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Throw Momma from the Train (1987)

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A bitter ex-husband wants his former spouse dead. A put-upon momma's boy wants his mother dead. Who will pull it off?

Director:

Danny DeVito

Writer:

Stu Silver
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny DeVito ... Owen
Billy Crystal ... Larry
Kim Greist ... Beth
Anne Ramsey ... Momma
Kate Mulgrew ... Margaret
Branford Marsalis ... Lester
Rob Reiner ... Joel
Bruce Kirby ... Detective DeBenedetto
Joey DePinto Joey DePinto ... Sargeant
Annie Ross ... Mrs. Hazeltine
Raye Birk ... Pinsky
Oprah Winfrey ... Herself
Olivia Brown ... Ms. Gladstone
Philip Perlman ... Mr. Perlman
Stu Silver Stu Silver ... Ramon
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Storyline

Larry Donner is an author and writing professor who tutors people that want to write books. Larry's life has become a misery when his ex-wife Margaret has published a book he wrote under her name and has gotten rich over it. Owen Lift, one of Larry's students, offers Larry to kill Margaret, and in return Owen, wants Larry to kill his horrible mother. Larry thinks it's a joke, until he learns Owen killed his ex-wife. And Larry has now become the prime suspect. Written by Daniel Williamson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Owen asked his friend, Larry, for a small favor...

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tira a mamá del tren See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,318,878, 13 December 1987

Gross USA:

$57,915,972

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,915,972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Anne Ramsey has 10 minutes screen time total. See more »

Goofs

When Owen sits on the porch (with the door open), his mother sits in her chair in the living room, and Larry lies down on the rug between them. Momma sees Larry on TV and yells "There's a murderer in the house!" at which point the camera turns back to Owen, with Larry notably absent from his place on the rug. The camera then returns to Momma calling the police at which point another cut is made to Larry awakening, lying on the carpet again in his original spot. See more »

Quotes

Momma: Holy shit! What a dream I was having! Louis Armstrong was trying to kill me!
Larry: Mrs. Lift?
Momma: Get away from me, you horse's ass!
[Hits Larry in the crotch with her cane. Larry falls to the floor, groaning]
Larry: [to Owen] She's not a woman... she's the Terminator.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credit for Assistant Sound Editor Robert Martel has a gap in the vertical stroke of the L. See more »

Alternate Versions

When aired on Comedy Central, the following alterations were made:
  • The title of the book Larry announces to the class is now called "100 Girls I'd like to Boing" instead of 'pork'
  • Whenever Larry would call his wife a 'slut' it was changed to 'sleaze'.
  • A scene, right after Larry dismisses class because he has a headache in his eye, that was deleted from the video but is present now is where Owen meets up with Larry in the parking lot and asks why he didn't read the book.
  • A scene where Owen and Larry meet right after Owen calls and asks why Larry didn't like his book. They were talking under a street lamp before they were sitting outside the grocery store.
  • A scene with Larry at the club he said he was at while Margaret's "murder" took place.
  • A scene of Larry and Beth camping out after Larry was talking to Rob Reiner where Beth had a copy of Margaret's book, which Larry took a strong dislike to.
See more »


Soundtracks

LARRY'S SONG
Written by Branford Marsalis
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A writer writes - well, he tries to, anyway
25 March 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Billy Crystal is Larry, a writer who hasn't written and is suspected of murder in "Throw Momma from the Train," costarring Danny Devito and Anne Ramsey. The phrase "black comedy" was invented for this insanity, which is a take-off on Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train." In fact, Owen (Devito) gets the idea of having Larry kill his mother in exchange for Owen killing Larry's ex from watching that famous film. "I saw the movie. Criss-cross," Owen tells Larry. Not that Larry knows what he's talking about until it appears it's too late - just like "Strangers." Larry, a writing teacher, claims that his ex-wife, played by Kate Mulgrew, stole his book and put her name on it. She has become a big celebrity, appearing on "Oprah," where she refers to Larry as "a beast." Owen is in Larry's class. He lives with an abusive Neanderthal mother (Ramsey) and has visions of poisoning her, sticking a scissors in her head - you name it. It's not long after seeing "Strangers on a Train" that he's in Honolulu, stalking Larry's wife. While she's leaning over a boat railing trying to get an earring, Owen stands behind her and creeps up...Soon the police are looking for Larry to question him, but he's at Owen's where he's being encouraged to live up to his end of a bargain he had no idea he made. You know, "criss-cross." There are several scenes copied from "Strangers," which are hilarious. I especially loved Larry's confession to the sleeping Mrs. Lift, Owen's mother, similar to when Guy thinks he's talking to Bruno's stepfather.

Crystal and DeVito are complete masters of comic dialogue and timing and will leave you laughing, often out loud. Ramsey is repulsively funny - a totally "out there" performance. Kim Griest and Rob Reiner also have roles - Griest is Crystal's girlfriend, and Reiner has what amounts to a cameo.

The ending is very clever, and the whole film will leave you laughing.


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