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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1987 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - Cher (Actor), Norman Jewison (Director) & John Patrick Shanley (Writer)
Running Time
97:45 minutes
(not "1:63" as stated on the packaging)
Other Extras Booklet 
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (71:21)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Norman Jewison

Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Cher
Nicolas Cage
Vincent Gardenia
Olympia Dukakis
Danny Aiello
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Dick Hyman

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a series of static images behind the initial credits

Plot Synopsis

    Moonstruck is one of my wife's favourite movies. Accordingly, it was de rigueur that I would review it, or risk her wrath. Having said that, I actually quite liked this movie when I saw it a long time ago on video, so my arm was not exactly twisted.

    Loretta Castorini (Cher) is a 37 year old New York Italian widow. I put all of that into the one sentence since every aspect mentioned is critical to her character. She is 37 years old. She was married to a man who got hit by a bus and killed. He wanted to have children right away. She wanted to wait. Now, she regrets waiting, as she can hear her biological clock rapidly ticking away. She comes from a New York Italian family, so that in itself sets up a plethora of cultural mores and expectations.

    Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) is 42 years old and still beholden to his mother. He has proposed marriage to Loretta, and she accepts. However, Johnny must fly to Italy to be by the side of his "dying" mother. When she dies, they will wed. Johnny asks Loretta to contact his younger brother. There is "bad blood" between the brothers ever since an incident 5 years ago. Loretta dutifully contacts Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage), and the sparks soon fly between them.

    This in itself would be sufficient plot for many a comedy, but the plot has been beautifully rounded out here with a number of strong supporting characters. Cosmo Castorini (Vincent Gardenia), Loretta's father, is going through a mid-life crisis, and hence is having an affair. Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis), Loretta's mother, knows her husband is cheating on her, but her pride won't let her show any outward signs of this. She is the stalwart of the family, the bedrock on which all else is layered. If she falters, then the entire family will come crashing down.

    What makes this movie successful is that all of the supporting characters have been fleshed out, and given a frailty and a humanity that deeply involves you in their particular lives. Down at heart, they are all nice people.

    Looking back at this film, there really is only one weak link. Both my wife and I agreed that Nicolas Cage would have played this part much more believably if this movie had been made now, rather than 13 years ago. He seemed just a little unbelievable and wooden in his role. Cher, on the other hand, was totally believable in her role, as was the rest of the supporting cast. Nonetheless, this remains a great, very funny, and heartwarming film that is well worth adding to your collection.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer looks very good indeed, with only minor problems detracting from the image.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was sharp and clear at all times, with more detail resolved within the image than I expected to see given the age of the film. Shadow detail was somewhat limited, with blacks tending to be just that - black. There are a lot of black clothes worn by various actors in this movie, and they all come across as just plain black without any subtle details being resolved. The very best contemporary transfers can resolve this level of black detail. This transfer could not unless the relevant actor was in the foreground and was very brightly lit. There was no low level noise.

    The colours were strongly saturated, to the point of being slightly oversaturated in some indoor scenes. Outdoor scenes, on the other hand, were generally vibrant and colourful. This seems to be a characteristic of movies shot around this time period, and presumably has a lot to do with both the sensibilities of the time and the then-available film stocks.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Trivial aliasing affected some sharp chrome lines, but was not a significant problem. Film artefacts were plentiful at times, with a whole range of artefacts on show; black, white, and even blue marks were readily discernible at times marring the image, but never to the point of being excessively distracting.

    This DVD is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring during Chapter 22, at 71:21. There is a significant pause at this point which is quite noticeable.

    Note that the packaging does not list many of the available subtitle options.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer is satisfactory.

    There are six audio tracks on this DVD, only one of which is mentioned on the packaging. The default is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Also present are German, French, Italian and Spanish soundtrack, in Dolby Digital 2.0. Rounding out the audio tracks available on this DVD is an English Audio Commentary track, in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, with no audio sync problems noted.

    The score by Dick Hyman is suitably Italian-esque and quirky, adding nicely to the overall charm of the movie.

    The surround channels were unevenly and rarely used. Music made its way into the rear surrounds at times. Ambient sound effects rarely made their way into the rear soundfield, with one notable exception; the clapping of the audience at the Met. This was fed to the rear surround speakers, but the effect was quite unnatural-sounding and poorly integrated. There were a number of scenes involving planes flying overhead that could have benefited from some rear surround activity, but this was not forthcoming, with these effects being restricted to the front surround speakers. There was a small drop-out of music in the left front speaker at 1:00 - 1:01.

    The subwoofer had little to do.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There is a limited selection of high-quality extras on this DVD.


Theatrical Trailer

Audio Commentary- Cher (Actor), Norman Jewison (Director) & John Patrick Shanley (Writer)

    This has been clearly recorded at different times and edited together. Norman Jewison sounds like he is the only one actually watching the movie as he comments on it. Having said that, this is actually the best of the "edited together" commentary tracks that I have heard so far, mainly because of the excellent contribution by Norman Jewison. There is a lot of fine information provided, and it is definitely worth a listen.


    This is a reasonably detailed booklet that is definitely worth a read.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this DVD is presented in a Full Frame format. The extras are identical. The Region 4 version, by virtue of its being in the correct widescreen aspect ratio, is the version of choice.


    Moonstruck is a great comedy.

    The video quality is excellent given the source material.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are limited in quantity, but excellent in quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (my bio)
21st May 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Loewe Xemix 5006DD/Toshiba 2109, using RGB/S-Video outputs
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB/S-Video inputs. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer