Love Letters (1984 film)

Love Letters
Directed by Amy Holden Jones
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Amy Holden Jones
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis
Bonnie Bartlett
James Keach
Amy Madigan
Music by Ralph Jones
Cinematography Alec Hirschfeld
Edited by Wendy Greene Bricmont
Distributed by New World Pictures
Release dates
  • April 27, 1984 (1984-04-27)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $600,000[1]

Love Letters is a 1984 American romantic drama film starring Jamie Lee Curtis. The film is directed by Amy Holden Jones which Roger Corman agreed to finance following her success with The Slumber Party Massacre (1982).


Anna Winter is a young woman who discovers her mother had an affair with a married man for 15 years, so she starts her own affair with a married man.[2]

Anna works for a San Francisco public radio station. She often must care for her alcoholic father and comply with his many demands. When she finds love letters, revealing her mother's longtime involvement with someone else, Anna develops a romantic notion of the idea as something suitable for herself.

She meets a photographer, Oliver Andrews, who is happily married and a father. Their physical attraction is immediate and they begin a torrid affair, but Oliver cautions her from the start that he has no intention of leaving his family. Anna has no objection, enjoying the sex and intimacy for the time being, until feelings develop and she begins to desire a permanent relationship, intruding on Oliver's privacy in the process, with unhappy consequences for all.



Amy Holden Jones had just made her feature film debut as director with Slumber Party Massacre and wanted to follow it up with something non-horror. She and her husband had written love letters to each other several years previously when living on different coasts; she rediscovered them and wondered what would happen if their daughter came across the love letters. At the same time Jones saw Shoot the Moon about a man who has an affair and thought that while the story of an affair told from the point of view of the unfaithful married man had been done man times, she had never seen the story from the point of view of the girlfriend to the married man. Jones:

I put that together with the love letters and thought it would be interesting if someone came upon the love letters and realized that their parents had had an extramarital affair, if the love letters were not in fact between her mother and father, as ours were, but between the mother and a lover. In other words, what would happen if you were confronted with an understanding of a time period in your parents' life which you never really understand -- none of us have a real idea of what our parents were like in their twenties. How would that affect your life? And I thought it would be interesting if that then thrust her into an affair with a married man, trying to replicate what she saw her mother had. Basically, it was designed to be a movie about what happens to the woman outside of the marriage, who is usually, in fiction, painted as a terrible villain and often is kind of a victim who gets left in the end.[3]

Jones said she was inspired to do flashbacks by the screenplays of Harold Pinter.[3]

Her first choice for the lead was Meg Tilly but her agent was demanding more money than Corman was willing to pay. Jamie Lee Curtis agreed to play the role for only $25,000 despite several nude scenes as it gave her a chance to break away from the horror films she had been mostly making up until that stage of her career.[1] The film was financed by Roger Corman who insisted on the inclusion of some nudity.[4] Jones:

He wants either sex, violence or humor. He actually told me that lovemaking wasn't so much required as nudity. And he didn't mind if she could just be lounging around the house nude, but there had to be nudity. He had to have some way to sell the thing. It's actually the one thing that troubles me about it. I find some of the nudity really gratuitous. But it was the price we paid to get it made.[3]


  1. 1 2 Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 226
  2. Love Letters at New York Times
  3. 1 2 3 Amy Holden Jones on "Love Letters" Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts 19 February, 2009 accessed 10 November 2013
  4. Chris Nashawaty, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses - Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Abrams, 2013 p 190
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