1985. Columbia Pictures, Columbia/Tristar Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 107 minutes, Rated PG-13
Release Date: December 25, 1985
Murphys Romance is available at Amazon.com on DVD and VHS.
Movie Synopsis: A divorced single mother and her son make a new start in a small town in the Arizona desert, finding that their hard work and perseverance bring many rewards, including a quite unexpected romance. ~Aimee
Cast: James Garner, Sally Field, Corey Haim, Brian Kerwin, Georgann Johnson, Charles Lane
Director: Martin Ritt
Thoughts on the Movie:
This is such a delightful movie that I could watch it again and again, and enjoy it every bit as much each time. With two lead actors like James Garner and Sally Field, the plot could probably be anything and it would work out, but here we have a story that is simply timeless and completely wonderful, and the two major players certainly make the most of it. Other pluses to note about this film? Music (by Carole King A+), Western Style (A+), Wit and Humor (A+) and location (by God A+++). You get the idea.
There are so many enjoyable moments in the film, and a good many of them come from Garners natural charm. Hes as smooth as silk, as cool as homemade peach ice cream, and as attractive as an Okie-turned-Hollywood-Star is expected to be. And Sally Field is perfect in the role of a strong, but somewhat-ditsy (at times), woman who is doing her best to make it on her own in a distinctively mans world of horses, stables, barns and all-around Cowboy Culture. And isnt it great when she wins at Bingo? This movie is definitely in my top 10 all-time favorite list, and James Garner might actually be my second favorite all-time actor (following No. 1, Paul Newman). Love it, love it, love it! ~Jean
Florence, Arizona (see Map)
The town of Florences preserved Main Street and the surrounding open desert scenery served as major locations for Murphys Romance. The building that was used as Murphys drugstore is actually a Farmers Insurance office. The interiors of the Lunch Counter and Soda Fountain were in the General Store about a block south of the building used as the drugstore. And Sally Fields character did walk along the actual Florence Main Street in an attempt to get her horse boarding flyers in the windows of the local businesses. All scenes filmed in town, were somewhere on Main Street, or nearby.
Right: The building used as the location for Murphys drugstore. You can see that the tree they planted to replace a parking meter during the filming of Murphys Romance is still happily growing in the sidewalk out front.
The current Florence Visitors Center is seen in the photo (below right) behind James Garner and Sally Field. It is an excellent example of the American Victorian style. It opened as a bakery in 1886, and closed in 1930. Over the years it has been used as a grocery store, a hotel, offices, a fraternal organization, and a library.
About Florence, Arizona:
Florence, Arizona (population 23,685; elevation 1,490 feet; 33° 2 32 N, 111° 23 4 W) is located in the south-central part of the state on I-10. Founded in 1866, Florence is one of the oldest towns in Pinal County, and is regarded as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic downtown is a time capsule from the silver boom of the 1880s, when the 28 establishments lining Main Street provided refuge for the miners and cowboys who could quench their thirst, gamble, and enjoy female companionship. Although preservation is ongoing, many buildings are still vacant and in disrepair.
Right: James Garner and Sally Field walk down a street in Florence, Arizona, in a scene from the 1985 movie, Murphys Romance.
Lodging & Dining:
The Inn at Rancho Sonora. 9198 N. Highway 79, Florence, Arizona
Artfully blending the magic of its 1930s origins with all the amenities of the present, the rustically elegant courtyard rooms and secluded casitas, feature luxurious baths, sumptuous linens, and distinctive furnishings. The Inn is located 5 miles south of Florence at milepost 128.
Old Pueblo Restaurant. 505 S. Main Street, Florence, Arizona
The menu includes popular items such as enchiladas, chimichangas, carne asada, rice and beans, and margaritas. For the less-spicy eaters they also have a full menu of American cuisine, featuring items such as hamburgers and grilled chicken.
James Garner was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.
James Garner was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion PictureComedy/Musical.
Sally Field was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion PictureComedy/Musical.
Left: The Florence Visitors Center. The front of this building can be seen in the background of the photo above, behind James Garner and Sally Field.
James Garners character, Murphy, finally admits that he is sixty years old, but the actor was only 57.
It appears that the Spur Theater, which figured prominently in one scene, does not actually exist on Florences Main Street. It must have been a temporary facade installed by the movie company.
Right: James Garner, star of Murphys Romance.
Character Quote: Im a widower. Thats like catnip to a cat, in a town where the ladies outnumber you ten to one. ~Murphy Jones (James Garner)