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Sleepless in Seattle

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Title: Sleepless in Seattle  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Meg Ryan, 1994 MTV Movie Awards, 1993 in film, Rita Wilson, 51st Golden Globe Awards
Collection: 1990S Romantic Comedy Films, 1993 Films, American Films, American Romantic Comedy Films, Empire State Building in Fiction, English-Language Films, Films About Journalists, Films About Widowhood, Films Directed by Nora Ephron, Films Set in Baltimore, Maryland, Films Set in Maryland, Films Set in New York City, Films Set in Seattle, Washington, Films Set in Washington (State), Films Shot in Chicago, Illinois, Films Shot in New York, Films Shot in Washington (State), Screenplays by Nora Ephron, Tristar Pictures Films
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nora Ephron
Produced by Gary Foster
Screenplay by Nora Ephron
David S. Ward
Jeff Arch
Story by Jeff Arch
Starring Tom Hanks
Meg Ryan
Bill Pullman
Ross Malinger
Rob Reiner
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
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $21,000,000
Box office $227,799,884

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 as Sam Baldwin and Meg Ryan as Annie Reed.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Soundtrack album 3
  • Reception 4
    • Critical response 4.1
    • Awards 4.2
  • Musical adaptation 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Sam Baldwin, a Chicago architect, loses his wife Maggie to cancer. He and his 8-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 his wife's favorite movie, 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 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.[1][2]

Soundtrack album

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 he was given a list of 20 songs he had to put in the film, he quit.[3]

  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



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.[5]

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.[6]

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."[7]


Sleepless in Seattle 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.

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".[8] Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson were announced to be working on the music and lyrics, with Shor discovering Citrin via YouTube.[9] The musical was initially set to release in 2010,[10] with the premiere date later being moved to 2011 and June 2012.[11] In February 2012 Shor announced that the musical would not premiere until the 2012/2013 season and that the show would "undergo a top-to-bottom overhaul" and would have a new creative team.[12][13]

See also


  1. ^ "Great roles actors have turned down". Yahoo Movies. 
  2. ^ Kim Basinger's Big Regret Contact Music
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Sleepless in Seattle Soundtrack (complete album tracklisting)". SoundtrackINFO. 1993-06-15. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  5. ^ "Sleepless in Seattle".  
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Bricusse Withdraws from Sleepless in Seattle Creative Team Playbill
  9. ^ David Shor unveils 'Sleepless' team Variety
  10. ^ 'Sleepless In Seattle' becomes stage musical Digital Spy
  11. ^ ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ Musical to Awaken at Pasadena Playhouse NY Times
  12. ^ 'Sleepless in Seattle’ Musical Delayed NY Times
  13. ^ ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ musical delayed in Calif.

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
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