14 Things You Might Not Know About Ghost
By garin pirnia | jan 26, 2016.
When Ghost was released over 25 years ago, it was hardly on anyone’s radar, with the exception of critics, who panned it. Somehow this supernatural-romantic-thriller, in which the lead character is an apparition, levitated out of the shadows to not only become the world’s highest-grossing film of 1990, but to win two Oscars. Here are some ghostly facts about a film that explores how even in death, love thrives.
1. WHOOPI GOLDBERG CREDITS HER OSCAR WIN TO PATRICK SWAYZE.
On The View , Goldberg revealed that she only got the role of Oda Mae Brown because Swayze fought for her. The producers resisted casting her, but Swayze told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi was in it, too, and that she was right for the part—even though at that point she and Swayze had never met. “And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” Goldberg said. In her 1991 Oscar speech , she thanked Swayze, calling him “a stand-up guy.”
2. GHOST OUT-GROSSED EVERY MOVIE RELEASED IN 1990.
When a low-budget movie makes an unanticipated large sum of money, it’s considered a “sleeper” hit, which is exactly what happened to Ghost. Produced for a modest $22 million, it ended the year with a worldwide gross of $505,702,588 —that’s a lot of “dittos.” According to Box Office Mojo , Home Alone ranks as the highest-grossing domestic film of 1990, with Ghost a close second. But Home Alone didn’t surpass Ghost ’s hull until February of 1991. Ghost hit another milestone when it spent 19 consecutive weekends in the top five weekend box office, ranking number five on the all-time weekend list.
3. GHOST TURNED DEMI MOORE INTO THE HIGHEST-PAID ACTRESS AT THE TIME.
By the time Ghost was released, Moore was already famous for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night... , but she wasn’t considered a bankable star. After the unexpected $200 million domestic gross of Ghost , she hit box office gold with a trifecta of other huge hits: 1992’s A Few Good Men ($141,340,178), 1993’s Indecent Proposal ($106,614,059), and 1994’s Disclosure ($83,015,089). If you add up all of Demi’s film grosses, it comes out to more than $1 billion . In 1995, she was paid an unprecedented $12.5 million to take her clothes off in Striptease . The film wasn’t a huge hit, and a few years later she traded Hollywood for Idaho.
4. DIRECTOR JERRY ZUCKER SAID HE’D CAST PATRICK SWAYZE “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
In a video that appears on the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin—who won an Oscar for his script—talks about how Zucker was at first against casting Swayze as Sam. “Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse , and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” recalls Rubin. Swayze really wanted the role, and because Zucker appreciated Swayze’s gusto, he let Swayze audition. After Swayze read the end of the script aloud, Zucker changed his mind. “We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”
5. THE MOVIE BREATHED NEW LIFE INTO “UNCHAINED MELODY.”
The Righteous Brothers’s 1965 cover of “Unchained Melody” hit number four on the Billboard charts, but back in 1955 four other versions were also popular. After the Brothers’s 1965 version was used in the movie and featured on the soundtrack, it was re-released. The Brothers decided to re-record the song and then released it as a second single, with both songs concurrently selling well. It was the 1990 version, though, that hit number one on the Billboard U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, surpassing the feat of the 1965 cover. “So I didn’t know what it was going to do to the song, but, boy, when it came out in that movie, that song became a monster,” co-Righteous Brother Bill Medley told Songfacts . “I mean, a monster. I didn’t see that coming, that’s for sure." Medley’s hit song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was featured in another Patrick Swayze movie: Dirty Dancing .
6. THE NOW-INFAMOUS POTTERY WHEEL SCENE HAS BEEN PARODIED MULTIPLE TIMES.
Sam and Molly’s sensual pottery making formed such an indelible impression that for over two decades a score of homages have been filmed. In 1991, Jerry Zucker’s brother David directed The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear , which featured stars Priscilla Presley and Leslie Nielsen reenacting the scene in a comedic matter. A 2010 episode of Community contains a pottery class instructor who admonishes the class with, “I will tolerate no re-creating, whether it’s ironic or sincere, of the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore pottery scene in Ghost . I’ve had to adopt a zero Ghost tolerance policy. If you so much as hum three notes from that Righteous Brothers song, with god as my witness I will come at you with everything I’ve got.” And a 2014 episode of Two and a Half Men , starring Moore’s ex-husband Ashton Kutcher, shows him and Jon Cryer creating lovely pottery together .
7. THE FILM’S SUCCESS MADE ROMANTIC FILMS MORE VIABLE.
Summer tentpoles Die Hard 2 (starring Moore’s then-hubby Bruce Willis), Total Recall , and Dick Tracy failed to claim a slot in the top five year-end box office, but romantic comedy Pretty Woman did. Like Ghost, Pretty Woman was yet another female-loved film that made a lot of money ($178 million domestic). “The success of Ghost and Pretty Woman has revitalized the romantic comedy, a genre that in recent years had become less appealing to Hollywood studios intent on making blockbuster action-adventure films,” read a 1990 article in The New York Times . In Ghost ’s wake, The Bodyguard , Jerry Maguire , and Titanic all became huge hits for the romantic drama genre.
8. IN 2010, JAPAN REMADE THE FILM.
Ghost grossed a healthy $48,449,689 in Japan, so it’s no surprise the Japanese decided to remake the movie, except with a woman being the ghost. The studio that released the original Ghost , Paramount, and a slew of other companies were involved in the film’s production and release . In Japan the film is called Ghost: Mouichido Dakishimetai , which in English roughly translates to “Ghost: In Your Arms Again.”
9. TONY GOLDWYN GOT THE ROLE OF CARL WITH HELP FROM HIS WIFE.
Before he was President Fitz on Scandal , Goldwyn was a struggling actor, and then a film director. When it came time to cast of the role of Sam’s friend and murderer, Carl, Goldwyn got a leg up not because of his pedigree (his grandfather was Samuel Goldwyn ), but because of his wife. “I fought my way into an audition on Ghost ,” Goldwyn told The AV Club . “My wife was the production designer on that movie. At that time, she was much more successful than me and was doing all these big movies, and she kept saying, ‘They haven’t cast that part! You should bug your agents!’ And I kept harassing my agent, who would never return my phone calls, and I managed to get an audition. And, by a fluke, they stumbled on my audition tape and said, ‘That guy was really good.’” Jerry Zucker told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that he was skeptical of Tony. “We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice.”
