Now and Then (film)

Now and Then is a 1995 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and starring Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore, and Rita Wilson. The supporting cast features Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, Cloris Leachman, and Bonnie Hunt, among many others. The plot follows four women who recount a pivotal summer they shared together as adolescents in 1970. It is considered a cult classic.

Now and Then
Now and Then (1995 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLesli Linka Glatter
Produced byDemi Moore
Suzanne Todd
Written byI. Marlene King
Music byCliff Eidelman
CinematographyUeli Steiger
Edited byJacqueline Cambas
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • October 20, 1995 (1995-10-20) (United States)
  • June 7, 1996 (1996-06-07) (United Kingdom)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$37.6 million[1]

It was filmed largely in the Country Walk subdivision off Coffee Bluff Road in Savannah, Georgia (called Shelby, Indiana in the movie), using the Gaslight Addition and Old Town Cemetery, highlighting the downtown area. Additional filming was done in Statesboro, Georgia in locations including the Bulloch County Court House (also featured in the film 1969) and the building now housing the Averitt Center for the Arts.

On July 18, 2012, it was announced that ABC Family would develop the film into a television series by I. Marlene King, who wrote the film and adapted Pretty Little Liars,[2][3] but the project did not move past the development stage. Upon release, the film received mainly unfavourable reviews but was a moderate financial success, grossing $37.5 million on a $12 million budget.


Set in modern-day, four childhood friends, anti-social sci-fi author Samantha "Sam" Albertson (Demi Moore), glitz and glamour-loving actress Tina "Teeny" Tercell (Melanie Griffith), dry-humored gynecologist Dr. Roberta Martin (Rosie O'Donnell), and content homemaker Chrissy DeWitt (Rita Wilson), reunite in their small Indiana hometown of Shelby, to support Chrissy, heavily pregnant and expected to give birth to her first child any day. Narrated by Sam, the story focuses on the summer of 1970, when the group, lead by her twelve-year-old self (Gaby Hoffmann) sought to earn enough money to purchase a tree house to place in the backyard of Chrissy's parents' home in their affluent suburban neighborhood, called the Gaslight Addition, and how they overcame major personal struggles, Sam in her parents' divorce and her mother's subsequent dating, Teeny (Thora Birch) in her pursuit of stardom and good looks, Roberta (Christina Ricci) in overcoming the death of her mother and the embarrassment she experiences due to her developing breasts, and Chrissy's (Ashleigh Aston Moore) naivety about sex and life in general due to her mother's overprotective nature. Also, the girls, motivated by Sam's interest in the occult, regularly participate in seances.

The story flashes back to 1970 when the girls had two goals: saving enough money to buy a treehouse and avoiding the Wormer brothers. One night, they sneak out to the cemetery to perform a seance. A cracked tombstone convinces them they have resurrected the spirit of a young boy identified only as Dear Johnny, who died in 1945 at the age of 12. Intrigued, they search for information at the library but find nothing.

Later, while heading for the library in a nearby town, the girls spy the Wormer brothers skinny-dipping in the lake. To retaliate for a prank the boys played on them, the girls steal their clothes, tossing them onto the road while riding off. At the library, Roberta discovers an article about her mother being killed in a car accident: she was hit head on, trapped in the car for an hour, and then later died of massive head trauma and internal bleeding- facts previously unknown to her. Samantha finds an obituary that briefly mentions Dear Johnny and his mother tragically dying, but many pages are missing, leaving the cause of their deaths a mystery.

While riding back to their town, the girls encounter a hitchhiking Vietnam veteran. The girls ask him questions about the war and his time there, he is predominantly evasive and tells them their parents aren’t always right- something that Samantha loudly agrees with.

The girls then visit local psychic Wiladene, who determines Dear Johnny was murdered. On their way home, the girls meet up with local neighborhood kids at a pick up game of softball. A local boy insults Roberta who begins fighting him; after the fight is broken up, the boy insults Roberta’s deceased mother and Samantha tackles him to begin fighting again.

Samantha goes home and unexpectedly meets Bud Kent, a man her newly single mother invited to dinner for their first date. Samantha is standoffish to Bud, who accidentally spills wine on his shirt; Samantha’s mother gives Bud one of Samantha's father's old bowling shirts he had left behind. Upset, Sam storms out and flees to Teeny's house where she is on the roof of her house watching Love Story at the next door drive-in theater. They hang out in the treehouse display at the store, where Samantha confesses her parents are getting divorced. Teeny comforts her, then breaks her favorite necklace in two, giving one half to Samantha as a "best friends for life" bracelet.

