Murphy’s Romance / 1985

 You’ve Got a Friend / Carole King

” I haven’t been to a movie since the Duke died.”
– Murphy (James Garner)


Brother Bruce (I have 4 Brothers – one Sister) was asking about Murphy’s Romance – and though I have it posted as one of MY FAVORITES, I haven’t done anything with it. So I’ll take that as a nudge to get something done.

Murphy’s Romance is questionable as a Western I guess. Well it is in the West – Arizona. And it has James Garner. And cowboy hats and horses. It’s Western feel to be sure. Just not Old West. Nobody gets shot or hung …. or nuthin’.  it’s just a damn good movie. One of the great ‘Feel Good’ movies of all time and one of my ‘guilty pleasures’ that I’ve watched many times. That also makes it a Classic by my definition – Western or not.


James Garner

I’m billing James over Sally because James garnered a Best Actor Nomination (Academy Awards) for his  role as Murphy Jones. He’s just great here.
Trivia says that Marlon Brando and Paul Newman were both considered for Garner’s part. Glad they didn’t get it.

MFW MURPYHY James Garner

But Sally gets top billing on all the posters and such. She’s great also.

Poster Tag: “Just when you think you found the right guy, someone even worse comes along”


Sally Field

Sally Field - 2 Oscars

 Norma Rae 1979 Academy Award for Best Actress
Places in the Heart 1984 Academy Award for Best Actress

MFW MURPYHY James and Sally

The Murphy’s Romance Trailer (below) is a bit Murky.
You’d never guess the movie was also nominated for Best Cinematography.
(Was 1985 really that long ago?)

Production / Wikipedia

Sally Field and director Martin Ritt had to fight Columbia Pictures in order to cast Garner, who was viewed at that point as primarily a television actor despite having enjoyed a flourishing film career in the 1960s (and more recently having co-starred in the box office hit Victor/Victoria opposite Julie Andrews two years earlier).

Columbia didn’t want to make the picture at all, because it had no “sex or violence” in it. But because of the success of Norma Rae (1979), with the same star (Field), director, and screenplay writing team (Harriet Frank, Jr. and Irving Ravetch), and with Field’s new production company (Fogwood Films) producing, Columbia agreed. But, Columbia then wanted Marlon Brando, or someone with “greater box-office allure,” to play the part of Murphy, so Field and Ritt had to insist on Garner.

Filming took place on location in Florence, Arizona and the town’s preserved Main Street appears throughout the movie.



Carole King / Musical Score for Murphy’s Romance

MURPHY ROMANCE Garner, Field, Brian Kerwin, Corey Haim


Corey Haim
1971 – 2010

Corey Haim

8 thoughts on “Murphy’s Romance / 1985”

  1. I guess I never considered it as a western, but I’ll accept it as such. A great film. I’ve never seen a bad movie that had James Garner in. He just lifts the scrips, the other actors to a higher plateau.

  2. I haven’t seen this present-day Western, although I have certainly been aware of it. It was marketed as a romantic comedy starring Sally Fields. I knew it was an Oscar nominated film, but I had no idea it was set in the West or that James Garner played the title character. I will have to check it out. Garner is always good, even if it is not a traditional Western.

    1. Love this movie – plays periodically on TV and I’ve watched it several times. Garner and Sally are great – per usual. Some wouldn’t call it Western, but since I love it, I’ve taken a bit of liberty.

  3. Looking good Jer keep in going – nice to see you’ve included some newer movies like Murphy’s Romance, and Open Range. Where is also a made for TV movie called Broken Trail starring Robert Duval and Thomas Hayden Church that’s not too bad.

    1. Hey Bruce … !!! Good to hear from you. Yeah I did quite a bit on Open Range – but haven’t done a darn thing on Murphy’s Romance – wonderful movie.
      I’ll to check out that Duvall movie – he’s always great in Westerns. Thanks !

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