10. DEMI MOORE THOUGHT THE PLOT WAS “A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.”
At a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of Ghost, Moore told the audience her initial feelings on the film. “It’s a love story, and it’s a guy—a dead guy—trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it’s a love story,” Moore said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.’ It’s either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust.” She went on to talk about what made the film special. “I think the beauty in this film is that none of us knew, and the alchemy that came together with Whoopi and Patrick, and our film editor, Walter Murch, and Adam Greenberg, our DP, it just had a magic.”
11. JERRY ZUCKER SPRUCED THE SCRIPT UP AND GAVE IT SOME LEVITY.
Zucker established himself as a comedy writer-director with Airplane! , so he was an unusual choice to direct a drama. According to the Los Angeles Times , Bruce Joel Rubin was skeptical of Zucker directing his script. “I wanted Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick [to direct the movie],” Rubin said. “When I was told that the guy who made Airplane! was going to direct Ghost , I cried.” Zucker and Rubin “went through 19 drafts of the screenplay together,” and Zucker gave the script more structure. “I felt it needed more twists and turns,” Zucker said. “It needed to keep moving. All those zany comedies have instilled a sense of pace in me. And, yes, I added more humor. Actually, a lot of the work I did was take things in Bruce’s head, which weren’t clear in the script, and help translate that into something a mainstream audience could grasp and digest.”
12. THE SOHO LOFT WHERE MOLLY AND SAM LIVED CAN BE YOURS FOR A COOL $10 MILLION.
Currently on the market is the spacious 4,341-square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, where Sam and Molly got clay all over themselves, and where they said their final goodbyes. The loft was originally listed for $10.5 million but was recently lowered to a more budget-friendly $10 million . It has three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator! Relive the magic … if you can afford the 10 percent down payment, that is.
13. GHOST ALMOST GOT ADAPTED INTO A TV SHOW.
In 2013 it was reported that Paramount TV had tapped writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie. Since then, no info has been released as to whether the pilot actually came to fruition. Honestly, some things are best left in the grave.
14. PATRICK SWAYZE’S SPECTER INFLUENCED HIP-HOP MUSIC.
Because Patrick Swayze’s surname rhymes with “crazy,” there’s been an influx of rappers rhyming the two words together. Marley Marl’s “The Symphony Part II” features the line, “Reach for the pistol and you’re crazy / Try to blast and I’ll be spinnin’ that ass like Patrick Swayze.” Eventually the word “Swayze” became associated with his Ghost character and became slang for “gone” or “leaving”. On 2Pac’s “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)”, Notorious B.I.G. raps: “That’s why I bust back, it don’t faze me / When he drop, take his glock, and I’m Swayze,” and in 2005’s SNL Digital Short “ Lazy Sunday ,” Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell sing, “Throw the snacks into the bag and I’m a ghost like Swayze.”
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10 facts you might not know about Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore
25 June 2021, 14:28
By Tom Eames
1990's Ghost was an instant box office smash and cemented Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore as romcom icons.
From its infamous pottery scene, to making the Righteous Brothers cool again, to Whoopi Goldberg 's scene-stealing performance, Ghost remains a fan favourite over 30 years later.
Here are some ghostly facts about the supernatural-romance film that you may not have known before:
Patrick Swayze fought for Whoopi Goldberg to star in Ghost (and it could have been Tina Turner)
Speaking to Variety , Whoopi Goldberg revealed that her late co-star Patrick Swayze advocated for her to land the part of Oda Mae, a fake psychic who actually manages to see Sam (Swayze) and helps him connect with girlfriend Molly (Moore).
Whoopi was part of a longlist of stars fighting it out for the role including Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner.
She said Patrick and the film’s director Jerry Zucker flew to Alabama so that she and Patrick could read lines together.
Whoopi Goldberg winning Best Supporting Actress | 63rd Oscars (1991)
Whoopi explained that she instantly felt a connection with Swayze, saying: “He and I just took to each other."
Read more: Why Patrick Swayze hated 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner' line from Dirty Dancing
The producers weren't sure about casting her, but Patrick told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi did it.
“And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” she said. In her 1991 Oscar speech, she thanked Patrick, calling him “a stand-up guy.”
Patrick Swayze was the 10th choice to play Sam
Wonder how Patrick Swayze was able to secure the role of a lifetime in Ghost? Take a behind-the-scenes look at this clip from the bonus content, available for the first time on DIGITAL HD July 7! Posted by Ghost on Tuesday, June 30, 2015
It's hard to imagine anyone else play Sam in Ghost , but he was most definitely not the first choice.
On the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin revealed how Zucker was against casting Patrick as Sam.
“Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse , and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” said Rubin.
Read more: Vintage footage of Patrick Swayze 'dirty dancing' with his wife Lisa Niemi is sensational
Patrick really wanted to get the role, and Zucker allowed him to audition. After Swayze read the end of the script out loud, Zucker changed his mind.
“We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”
'Unchained Melody' became the best-selling single of 1990
Righteous Brothers | Unchained Melody [From the Movie Ghost]
Thanks to its use in the iconic pottery scene, the Righteous Brothers' classic version of 'Unchained Melody' was re-released in 1990.
Not only did it reach number four in the States, but it topped the UK charts and ended up being that year's best-selling single, outselling the likes of Madonna, Elton John and Sinead O'Connor. Not bad for a song from 1965!
Read more: The Story of... 'Unchained Melody'
“So I didn’t know what it was going to do to the song, but, boy, when it came out in that movie, that song became a monster,” singer Bill Medley told Songfacts .
“I mean, a monster. I didn’t see that coming, that’s for sure."
Medley had previously scored a huge hit with '(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life' from another Patrick Swayze movie, Dirty Dancing .
It was re-made in Japan
Ghost: In Your Arms Again (2010) Trailer - English Subs
Ghost was a decent hit in Japan, and 20 years it received its own remake.
