Mistress (1992 film)

Mistress is a 1992 comedy-drama film starring Robert De Niro, Danny Aiello, Eli Wallach, Robert Wuhl and Martin Landau. The picture was written by Barry Primus and J.F. Lawton and directed by Primus.[2][3]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byBarry Primus
Produced byMeir Teper
Robert De Niro
Written byBarry Primus
J.F. Lawton
Music byGalt MacDermot
CinematographySven Kirsten
Edited bySteven Weisberg
Distributed byRainbow Releasing
Release date
  • July 24, 1992 (1992-07-24)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,102,469[1]


A down-and-out Hollywood screenwriter and director named Marvin Landisman (Robert Wuhl) is working on cheaply made instructional videos when his years-old script is read by Jack Roth (Martin Landau), a desperate has-been producer who offers to help Marvin find investors for his movie.

Men willing to put up the money are found, including the ruthless businessman Evan (Robert De Niro), the disturbed war veteran Carmine (Danny Aiello) and the eccentric millionaire George (Eli Wallach). But each has a mistress he insists be cast in the film in exchange for his financial backing. The women are the highly talented Beverly (Sheryl Lee Ralph), the alcoholic flight attendant Patricia (Jean Smart) and the perky blonde Peggy (Tuesday Knight).

Marvin repeatedly is asked to compromise his standards and change his script to accommodate these backers until the script becomes almost unrecognizable from its original form. The project also puts a strain on the marriage of Marvin and his long-patient wife Rachel (Laurie Metcalf).

Marvin's screenplay is a bleak one about a painter who commits suicide, and was inspired by the case of an actor named Warren (Christopher Walken) who abruptly committed suicide by jumping off a building in the midst of the making of a film Marvin was directing years ago. Roth brings in young Stuart Stratland (Jace Alexander) to adapt the script for the investors' mistresses, but not only does Stuart constantly enrage Marvin with his suggested changes, he falls in love with Peggy and they have an affair.

When Marvin's wife demands he grow up and move with her to New York, where she is opening a restaurant, he breaks up with her instead, giving his loyalty to a film that, as she puts it, nobody wants to see. On the verge of signing contracts, everything falls apart, when Beverly discovers that the role she expected to play has been drastically reduced in Peggy's favor.

Marvin is left alone, a broken man, done with Hollywood for good. Or at least until the next time Jack Roth gets in touch.


Actor/Actress Character
Robert De NiroEvan Wright
Danny AielloCarmine
Robert WuhlMarvin Landisman
Martin LandauJack Roth
Eli WallachGeorge
Sheryl Lee RalphBeverly
Jean SmartPatricia
Tuesday KnightPeggy
Jace AlexanderStuart Stratland



Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film the film a score of 69% based on 16 reviews.


  1. https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mistress.htm
  2. https://www.tvguide.com/movies/mistress/129126/
  3. Dancyger, Ken (2013-06-26). Global Scriptwriting. ISBN 9781136048104.
  4. "Mistress". Reviews. RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
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