Runaway Bride (film)

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Runaway Bride
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGarry Marshall
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byBruce Green
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed by
Release date
  • July 30, 1999 (1999-07-30) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million
Box office$309.5 million

Runaway Bride is a 1999 American screwball romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall, and starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The screenplay, written by Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, is about a reporter (Gere) who undertakes to write a story about a woman (Roberts) who has left a string of fiancés at the altar.

It is the second film to co-star Gere and Roberts, following Pretty Woman (1990). It received generally negative reviews from critics but was a commercial success, grossing $309 million worldwide.


Maggie Carpenter is a spirited, attractive young woman who has had a number of unsuccessful relationships. She has left a trio of fiancés at the altar on their wedding day, earning local notoriety and the nickname "The Runaway Bride”.

Misanthropic New York columnist Ike Graham writes an unflattering article about Maggie after hearing her story from a man in a bar. Unbeknownst to Ike, the man is one of her bitter ex-fiancés, and the account is riddled with errors. After Maggie sends a scathing rebuttal to the newspaper, Ike is fired for not verifying the facts. Later, his boss offers him a chance to restore his reputation by writing an in-depth, truthful article about Maggie, if only to prove that she is indeed the heartless "man-eater" he claimed her to be.

Ike travels to Hale, Maryland, where Maggie works at her family's hardware store and makes designer lamps out of spare industrial parts. She is now on her fourth attempt to be married; the groom-to-be, Bob Kelly, is a high school football coach who constantly speaks in sports analogies and has been working with Maggie to help her “visualize” the wedding. Ike follows Maggie around town and speaks with her friends, family, and former fiancés, all of whom are happy to share their thoughts. Fed up with his intrusiveness, she offers him the opportunity to spend time with her one-on-one and see for himself that she is not a bad person. During this period, Ike and Maggie grow closer, each using the other’s feedback to make improvements in their personal lives.

As Ike researches Maggie's history, he discovers that she adopts the interests of each of her fiancés, noted most prominently by her choice of eggs. At a pre-wedding luau celebration, he defends Maggie from the public mockery she receives at a roast from her family and guests, causing her to leave the room in embarrassment. Ike confronts Maggie outside and accuses her of not truly knowing herself; she in turn calls him out for his cynicism, suggesting he uses his column to mock the lives of others because he is too afraid to pursue a meaningful life for himself.

At the wedding rehearsal, Bob walks Maggie down the aisle to help her practice her “visualization” techniques, asking Ike to stand in for him as the groom. When she reaches the altar, Ike and Maggie unexpectedly share a passionate kiss and admit their feelings for each other. Chagrined, Bob punches him in the face and storms out of the church. Afterwards, Ike proposes that since the wedding has already been arranged, he and Maggie should get married, to which Maggie agrees.

On the day of the ceremony, which is heavily attended by the media, Bob advises Ike to maintain eye contact with Maggie to reassure her. While the advice works at first, a camera flash temporarily blinds Ike, breaking Maggie's concentration, and she suddenly gets cold feet and flees. Ike pursues her, but she evades him by jumping onto the back of a passing FedEx truck. Heartbroken, Ike returns to New York.

In the following weeks, Maggie works to discover herself, sampling different egg dishes to determine her true favorite and putting her lamps up for sale in New York City shops. One night, Ike returns to his apartment to find Maggie inside waiting for him. She explains that she ran from her previous weddings because the men did not know who she truly was, in part due to her efforts to conform to their preferences. However, with Ike she ran because even though he truly understood her, she did not understand herself. Maggie symbolically "turns in" her running shoes to Ike, then gets down on one knee and proposes using one of his previous speeches.

The two are married in a private ceremony on a hillside, forgoing the big weddings that Maggie notes she never actually liked. Afterwards, the newlyweds ride away on horseback while their friends and family celebrate.

In a post-credit scene, Maggie and Ike play together in the snow, revealing that their marriage is still going strong.


  • Julia Roberts as Margaret "Maggie" Carpenter, a woman who has run away from three of her former weddings but is hoping not to do so on her fourth attempt to marry.
  • Richard Gere as Homer Eisenhower "Ike" Graham, a New York City news reporter who writes an article about Maggie and later falls in love with her.
  • Joan Cusack as Peggy Flemming, Maggie's best friend and co-worker at beauty salon. She is married to Corey Flemming, the town's radio announcer.
  • Héctor Elizondo as Fisher, Ike's boss who has since married Ike's former wife Ellie.
  • Rita Wilson as Ellie Graham, Ike's former wife and editor. She later marries Ike's boss Fisher.
  • Paul Dooley as Walter Carpenter, Maggie's widowed father who owns a hardware store.
  • Christopher Meloni as Bob Kelly, Maggie's current fiancé who coaches high school football.
  • Yul Vazquez as "Dead Head" Gill Chavez, the first groom Maggie leaves at the altar. He is a musician and car mechanic.
  • Donal Logue as Father Brian Norris, the second groom Maggie leaves at the altar. He later became a priest.
  • Reg Rogers as George "Bug Guy" Swilling, the third groom Maggie leaves at the altar.
  • Jane Morris as Mrs. Pressman
  • Lisa Roberts Gillan as Elaine, Ellie's secretary from Manhattan.
  • Kathleen Marshall as Cousin Cindy, Maggie's cousin who isn't married.
  • Jean Schertler as Grandma Julia Carpenter, Maggie's grandmother and Walter's mother. She is an avid runner.
  • Sela Ward as pretty woman in bar.
  • Garry Marshall (uncredited) as softball first baseman
  • Laurie Metcalf (uncredited) as Betty Trout
  • Larry Miller (uncredited) as Kevin, New York bartender
  • Emily Eby (uncredited) as reporter
  • Linda Larkin as Gill's girlfriend