The 2010 film was titled Ghost: Mouichido Dakishimetai , which roughly translates to 'Ghost: In Your Arms Again'.
Tony Goldwyn's wife landed him the part of Carl
At the time, Tony Goldwyn - grandson of Samuel Goldwyn - was a struggling actor and film director.
However, it was his wife who helped land him one of his most famous roles.
“I fought my way into an audition on Ghost ,” Goldwyn told The AV Club . “My wife was the production designer on that movie.
Read more: Pretty Woman: The cute story of how Julia Roberts convinced Richard Gere to take the role
"At that time, she was much more successful than me and was doing all these big movies, and she kept saying, ‘They haven’t cast that part! You should bug your agents!’
"And I kept harassing my agent, who would never return my phone calls, and I managed to get an audition. And, by a fluke, they stumbled on my audition tape and said, ‘That guy was really good.’”
Jerry Zucker also told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that he wasn't sure of Tony: “We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice.”
It spawned a stage musical, and almost a TV show
The film inspired a musical stage version, Ghost: The Musical . The show premiered Manchester in March 2011, before transferring to London. It has since been staged in various tours around the world.
Meanwhile, in 2013, Paramount TV had hired writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie.
Sadly, the TV show appears to have vanished into thin air, but surely it's only a matter of time?
Patrick Swayze had flashbacks of his father's death while filming Ghost
Ghost (2/10) Movie CLIP - After the End (1990) HD
Speaking to People in 1990, Patrick said that filming with the plaster dummy representing his character’s body reminded him of his father’s funeral, when he almost passed out from the shock of touching his father’s body.
“I had pushed that memory out of my life until that moment on location when it all came back, big time,” he said.
“There were a few scenes where something happened to me that was very scary.”
Bruce Willis turned down the chance to star opposite his wife
Bruce Willis called himself a “knucklehead” for saying no to the role of Sam.
He told the New York Times in 1996 that he didn’t think Ghost would work as an idea.
“I just didn’t get it. I said, ‘Hey, the guy’s dead. How are you gonna have a romance?’ Famous last words.”
Demi Moore thought Ghost would flop
Speaking at a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of Ghost, Moore revealed that she had reservations about the film.
“It’s a love story, and it’s a guy—a dead guy—trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it’s a love story,” Moore said.
“And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.’ It’s either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust.”
The actor who played Willie Lopez was a stand-up comedian who died five years after Ghost
Rick Aviles was an American stand-up comic, best known for playing the villainous Willie Lopez in Ghost .
He was reported to have died of heart failure on March 17, 1995, aged 42.
11 years later, a 2006 article in Entertainment Weekly listed him among the celebrities who had contracted HIV and died from complications of AIDS.
Aviles also had roles in Waterworld, The Godfather Part III, and Carlito's Way .
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The thing about ghost stories is that they usually have such limited imaginations. If a spirit were indeed able to exist in two realms at the same time - to occupy the spirit world while still involving itself in our designs here in the material universe - wouldn't it be aghast with glory and wonder? Wouldn't it transcend the pathetic little concerns of daily life? To put it another way: If you could live in the mind of God, would you still be telling your wife she's wearing the T-shirt you spilled the margarita on? "Ghost" is no worse an offender than most ghost movies, I suppose. It assumes that even after death we devote most of our attention to unfinished business here on Earth, and that danger to a loved one is more important to a ghost than the infinity it now inhabits. Such ideas are a comfort to us. We like to picture our dear ones up there on a cloud, eternally "looking down" on us, so devoted that they would rather see what we're cooking for dinner than have a chat with Aristotle or Elvis.
In "Ghost," Patrick Swayze plays an investment counselor who is killed by a mugger one night, but remains on the scene in his spirit form to observe as his lover ( Demi Moore ) weeps and mourns and then attempts to piece her life together. Swayze has an important piece of information he needs to get to her: His death was not an act of random urban violence, but a contract murder. He was about to stumble across a multimillion-dollar scheme to launder drug money, and that's why he was murdered. Now Moore is in danger.
This plot takes place in the world of upscale Manhattan yuppies. Swayze and Moore inhabit a loft apartment so luxurious that he must be making a fortune at his job (or maybe she's doing well with her art pottery business). That's why, after Swayze's death, Moore doesn't believe it when a self-appointed psychic (Whoopi Goodberg) contacts her with messages from beyond the grave. What's amazing is that Goldberg really is able to hear every word Swayze says to her - even though she has no previous record of genuine psychic powers.
That's how we get around to the description of the T-shirt with the margarita stains. Swayze has to feed Goldberg so much personal information that Moore is forced to believe that the communications are genuine. This he does to a fault. One of the irritations of "Ghost" is that the Moore character is such a slow study. Over and over again, Goldberg tells her things only her lover could possibly have known, and over and over again, Moore disbelieves her - she trusts the villain, instead. We are treading here on the edge of the Idiot Plot.
"Ghost" does, however, make a nice mixture of horror and humor, especially in the scenes involving Goldberg and her sisters (Gail Boggs and Armelia McQueen). The film's biggest puzzlement involves the exact status of Swayze's spiritual sojourn in this world.
Is he in heaven's holding pattern? Must he protect his lover before he can ascend that tunnel of light into the sky? What about his ability to interact with the physical world? At first he walks right through everything, but later, after tutelege from his fellow dead, he learns simple parlor tricks - like picking up a penny - and of course by the end of the movie he is able to beat the hell out of the bad guy.
The movie's single best scene - one that does touch the poignancy of the human belief in life after death - comes when Swayze is able to take over Goldberg's body, to use her physical presence as an instrument for caressing the woman that he loves. (In strict logic, this should involve us seeing Goldberg kissing Moore, but of course the movie compromises and shows us Swayze holding her - too bad, because the logical version would actually have been more spiritual and moving.) Then there is the obligatory action climax, necessary in all mass-market entertainments these days, and a particularly ridiculous visitation from the demons of hell.
"Ghost" contains some nice ideas, and occasionally, for whole moments at a time, succeeds in evoking the mysteries that it toys with.
Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.
