Film Capsule: Outrageous Fortune

Outrageous Fortune is a 1987 movie written by Leslie Dixon.

It was directed by Arthur Hiller and stars Bette Midler, Shelley Long, Peter Coyote, Robert Prosky, John Schuck, and George Carlin.

Midler received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Leading Role).


Refined actress Lauren Ames (Long) finally has a chance to study with the great theatre professor Stanislav Korzenowski (Prosky). Sandy Brozinsky (Midler), a brash, loud actress, decides through happenstance to also study with Korzenowski. The two women end up dating the same man (who turns out to be a double agent) and follow him across the country to choose between them. The man works for the KGB, and has stolen a toxin that could destroy huge areas of nature with even a few drops. The women chase the man across America, coming across the CIA and other men cheated by the double agent. Finally, when a trade with the CIA for the toxin goes awry, and Lauren gets away with both the money and the toxin, the agent is killed and the money is lost to native Indians. The women form a lasting friendship, and go on to perform Hamlet together


* The term “Outrageous Fortune” comes from the famous soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

:”To be, or not to be: that is the question:

:Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

:The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

:Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

:And by opposing end them?”

* Both Shelley Long and Bette Midler were promised top billing when they signed to do the film. Neither one wanted to give up top billing to the other. So west of the Mississippi River, Long got top billing and Midler got top billing east of the Mississippi.
* Bette Midler was three months pregnant when filming began and six months pregnant when it wrapped.

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