On their way home during a thunderstorm, Samantha loses her bracelet in a storm drain. When she climbs down to retrieve it, the water rises, trapping her. Crazy Pete, a local old man who only comes out at night to ride his bicycle, pulls her out. He asks them why they’re afraid of him, and after they tell him it’s creepy that he only comes out at night, he says he prefers not to be around people. Grateful for his actions, the girls now see him differently. At the same time, Roberta is playing basketball in her driveway when Scott Wormer suddenly arrives. They briefly play ball, and question why they fight all the time before sharing a kiss. Later, adult Samantha notes that Roberta has stopped taping her breasts after this happened.

The girls consult Samantha's grandmother about Dear Johnny's death. Her grandmother declines to discuss the murders, saying it took her a long time to forget about that tragedy. After her grandmother leaves with friends to play bingo, Samantha and the others climb through a window to get into the attic where Samantha's grandfather had collected and saved old newspapers. They discover from a newspaper article that Johnathan Simms and his mother Beverly Anne Simms were shot and killed when they interrupted a burglary; father and husband Peter Simms came home to find the bodies. Roberta becomes upset and angry that two innocent people were killed and that her mother died violently, contrary to what she was told. Samantha announces that her parents are getting divorced, and the girls make a pact to always be there for one another.

To put Dear Johnny's soul to rest, the girls go to the cemetery to perform another seance. His tombstone suddenly rises surrounded by bright light. A figure appears from behind, but it is only the groundskeeper who chastises the girls for "playing" in the cemetery and explains that the tombstone was damaged and is being replaced and he was the one who cracked it. Realizing they never resurrected Dear Johnny, they agree to stop the seances. While leaving, they notice “Crazy” Pete, and Samantha follows him back to the tombstone. Realizing that he is Dear Johnny's father, Peter Simms, she comforts him, while he advises her not to dwell on things. Some time after, the treehouse is finally bought, and Samantha narrates, "The treehouse was supposed to bring us more independence. But what the summer actually brought was independence from each other."

The film returns to 1991, and Chrissy goes into labor and gives birth to a baby girl. Later, in their old treehouse, Roberta reveals that Crazy Pete died the previous year. They then discuss how happy they are in life and make another pact to visit more often.


Main charactersEdit

  • Samantha Albertson (Gaby Hoffmann/Demi Moore) narrates the film. As a girl, she is considered "weird", and believes in the paranormal and conducts the seances in the cemetery with her friends, who for the most part believe it to be all pretend. From the outside, her home life appears normal with her parents and younger sister, Angela. However, her parents had been having marital issues for some time now, much to the point that it had reached a level of consistency that never seemed to bother her. However, this came to an abrupt change when one night, her father moves out, and within a few weeks she learns her mother is seeing another man. As an adult, she is a popular science-fiction author who has commitment issues. At age 12, she was the most invested in the mystery of Dear Johnny, whose spirit the girls believe they have resurrected from his tombstone. She alone learns the truth behind his death, and receives valuable advice that later helps her come to terms with her current struggles in life.
  • Roberta Martin (Christina Ricci/Rosie O'Donnell) is the proclaimed tomboy of the girls, stemming primarily from her upbringing in a family consisting of her father and three older brothers, her mother having died in a car accident when she was four. As a girl, she tapes her breasts to flatten them, plays sports, and never hesitates to fight a boy. She usually leads the girls in their rivalry with the Wormer brothers, but eventually shares a kiss with Scott Wormer. Afterwards, she no longer tapes her breasts, indicating that she accepts that she is growing into a woman. Her struggle to come to terms with her mother's death is highlighted in the film when she fakes her own death before her friends by pretending to have drowned while they were swimming, as well as in another instance in which Samantha recalls her having jumped off the roof and pretended to have broken her neck earlier that summer. As an adult, she is a doctor (an obstetrician), and lives with her boyfriend. At the end of the film, she delivers Chrissy's baby. Although it is never shown or mentioned who her boyfriend is the film hints that it might be Scott Wormer.
  • Chrissy DeWitt (Ashleigh Aston Moore/Rita Wilson) was raised by an overbearing, fastidious mother (played by Bonnie Hunt) who sheltered her. Her naivete, particularly about all things sexual, is often laughed at by her friends. She is the "good girl," who chastises the others for cussing (as children and adults). Being the most responsible, she closely monitors the "tree house money" they are saving. She always questions the others' schemes, but is fiercely loyal to them. As an adult, she marries the nerdy Morton Williams, and they live in her childhood home and later have a baby girl. The pending birth of her first child brings Samantha and Teeny back to their hometown.
  • Tina "Teeny" Tercell (Thora Birch/Melanie Griffith) lives with her rich country-club parents who are rarely around, which according to Samantha's narration is, "a typical upbringing for actors and pathological liars." She loves glamour, dressing up, and using makeup, and watches the films at the drive-in movie from her rooftop. Among the girls, she is the most interested in sexuality and boys and often flirts. She desires a bigger bust, and has breast implants when she's an adult. She is now a successful actress and has had multiple marriages. The limousine she arrives in is later used to transport Chrissy to the hospital when she goes into labor.