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30 Timeless Secrets About Ghost That Will Lift Your Spirits
In 1990, a genre-defying romance starring patrick swayze, demi moore and whoopi goldberg took this world (and maybe the next one, too) by storm.
It's easy to forget just how big of a deal Ghost was in 1990.
The genre-defying film—romance? drama? comedy? supernatural thriller? erotic pottery lesson?—floated into theaters 30 years ago, a modestly budgeted summer movie starring almost none of the actors the filmmakers originally envisioned.
And it was a raging success, one that made an Oscar winner out of Whoopi Goldberg , a huge star out of Demi Moore and a legend out of Patrick Swayze .
Not that Swayze wasn't a legend already due to several other perfectly cast roles, but it kept his streak alive.
We could go on, and probably star laughing and crying simultaneously while we're at it, but just as Ghost gets to the heart of the matter early on in its eventful two hours and seven minutes, we're going to jump right into connecting you with the beyond:
1. Ghost marked Jerry Zucker 's first time directing a movie by himself instead of as a member of the ZAZ trio, comprising himself, brother David Zucker and Jim Abrahams . The three are the comedic masterminds behind spoofs like Airplane! , Top Secret! and The Naked Gun , so not only was this Jerry's first solo foray behind the camera, it was a major tonal departure. Though to what, exactly, was unclear.
"It is impossible to categorize the movie [ Ghost ]," Zucker told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. "It doesn't fit into any specific, familiar genre. I think of it as a romance and a drama with comedy and suspense. At its heart, though, the movie is not a comedy."
And he didn't mean to change course from comedy to drama, he said. Rather, "I was just looking for a good film to direct."
2. Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin was appalled at the idea of the director of Airplane! turning the tender story he had drafted into Ghost!
Rubin, whose other films include Jacob's Ladder and My Life (both of which also deal in the supernatural or the possibility of it), envisioned a heavy like Stanley Kubrick or Milos Forman directing his "baby," he admitted to the LA Times . But one he met Zucker, "I fell in love with the guy. He's warm, funny and deeply philosophical. You would never expect that, from his comedies."
3. Rubin's original script was much darker, so humor was added over the course of the 19 drafts that he and Zucker went through—and they obviously settled on the right version. On Oscar night in 1991, Rubin won for Best Original Screenplay, one of Ghost 's two wins out of five nominations, including Best Picture. In actuality it lost the ultimate prize to Dances With Wolves —and to Goodfellas in spirit.
4. Not being easy to pin down, genre-wise, didn't hurt Ghost in the slightest with audiences. It was made for a reported $22 million and took in almost $506 million worldwide to make it the No. 1 movie of 1990—ahead of Home Alone , Pretty Woman , Dances With Wolves and Total Recall .
5. The biggest stars in Hollywood were considered for the role of Sam Wheat, a banker who's murdered after he uncovers a money-laundering plot, just when life couldn't seem sweeter. Tom Cruise , Tom Hanks , Harrison Ford , Bruce Willis , Michael J. Fox and Crocodile Dundee 's Paul Hogan all passed—but that's OK, because Zucker had decided that Kevin Kline , who had just won an Oscar for A Fish Called Wanda , was the guy. They were about to get on a call with Kline, but there was just one more audition to check out...
6. Zucker didn't think Patrick Swayze could handle the role—and going to the theater to watch the Dirty Dancing star in Road House (legendary as that movie may be) only further convinced him that he was right. But when Swayze, who really wanted the part because he felt he was at risk of getting pigeonholed as an action star, read Sam's departing words to Molly during his audition, Zucker realized he had been wrong. (It was casting director Janet Hirshenson who had convinced Zucker to let the actor audition.)
"I needed to do Ghost for my soul," Swayze later said.
7. Oprah Winfrey and Tina Turner were among the stars in the conversation to play Oda Mae Brown, the con artist who is as shocked as anybody to find out she really can communicate with the hereafter.
8. Swayze was the one who asked if Whoopi Goldberg was in the running to play Oda Mae. As Goldberg recalled on ITV's Loose Women in 2017 , the answer was no, no one had called. "And he said, 'no, no, I'm not committing to this until I talk to her and see if she wants to do this movie.'"
She continued, smiling, "A friend of mine had gone to the audition and this is what she said: ' Girl , every Black woman in the world , Black women got outta the grave to come audition for this!'"
So Goldberg called her agent and was politely told she wasn't wanted for the role. But a few weeks later, her agent informed her that "they had hired a guy" who wanted to see if she would do the movie. She didn't find out it was Patrick Swayze until she got there!
And once she told him that of course she wanted to do the movie, Swayze told the filmmakers he wouldn't do it unless Goldberg was in it, too.
9. Demi Moore , however, was everyone's first choice to play Molly, the love of Sam's life whose guard is understandably up when a psychic calls and claims she has an urgent message from her dead boyfriend.
She wasn't quite as sure. Just as actors like Toms Cruise and Hanks didn't necessarily want to play a dead guy, Moore didn't necessarily want to play a person who was sad for almost an entire movie. Ultimately, though, she saw Molly for the strong survivor that she was. "And I thought, 'Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster,'" she recalled at an AFI screening of Ghost in 2013. "It's either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust."
Moore chose wisely. She was paid a reported $350,000 for Ghost , then went on to star in A Few Good Men , Indecent Proposal , Disclosure , The Scarlet Letter , Now and Then and more, all leading up to her record-setting $12.5 million payday for Striptease in 1996.
10. Moore's hair was long when she was cast, so it was a surprise when she showed up with her now-iconic boy cut, courtesy of hairstylist John Sahag . But could you imagine Molly with long hair?
It was "kind of an in-your-face choice," Rubin told Vanity Fair in 2015. "It announced to us that she had her own ideas about who her character was."
11. Ghost started shooting in Manhattan on July 24, 1989. On June 13, 1989, Swayze had trashed his hotel room in London following the premiere of the James Bond movie License to Kill —which he wasn't in, he was just there. In a 1992 interview, the actor would open up about his struggles with drinking and cocaine abuse, and he credited being excited to go work on Ghost as a project that was key to keeping him in line.
"I really think it was a blessing for me that the movie came into my life," he later said, per Wendy Leigh's Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance .
And despite some wild behavior in his private life, people remembered him as a delight on set, with production assistant Winston Quitasol telling Leigh, "He was larger than life, but he was also down-to-earth, friendly, and kind." Charles Bukey, the movie's first company grip, told Leigh, "HE was very prepared, always ready to do his job, and always expected the same of everybody else."
12. Bruce Joel Rubin said that the seed of the idea for Ghost was planted when he was watching a production of Hamlet , and he was inspired by the part where the ghost of Hamlet's murdered father appears and entreats his son to avenge his death.
"That's when I got the idea of making the story about a ghost trying to solve his own murder," Rubin recalls on his website. "I wrote a treatment and showed it to my wife, Blanche. Up to that point, all of my treatments were like outlines for novels. This one was very sparse, very simple. Blanche looked at it and said, 'This is a movie.' That's when I understood how simple movies really are."
And he believes in ghosts.
"I've never seen them. I don't particularly want to. But I believe in that state of being," Rubin told the Washington Post in 1990, after the release of Jacob's Ladder , the second supernatural drama of his to come out that year, about a former soldier played by Tim Robbins who's haunted by visions upon his return from Vietnam.
"To me, a movie that touches those subjects is a movie that touches you," Rubin said. "And I want to make films about that. I want to make films that make you look at life through looking at death. Because then I think you can form a philosophy of life...To me, Jacob is the deeper version of Ghost . It mines the same territory, but it just goes for the jugular."
13. Not discounting his debut acting role as Darren in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives , Ghost marked Tony Goldwyn 's big break on the big screen. And he may have been Hollywood royalty, the grandson of studio mogul Samuel Goldwyn (as in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) and son of prolific producer Sam Goldwyn Jr. , it was Tony's wife, Jane Musk , who encouraged her husband to audition for the role of the villainous Carl Bruner.
"She was the production designer on the movie and she was pushing me to get an audition for it, which was extremely difficult," Goldwyn recalled to Yahoo! Entertainment in 2020. "Somehow I managed to push myself inside the door."
14. Zucker told the LA Times that he didn't believe in ghosts, per se, but "I have no idea what's possible in that realm. But if you are asking if I believe all of us have souls that exist with the physical self, the answer is yes. And I believe the soul does continue on after the body dies."
"I believe that when people die, the spirit flies from them and fragments," Goldberg said in a 1994 interview . "It goes into people who are just coming into being. I believe I got hit with a lot of fragments." Asked if she thought that helped her in Ghost , she replied, "Probably, because it's my belief. I think probably that did help me a lot in Ghost ."
Swayze also expressed belief in a beyond: "I am convinced that people can come back and visit loved ones. Death is a beginning, not an ending," he said, according to Wendy Leigh's Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance .
15. Rubin originally had Oda Mae being a real psychic, but others thought it would be better if she were a fake, so it would have more impact (and be funnier) when her powers turned out to be real.
16. Swayze chewed on ice to make sure his breath never was so warm as to be visible in the air.
17. Demi Moore took some pottery lessons so that Molly's artistry would look authentic—and the piece that she's working on when a shirtless Sam sits down behind her and she gives him an impromptu lesson wasn't supposed to collapse. But it did, so Moore and Swayze improvised—"I hope it wasn't a masterpiece"—and it worked.
18. Swayze rehearsed with his wife, Lisa Niemi , before tackling what turned out to be one of the most iconic clay-spattered love scenes of all time, because he had major jitters. Moore recalled that her leading man's face would turn red every time they even talked about the upcoming scene. It "felt like we were in high school on a first date," she later dished to People . "And here we had to act like we had known each other and were comfortable with each other. We were all arms. His face was so beet red! I would say, 'Please don't let my breast be exposed.' And he would say, 'Okay.' If he noticed my shirt coming up over my rear, he would pull it down.
"We finally just said, 'I'm really nervous and I hate this.' Then it was okay."
But they weren't so awkward as to let body doubles stand in for them, as Zucker originally planned. There was also going to be an actual sex scene, but the pottery-induced dance and makeout session turned out so steamy on its own, the director decided nothing else was needed. Sam and Molly's chemistry wasn't in question.
19. Being as unmistakable as it was, that sexy pottery scene was rife for spoofing—and Jerry Zucker's brother, David Zucker , was all over it when he directed The Naked Gun 2 1/2 , which came out in 1991.
20. The Righteous Brothers — Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield —first recorded "Unchained Melody" in 1965, and while that's the version (featuring only Hatfield singing) that plays when Molly and Sam have their intimate moment at the potter's wheel, Medley and Hatfield re-recorded it together in 1990 for the Ghost soundtrack and were nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. Maurice Jarre 's Oscar-nominated score for Ghost also utilizes the melody.
The song itself was written by Alex North and Hy Zaret for the 1955 prison movie Unchained and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
A few years before Ghost came out, Top Gun breathed new life into the Righteous Brothers' 1964 hit You've Lost That Loving Feeling , forever associating it with Tom Cruise , Anthony Edwards and guys being adorably cocky in a bar. And, coincidentally, Bill Medley played an instrumental (so to speak) role in another legendary Swayze moment—he and Diane Warnes sang the Dirty Dancing theme "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," and they won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.
21. The subway-haunting ghost who helps Sam harness his emotions so that he can make his presence known was played by Vincent Schiavelli , a veteran character actor (and food writer, who authored a couple of books on Sicilian cooking) who died in 2005.
Ryan Seacrest , however, thought Sam's mentor was Jeffrey Tambor .
"We talked about the things you have done and are doing, but to me, you're the scary guy on the subway in Ghost ," Seacrest told the Arrested Development star on Live With Kelly and Ryan in 2017.
"Look, spitting image, right?" Tambor joked as a picture of Schiavelli in Ghost flashed onscreen. "What is wrong with you? I came here to sell a book, not to be insulted."
22. Rick Aviles was a stand-up comedian and actor who, in addition to playing Willie Lopez—the killer Carl hires to actually pull the trigger—was also in Cannonball Run , Greencard , Carlito's Way and Waterworld , which came out after his death in March 1995 at the age of 41 of AIDS-related complications.