The film was in development for over a decade. Actors attached at various times: Anjelica Huston, Mary Steenburgen, Lorraine Bracco, Geena Davis, Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, Ellen DeGeneres, Téa Leoni (for the role of Maggie); Christopher Walken, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas (for the role of Ike) and Ben Affleck (for the role of Bob). Director Michael Hoffman was attached. The film used a number of callbacks to Roberts's and Gere's prior work, Pretty Woman. These references included the reframing of the store scene where she was blocked from buying the clothes. Writers Elaine May and Leslie Dixon did unused rewrites.[1]

Much of the film production took place in and around historic Berlin, Maryland, which was made over to become the fictitious town of Hale, Maryland. Main Street in Berlin as well as some of the landmarks such as the Atlantic Hotel were left nearly as-is during production, while some of the business names on Main Street were changed.[citation needed]

Coco Lee performed the theme song, "Before I Fall in Love."[citation needed]


Box office[edit]

The film premiered on July 30, 1999 with $12 million on its opening day.[2] In its opening weekend, the film peaked at #1 with $35.1 million.[3][4]

By the end of its run, the film had grossed $152.3 million in the United States and Canada, and an international gross of $157.2 million, altogether making $309.5 million worldwide.[5]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 46% of 87 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's consensus reads: "Cliché story with lack of chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts."[6] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 39 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.[7]

The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Runaway Bride's Josann McGibbon & Sara Parriott script is so muddled and contrived, raising issues only to ignore them or throw them away, you wonder why so many people embraced it."[8] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2/4 stars, saying: "After seeing Gere and Roberts play much smarter people (even in romantic comedies), it is painful to see them dumbed down here. The screenplay is so sluggish, they're like Derby winners made to carry extra weight."[9] The New York Times said: "More often, the film is like a ride through a car wash: forward motion, familiar phases in the same old order and a sense of being carried along steadily on a well-used track. It works without exactly showing signs of life."[10]


No.TitleWriter(s)Performing ArtistLength
1."I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"U24:40
2."Ready to Run"Dixie Chicks3:52
3."I Love You"
Martina McBride2:54
4."Maneater"Hall & Oates4:32
5."From My Head to My Heart"Evan and Jaron3:13
6."Blue Eyes Blue"Diane WarrenEric Clapton4:42
7."And That's What Hurts"Hall & Oates4:03
8."Never Saw Blue Like That"Shawn Colvin4:39
9."You Can't Hurry Love"Dixie Chicks3:07
10."You Sang to Me"Marc Anthony5:26
11."You're the Only One for Me"Allure4:04
12."Before I Fall in Love"
  • Dave Deviller
  • Sean Hosein
  • Allan Rich
  • Dorothy Gazeley
CoCo Lee3:44
13."Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)?"Billy Joel1:59
14."It Never Entered My Mind"Miles Davis4:02
Total length:54:57


  • The soundtrack peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 Charts on August 20, 1999.[11]
  • Track information and credits verified from Discogs,[12] AllMusic,[13] and the album's liner notes.[14]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[16] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "'Bride's' Long, Long Path to the Altar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  2. ^ "Witch Chases 'Bride'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Hindes, Andrew (August 2, 1999). "'Runaway' tops record weekend". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  4. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 30-August 1, 1999". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  5. ^ "Runaway Bride (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Runaway Bride". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 25, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ "Runaway Bride". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  8. ^ Turan, Kenneth (July 30, 1999). "It Looked Good on Paper". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 19, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 30, 1999). "Runaway Bride". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on August 19, 2023. Retrieved September 25, 2023 – via
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (July 30, 1999). "FILM REVIEW; Pretty Woman Is Back, But Now She's Cautious". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 23, 2023. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Runaway Bride Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  12. ^ "Discogs Credits". Discogs. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  13. ^ "AllMusic Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Runaway Bride (liner notes). Various Artists. Columbia Records. 1999. CK 69923.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  15. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various Artists – Runaway Bride - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Music Canada. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  16. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – Runaway Bride". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 17, 2022.

External links[edit]