  • Devon Sawa as Scott Wormer, one of the Wormer brothers who bullies the girls but later reforms and shares a kiss with Roberta.
  • Lolita Davidovich as Mrs. Albertson, mother of Samantha and Angela who recently gets a divorce from her husband and gets a new boyfriend, Bud Kent.
  • Rumer Willis as Angela Albertson, (credited as Willa Glen) sister of Samantha who misses her father dearly but takes a quick liking to her mother's new boyfriend, Bud Kent.
  • Cloris Leachman as Grandma Albertson, mother of Mr. Albertson and grandmother of Samantha and Angela. She becomes very upset when her son leaves and worries dearly about her granddaughters. She is an avid poker and bingo player.
  • Hank Azaria as Bud Kent, Mrs. Albertson's boyfriend whom she gets after her husband leaves. Angela takes a quick liking to him but Samantha doesn't. He volunteers to take them to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C..
  • Bonnie Hunt as Mrs. DeWitt, mother of Chrissy who shelters her and uses plants and gardening to explain sex to her and also informs her that all hippies are sex fiends.
  • Janeane Garofalo as Wiladene, diner waitress and spiritual reader and adviser who the girls visit to tell them that they've been contacted by Dear Johnny's spirit to which she tells them that he and his mother, Beverly, were murdered.
  • Walter Sparrow as Crazy Pete, an old man who only comes out at night and scares the girls but they later learn he is nice after he saves Samantha. He is later revealed to be the father of Jonathan Sims and the husband of Beverly-Ann Sims.
  • Bradley Coryell as Clay Wormer, one of the Wormer brothers who bullies the girls.
  • Travis Robertson as Roger Wormer, one of the Wormer brothers who bullies the girls.
  • Justin Humphrey as Eric Wormer, one of the Wormer brothers who bullies the girls.
  • Brendan Fraser as Vietnam veteran (uncredited), a soldier who fought in Vietnam whom the girls meet while riding their bikes and whom Samantha might have developed a crush on. He informs them that although their parents are adults they're not always right.


The film was released on October 20, 1995 and was critically panned. Its plot was considered overly familiar, sitcomlike, and too similar to Stand by Me. Based on reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, it received a 32% approval rating by critics, with an average score of 4.81/10, based on 19 reviews.[4] Despite the critical response, it was acclaimed by audiences and has garnered a large cult following since its release.[5]


Columbia Records released a soundtrack album on October 17, 1995. It was made up of tunes from the 1960s and 1970s.

The following songs appear in the film, but not on the soundtrack:

One of the songs is anachronistic for a story set in the summer of 1970: "Knock Three Times" was released in 1971.

  1. "Sugar, Sugar" – The Archies (2:45)
  2. "Knock Three Times" – Tony Orlando and Dawn (2:54)
  3. "I Want You Back" – The Jackson 5 (2:53)
  4. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" – Stevie Wonder (2:39)
  5. "Band of Gold" – Freda Payne (2:53)
  6. "Daydream Believer" – The Monkees (2:49)
  7. "No Matter What" – Badfinger (2:59)
  8. "Hitchin' a Ride" – Vanity Fare (2:55)
  9. "All Right Now" – Free (5:29)
  10. "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" – Supremes/Temptations (3:06)
  11. "I'll Be There" – The Jackson 5 (3:56)
  12. "Now and Then" – Susanna Hoffs (5:34)

Varèse Sarabande issued an album of Cliff Eidelman's score on October 24, 1995.

  1. "Main Title" (3:05)
  2. "Remembrance" (1:57)
  3. "A Secret Meeting" (2:11)
  4. "On the Swing" (1:26)
  5. "It's My Mom" (2:32)
  6. "Spirits Are Here" (2:17)
  7. "Sam's Dad Leaves" (1:56)
  8. "It's a Girl" (1:48)
  9. "Roberta Fakes Death" (1:26)
  10. "Best Friends for Life" (3:07)
  11. "Pete Saves Sam" (2:29)
  12. "The Pact" (3:10)
  13. "No More Seances" (1:44)
  14. "Rest in Peace Johnny" (4:22)


  1. ^ Now and Then at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "'Now & Then' TV show heading to ABC Family? - Zap2it". 2012-07-18. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  3. ^ Stuart Levine (2012-07-18). "King in early development on 'Now and Then' series: 'Pretty Little Liars' exec producer brings show to ABC Family". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  4. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: Now and Then (1995)". Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "Why Isn't 'Now and Then' a Classic Like 'Stand By Me'?". Decider. 2019-08-06. Retrieved 2020-01-15.

External linksEdit