In 1990, however, Aviles became one of only a few actors in history to appear in two Best Picture nominees from the same year— Ghost and The Godfather Part III— until eight actors achieved the feat in 2018 (including Michael Stuhlbarg , who was in three: Call Me By Your Name , The Post and Best Picture winner The Shape of Water ).
23. He had some notable roles—in The Last Samurai , as the voice of Disney's Tarzan— but it was hard for Goldwyn to truly shake his "that's the villain from Ghost " persona until he played the morally compromised but still enjoyable president of the United States in Scandal .
"I was shocked and stunned by how much people hated my character," Goldwyn told Yahoo! Entertainment . "I was doing a play in New York when the movie first came out and was a giant hit. I went into a restaurant, but the waitress refused to seat me. I was eventually given a seat, and she took my order in a very rude way.
"Then she was staring at me and, after a few minutes came over to me and said, ‘Are you an actor?' And I said yes, and she said, ‘You're in that movie, aren't you? I knew I hated you, but I couldn't figure out why!'"
24. Zucker and Rubin first wanted a big star to play Carl—and then, after seeing and liking Goldwyn's audition tape, they worried that Goldwyn was just too nice of a guy to pull off Carl, Sam's so-called best friend who has him killed after Sam figures out that someone—he doesn't know who yet—is laundering money at their bank.
The part where Carl hits on a grieving Molly helped turn the audience off. "I guess seducing someone's girl, even when they're dead, is worse than killing them in the first place."
25. The groaning devil shadows that drag Willie and Carl to hell are both scary and kinda hilarious—and they're guys on skates!
"We had dancers in black tights on roller skates choreographing the scene where they drag me back," Goldwn told Yahoo! Entertainment. "When they actually filmed it there was a cable pulling me while I looked like I was wrestling with the dancers. But there was nobody there, so I just did this spasmodic dance. It was effective, but in a rudimentary way if you think about special effects nowadays."
The shadowy figures were made by rotoscoping, in which animators trace over live movement.
"The Rotoscope shadows," mused Chernobyl writer-producer Craig Mazin on a 2014 episode of the podcast Scriptnotes , in which he and co-host John August tackled Ghost . "And I have to say as cheese-ball as the Rotoscope shadows are, it made me kind of yearn for those days because the more realistic you make those things oddly the less threatening they seem to be. I just find that like perfectly rendered CGI shadow demons are just not as scary somehow. I don't—isn't that odd?"
26. Rubin recalled that, after all the writing and rewriting, he and Zucker remained stuck when it came to the film's ending and what hopefully poignant thing Sam should say.
"We were talking about Molly and Sam's loss at the end of the movie—the loss of their relationship—and I said, 'You can't take it with you.' Then right away, I said, 'Wait a minute. You can take it with you. The love inside—you take it with you.' Jerry yelled out, 'That's it! That's it! That's the line!' If I leave any kind of legacy when I die, it might be that line. 'The love inside—you take it with you.'"
27. The quotable "ditto" that Sam—and, in that epic final scene, Molly—substitutes for "I love you" was reportedly something Rubin used to say to a girlfriend in high school.
At the end especially, Moore's tears glisten memorably. Talking to Vanity Fair in 2015 , Rubin tipped his hat to Moore's "depth of emotionality. She can literally produce tears from one eye or the other."
28. To further illustrate how impossible it is to understand what, exactly, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association finds funny, Ghost was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, meaning Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze were both nominated for best actor and actress in the musical/comedy categories.
Not that there aren't laughs in Ghost , but the intentional ones are mainly due to Goldberg—who did win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, though ironically the supporting categories are for both drama and comedy—and here's what Ghost was up against for Best Picture: the romantic comedy Greencard (which won), Pretty Woman (which lost!), Home Alone and Dick Tracy .
Too bad that ceremony was ahead of Ricky Gervais ' time.
29. Goldberg became the first Black woman to win an Oscar since Gone With the Wind star Hattie McDaniel in 1940, at the 12th Academy Awards. They both won Best Supporting Actress.
Halle Berry would become the first Black woman to win Best Actress in 2002, at the 74th Academy Awards, for Monster's Ball .
30. Goldberg and Swayze remained friends for the rest of his life. Six months before he died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 14, 2009, Goldberg said on The View that she was amazed by Swayze's strength, and that stopping was not an option for him.
He managed to tough out a full 12-episode season of his A&E FBI drama The Beast , only missing a day and a half of filming over five months
"He's sick, there's no getting around it, but like all of us, we all know at some point we're gonna die, we don't know when," Goldberg said bluntly. "We're not absolutely sure… But as it turns out, there's no expiration date on his ass. He doesn't know when he's going so he's just going forward. He's gone back into training for The Beast 'cause you know, this show he's running and jumping and rolling and doing all kinds of… it's crazy."
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" Ghost was about living your life for the moment, because that's all you've got," Swayze later reflected, per Wendy Leigh's One Last Dance . "If you don't communicate with the people you love, you set yourself up for the incredible pain if you lose them. The reason I did Ghost was that it gave me a chance to believe that maybe I will get to tell my daddy I love him again."
No one on this earthly plane for sure can say whether that happened or not, but the legacy of Ghost is the lasting lesson that love—for a person, a place, a movie—sticks with us as long as we're around. Wherever we are.
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Things You Forgot Happened In Ghost
Ghost premiered in 1990, starring Patrick Swayze as banker Sam Wheat, who finds himself navigating the afterlife after he's shot to death in a New York City alleyway. Demi Moore , whose short pixie cut quickly became all the rage, plays Sam's girlfriend, Molly Jensen. Molly experiences unspeakable trauma and spends most of the film in mourning. Sounds like a sad movie, right? But Ghost is surprisingly hilarious. Enter Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, a fake psychic who discovers her real powers when Sam finds out that she can hear what he's saying from beyond the grave. Sam and Oda Mae team up to try and get Molly to believe that he's really communicating with her from the land of the dead. Molly wants to believe, but is also being manipulated by Sam's former banking colleague, Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn), the man behind Sam's murder.
