Summer Lovers

Summer Lovers

Summer Lovers theatrical poster
Directed by Randal Kleiser
Produced by Joel Dean (executive)
Mike Moder
Written by Randal Kleiser
Starring Peter Gallagher
Daryl Hannah
Valerie Quennessen
Music by Basil Poledouris
Cinematography Timothy Galfas
Edited by Robert Gordon
Research Corporation
Distributed by Filmways (Rank Film Distributors Ltd.)
Release dates
  • July 16, 1982 (1982-07-16)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5,000,000
Box office $4,968,000 (USA)[1]

Summer Lovers is a 1982 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Randal Kleiser, starring Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah and Valerie Quennessen. It was filmed on location on the island of Santorini, Greece. The original music score is composed by Basil Poledouris. Summer Lovers featured "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", a No. 1 hit for Chicago and "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters.


Michael Pappas (Peter Gallagher) and Cathy Featherstone (Daryl Hannah), a young couple from Chicago who have just graduated from college in the United States, have known each other about 10 years and have been together about half that time. They vacation for the summer on the Greek island of Santorini. When they visit a nude beach crowded with other young tourists, they are hesitant at first but find themselves getting caught up in the uninhibited energy and decadence that surrounds them.

Cathy reads a book of sexual techniques, then ties Michael to the bed and drips candle wax on his chest. She comments that everyone thinks she's "such a Goody Two-Shoes" but she wants a little more adventure.

Michael, who says he has never been with another woman, keeps noticing Lina Broussard (Valerie Quennessen), a French archaeologist on temporary assignment at the nearby Akrotiri excavation. One day, at the beach without Cathy, he gets his chance to talk to Lina and ends up starting an affair with her. He then feels so guilty that Cathy immediately notices something is wrong, and he admits what he has done, insisting that he still loves Cathy.

Cathy is naturally disturbed by this, but tells him to get it out of his system, which he takes as permission to return to Lina. Cathy then goes to a local bar intending to sleep with another man as a way to get revenge against Michael for cheating on her. But in the end she chickens out after getting picked up by an amorous local boy. When Michael comes home later after seeing Lina again, Cathy says she wants out of the relationship.

Cathy goes to Lina's home to confront her. Lina assures Cathy that she does not intend to take Michael away from her, which seems to calm Cathy somewhat. Lina and Cathy end up spending several hours together getting acquainted, and find themselves fascinated by each other's work — Lina's archeology and Cathy's photography.

Michael is confused when he learns that the two women are developing a friendship, but he quickly recovers and the three of them spend a few days gradually getting closer. Cathy knows Michael is still sleeping with Lina from time to time, but seems to accept it, although she says it would be difficult for her to see them in bed together. Nevertheless, she tolerates increasing signs of affection between Michael and Lina in her presence.

In a very tense scene one evening, Cathy encourages Michael to kiss Lina. He gives Lina a light peck, but Cathy says it isn't convincing. He gradually turns up the heat while watching Cathy intently for her reaction. He then kisses Cathy, checking to see how this makes Lina feel. The three end up spending the night together. Lina moves in with them, and they continue enjoying the island paradise as a threesome.

Just as the fantasy seems to be a total success, the natural complications of domestic life, like who does the laundry or dishes, come to the foreground. The three work through these problems, but then Cathy's mother (Barbara Rush) appears on a surprise visit, snapping everyone back to reality. Cathy tells her mother she's never been happier in her life. Although Lina claims to be bad at relationships and prefers just "screwing", the three actually seem to be falling in love all around.

Aside from Lina's comment that she prefers just "screwing," the sexually charged plot is underscored by a number of other instances of openly sexual comments and humor. For example, when Cathy's mother comes to visit and is checking into a hotel on the island, the desk clerk asks a woman checking out "how many douches did you have ma'am?". The woman looks at the clerk awkwardly until her friend explains "he means showers."

Finding herself in an intense relationship, and uncertain about her future with them, Lina begins to fear getting hurt when the summer ends and the Americans return home. They tell her it doesn't have to end, but don't go into any details. To avoid getting too close to her new friends, Lina disappears with another young man, Jan Tolin (Hans van Tongeren), she met at the beach.

