Leslie Bricusse was initially attached to the project, but withdrew due to "creative differences with the show's producer and director".[12] Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson were announced to be working on the music and lyrics, with Shor discovering Citrin via YouTube.[13] The musical was initially set to release in 2010,[14] with the premiere date later being moved to 2011 and June 2012.[15] In February 2012 Shor announced that the musical would not premiere until the 2012-13 season and that the show would "undergo a top-to-bottom overhaul" and would have a new creative team.[16][17]

See also


  1. "SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. June 17, 1993. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Sleepless in Seattle (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  3. "Great roles actors have turned down". Yahoo Movies. 
  4. Kim Basinger's Big Regret Contact Music
  6. "Sleepless in Seattle Soundtrack (complete album tracklisting)". SoundtrackINFO. 1993-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  7. "Weekend Box Office Results for June 25-27, 1993". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. June 28, 1993. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  8. "Sleepless in Seattle". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  9. "Sleepless in Seattle reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  10. Ebert, Roger (June 25, 1993). "Sleepless in Seattle Movie Review (1993)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  11. Canby, Vincent (June 25, 1993). "Review/Film; When Sam Met Annie, Or When Two Meet Cute". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  12. Bricusse Withdraws from Sleepless in Seattle Creative Team Playbill
  13. David Shor unveils 'Sleepless' team Variety
  14. 'Sleepless In Seattle' becomes stage musical Digital Spy
  15. ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ Musical to Awaken at Pasadena Playhouse NY Times
  16. 'Sleepless in Seattle’ Musical Delayed NY Times
  17. ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ musical delayed in Calif.[dead link]

External links

Preceded by
Black Sunday by Cypress Hill
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 21–27, 1993
Succeeded by
River of Dreams by Billy Joel