Ghost is a memorable movie, especially if you're into romances or '90s cinema. But what most people remember about Ghost is the steamy love scene between Swayze and Moore that happens alongside a pottery wheel, set to The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." If that's all you remember about Ghost , you're seriously missing out. These are the best parts of Ghost you've managed to forget in the decades since its debut.
Sam and Molly are definitely millionaires
Let's face it: Sam is a banker with his own office in New York City. He probably makes loads of money. It's hard to feel bad for millionaires, but at least Sam is a nice guy. In contrast, Molly is an artist, concentrating in pottery. Is she a successful artist, selling elaborate pieces to the wealthy bidders of New York? Or is she a girl with a dream, with Sam supporting her artistic endeavors? We don't really know, especially since Sam's death doesn't spur any questions about how Molly is going to be able to afford anything — especially their lavish apartment.
Sam and Molly's apartment is the most major indicator of the duo's wealth. According to The New York Post , their digs are located at 102 Prince Street, the heart of swank SoHo. The loft is 4,340 square feet, with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. "The full-floor unit comes with a private elevator landing with double-entry doors that lead to a 44-foot-long gallery," the Post writes. In 2015, the place went up for sale for a cool $10 million. These days, the area is home to a swanky Apple store and designer apparel shops like Louis Vuitton and Prada .
Willie Lopez would have been priced out
Sam's murderer, Willie Lopez, lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, an area that's seen a lot of gentrification since the movie's debut. After Sam convinces Oda Mae to help him, they both go to Molly's apartment, where Oda Mae warns her that she's in danger. Oda Mae tells Molly that Sam's killer Willie Lopez lives at 303 Prospect Place, which is basically right down the street form Oda Mae's psychic shop.
Unlike Sam and Molly's loft, 303 Prospect Place doesn't actually exist: The street jumps straight from 299 to 305. But checking out the area in real life, you'd be hard pressed to find the run down, garbage-filled, struggling place in which Willie lives. Prospect Heights might have been rough and tumble back in the 1970s, but as The New York Times reported in 1988, two years before Ghost hit theaters, the area had started changing in a major way. The Brooklyn hipster scene really took over in the late '00s, and these days, Prospect Heights is a quiet area where trees tower over expensive brownstones. Willie and Oda Mae would have been feeling the squeeze at the time of the film's premiere, and would definitely have been pushed out by skyrocketing housing prices in the following years.
The truth about "Unchained Melody"
Sam and Molly's pottery wheel foreplay is probably the most memorable part of Ghost . Indeed, the scene was responsible for 1990's revived appreciation for the 1965 Righteous Brothers hit, "Unchained Melody." But the history behind the lyrics of this song is a little more grim. The song was originally written in 1955 for the movie Unchained. Based on the book Prisoners are People , this film was low-budget and earned minimal acclaim. The titular song actually tells the story of a prisoner in jail longing for the woman he loves, asking if she'll wait for him. The Righteous Brothers recorded their version 10 years later, and between then and 1990, the song was covered a number of times by a variety of artists.
Then came Ghost , and as The Atlantic writes , the song "shed its early associations with the romantic frustrations of prison life," and became a powerhouse ballad. As The New York Time s later reported, "In 1992, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers issued "Unchained Melody" an award for being the year's most-performed song . In 1999, [the same organization] said it was one of the 25 most-performed songs and musical works of the 20th century." That's a long way from a little prison ditty.
Sam and Molly actually take a pretty dangerous walk home
On the night of Sam's murder, he and Molly have tickets to see a production of Shakespeare's Macbeth . After the show, they decide to walk home. But Sam and Molly's stroll back to their swank Prince Street apartment isn't the pleasant walk they planned on. Then again, it's not really clear why they assumed it would be a pleasant walk to begin with. From what it looks like, Sam and Molly walk down Crosby Street. There are few street lights down this road, and the cobblestones make for a precarious trek to take in the dark. They could have easily walked down Broadway, or a more well-lit street, where someone like Willie Lopez couldn't hide. Now, surely they didn't deserve such tragedy because they chose a sketchy walk home. But watching the movie again, you wonder why they walk so achingly slowly down such a dangerous-looking street, and even take pauses to canoodle.
Patrick Swayze's dead body double is seriously creepy
After a struggle for Sam's wallet, Willie Lopez shoots Sam and runs away down the street. What the movie shows is Sam running after him, then returning to the scene of the crime once Willie gets away. There, Sam sees a horrifying sight: His own bleeding, lifeless body lying in Molly's arms. Today, this trick could be handled with some kind of CGI filmmaking that would look seamless and probably not even be that difficult to pull off. But back in 1990, CGI wasn't anywhere near as advanced or omnipresent. So Ghost created a life-size plaster dummy of Patrick Swayze for Demi Moore to hold in Sam's death scene — and boy, is it creepy looking. It totally works, is the thing: It looks like Sam, but with a cold, unnerving stare, and corpses do indeed look unnerving. But there's only so much realism viewers want in a movie like Ghost , you know?
Oda Mae's sisters are pretty funny
Whoopi Goldberg provides Ghost with its much-needed comic relief. Sure, Swayze gets some one-liners in there that are pretty funny, but Goldberg is the humorous heart of the movie. But while praising her comedic genius, viewers often overlook the two women who portray her sisters: Gail Boggs, who plays Louise, and Armelia McQueen, who plays Clara. From their hysterical reaction when Oda Mae realizes she's talking to a white ghost to their preference for Love Connection over Arsenio Hall, the two sisters add an additional layer of comedy that gives Ghost an immense amount of charm. Additionally, they're extremely protective of their sister. When Willie Lopez attacks their home and fires a gun at Oda Mae, the two sisters are right there the whole time, protecting their family with everything they've got. Honestly, they could carry a movie on their own shoulders: They've proven their comedic, dramatic, and action-packed chops.
The ghosts from Hell are actually pretty goofy looking
When Willie Lopez and Carl Bruner die towards the end of Ghost , terrifying demons from Hell (or whatever underworld the film subscribes to) emerge from the shadows and drag them into an afterlife of well-earned torture. You might remember these specters as scary, especially if you first saw the film as a kid. But upon re-watching, you might realize that Ghost could use a bit of a CGI upgrade. These monsters are oddly clunky, and sometimes look like they're smiling, which looks a little more silly than it does creepy. They certainly sound awful though — that particular detail has not grown any less potent with age. As People reported, "The horrible noise they make is actually the noise of a baby crying -– played slow and backwards." Yikes. Okay, maybe they're not so silly after all: Demon baby wailing is about as horrible as it gets.