Cathy and Michael are distraught, and spend several days searching for Lina. Eventually they conclude they won't find her as long as she wants to remain hidden. But their memories of Lina loom over everything they try to do, and they can no longer enjoy their time on the island. They pack up to return home, even though they have three weeks remaining prepaid on their rental.

Lina finds her fears are outweighed by her feelings for the Americans, and returns to reunite with them, only to discover they have already gone. She races to the airport and intercepts them just as they are about to board the aircraft. Overjoyed at seeing her again, Cathy and Michael return to spend the last three weeks of their summer with her.



Summer Lovers with the screenplay by director Randal Kleiser was filmed during August–October 1981 primarily on the Greek island of Santorini. Other scenes were filmed on the islands of Crete, Delos and Mykonos. The villa that the Michael and Cathy characters stayed at was purchased by a couple in 1987 and now exists as a gift shop named "Summer Lovers".[2]

The production secured an unprecedented permission to film at an actual dig, the presumed "lost city of Atlantis" at Akrotiri. In area of the site selected for its light and production values, Quennessen, under the supervision and instructed by a real archaeologist, began work before the cameras, She had hardly set to work when she uncovered several pieces of 3,500-year-old pottery that were turned in and added to the scientific collection.

The film was shot flat (1.85:1), but all home video editions are in 1.33:1 (4:3) pan & scan ratio. Summer Lovers is erroneously listed as a scope (2.35:1) production in Leonard Maltin's movie guide, as well as the IMDb. In fact, the film's original press kit confirms that the film was shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Occasionally on the MGM HD network, the film is shown in 1:85.1 aspect ratio (16:9) in 1080i high definition. The film was available on Blu-ray on August 11, 2015 (limited edition to 3000). There are scenes in the film's trailer that do not appear in the final cut. German TV has shown a wider screen version than the DVD/Blu-ray releases but with reduced vertical picture.

Hans Van Tongeren, an acclaimed Dutch actor, was visiting the area as a tourist when Daryl Hannah spotted him in the crowd. She arranged a meeting with the director and, subsequently, Van Tongeren was added to the cast as Jan. In a scene, actor Christopher Atkins was in a photograph published in a Greek magazine. Atkins had recently starred in The Blue Lagoon (1980) for director Randal Kleiser. Daryl Hannah's character remarks, "I use to dream I was a mermaid." Two years later, Daryl Hannah starred as a mermaid in Splash (1984).

Summer Lovers is the final theatrically-released film of actress Valérie Quennessen, who played a working archaeologist. She retired from acting shortly after and died in a car accident in 1989 at the age of 31.[3]


The soundtrack album from Summer Lovers has numerous songs omitted that were in the film, presumably because of licensing issues. Released on cassette and 33 rpm vinyl, it has never been officially released on CD.[4]

Side 1
Side 2
From the album Penthouse & Pavement (1981)
From the album Chicago 16 (1982)
Songs in the film not included on the soundtrack album were
The latter from the album Controversy (1981)
From the album Coup de Grace (1981)

"Epsaksa Adika Na Vro" by Greek singer Stelios Kazantzidis is also audible in the movie; it does not appear on the soundtrack album, nor is it shown in the movie credits.


Summer Lovers was heavily promoted by MTV when it was released. The theatrical released film contained a lot of omnipresent nudity. The entire lead cast, Daryl Hannah, Peter Gallagher and Valérie Quennessen, are seen regularly throughout the movie fully naked or partially naked, resulting in the film being restricted in some markets. Reviewer Roger Ebert noted that the film's central core was as a "beach film" but that the director's vision was confusing. "His problem, then, is that his insights keep interrupting the sex, and the sex keeps undermining the insights. The result is a movie that doesn't really work as semi-erotic romance, and never quite gets itself together as a character study."[5]


  1. "Business" Summer Lovers." IMDb. Retrieved: October 12, 2015.
  2. "Living in a cave house in Oia Santorini, Greece." Oia Santorini … a notebook about life in Oia, March 12, 2009. Retrieved: October 12, 2015.
  3. "Valérie Quennessen." CNSD. Retrieved: October 12, 2015.
  4. "Summer Lovers." Retrieved: October 12, 2015.
  5. Ebert, Roger. "summer Lovers". Roger, August 4, 1982. Retrieved: October 12, 2015.
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