Whoopi Goldberg encounters some nuns
Two years before Whoopi Goldberg played a singing nun in the beloved Sister Act movies , she had a run-in with a couple of habit-clad sisters in Ghost . After Sam helps Oda Mae drain Carl's money laundering account of $4 million, she struts down the street in a fabulous hot pink suit dress and hat, thinking she's hit the jackpot. But as Sam reminds her, it's blood money — his blood, specifically — and she can't keep it. Thus, Oda Mae reluctantly signs a $4 million check to a charity being promoted on the street by a pair of nuns. The sisters are pretty plainly shocked by the amount, but obviously pleased.
Re-watching Ghost after the huge success of Sister Act in 1992 and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit in 1993, one can't help but see these nuns as a premonition of success in Goldberg's future. Or, at least, as a fun little detail for devoted fans to chuckle over.
It's never really explained why Carl kills Sam
While there are many things that people remember about Ghost and many things that people forget, one thing that no one's ever really figured out is what Carl was up to in the first place. The entire premise of the robbery and murder isn't particularly clear. What we can surmise is this: Carl is involved with drug dealers who are asking him to launder money, though its never really indicated that Carl is using drugs himself. He creates an account to launder the money, though from where the money comes isn't clear. Carl needs Sam's wallet because Sam keeps all of the passwords to all of the accounts that Carl is ... maybe stealing the money from? Either he or his drug dealer boss hires Willie Lopez to steal Sam's apartment key. Of course, we all know the robbery goes wrong and Sam dies. But Carl's plan is never really clear to begin with, and makes for a confusing plot point. Thankfully, Carl's plot takes a backseat to the rest of the movie and the lack of clarity mostly gets ignored by audiences.
Oda Mae and Molly have a pretty sexy encounter
Towards the end of the film, while Molly and Oda Mae are waiting for police to arrive, Sam waits with them. Earlier in the film, both Oda Mae and Sam witnessed the fact that ghosts can use the bodies of the living for a short time. Thus, Oda Mae generously allows Sam to use her body to give Molly a final embrace. There's a moment when Oda Mae's hands, nails painted dark red, reach for Molly's, before the scene cuts to Swayze in Oda Mae's place. "Unchained Melody" plays once again as Sam and Molly hold each other and dance slowly, locked in a loving embrace. Once you realize that it's actually Oda Mae's body that Molly is dancing and touching, however, the scene takes on a completely different tone. It's a tricky balance, placing Swayze in the scene to convey the transcendent truth of the farewell instead of its literal set-up. The scene works, but also changes dramatically depending on what parts the viewer chooses to focus on.
There are tons of people waiting for Sam when he finally crosses over
Many people hope to find their loved ones in the afterlife, happy and awaiting their arrival. When Sam first dies early in the film, a bright white light shines down from the sky, urging him to follow it and leave his body behind. However, he obviously has a little more work to do on the mortal coil. At the end of the film, when Sam has had a chance to finish his task and keep Molly safe, the white light returns. But eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the white light that Sam walks into isn't just an opaque luminescence. There are human-shaped figures waiting for him, who ultimately surround him and embrace him as he enters the afterlife. It's a lovely touch that brings a tear to the eyes of viewers who long to see their loved ones once again.
Ghost was nominated for (and won) Academy Awards
While this detail is something you may not remember about Ghost , it's not from the film itself, but from its reception. Ghost was nominated for a substantial number of Academy Awards , winning two of them. The most notable win was Whoopi Goldberg's, who took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Goldberg also won a Golden Globe that year for the same performance. Ghost won its second Oscar for Best Screenplay Written for the Screen, the trophy going to screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin. Ghost was further nominated for Best Original Score, Best Editing, and in a big surprise, Best Picture. It's not often that films involving elements of fantasy and supernatural fiction get nominated for Best Picture, but Ghost joined the ranks of The Exorcist and Field of Dreams that year with its nod. This group was later expanded by The Sixth Sense and The Shape of Water .
'Ghost' turns 30: How Patrick Swayze's beloved Sam Wheat entered heaven in film's emotional finale
For 30 years, "Ghost" has been a romantic weeper with its emotionally unchained ending.
Patrick Swayze's Sam Wheat, a ghost after his murder, professes eternal love and kisses his tearful lover Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) amid a symphonic swelling of their song "Unchained Melody." He says farewell to psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) before uttering the immortal line, "The love inside, you take it with you" and walking into celestial lights.
Director Jerry Zucker says that for years after "Ghost" became the highest-grossing film of 1990, fans would write letters explaining how the ending helped them deal with the death of a loved one.
Yet this heaven-filled finish took even greater significance when the departed loved one became Swayze, who died at age 57 in 2009 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
"It's that last scene that is, more than anything, comforting to people. And then you're dealing with Patrick's death and it's Patrick going into that white light as Sam," Zucker said ahead of the film's 30th anniversary celebration. The movie will be presented in theaters Oct. 24 and 25 by Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events, and available on a 30th anniversary Blu-ray .
"It's already a spiritual movie and then the most important connection to the spiritual world, Patrick's Sam Wheat, is entering a place filled with love in the end. It feels like there are souls there waiting for him."
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To add to the moving moment, "Dirty Dancing" star Swayze was the kind of relatable superstar who broadcast his feelings. He knew true love, remaining married throughout his superstardom for 34 years to Lisa Niemi, whom he had met when he was 18.
"Patrick had a lot of love and tremendous heart that he wore on his sleeve, which is part of what made him the movie star," Zucker says. "He and Lisa were a great pair, truly in love. That was a good model for the role in his relationship with Demi. They were each other's rocks."
Because Swayze was playing the luminescent spirit, the final "Ghost" scene required that he and Moore shoot their emotional farewell separately, brought together in editing.
"He just kind of kneeled down in front of a green screen," says Zucker, who recalls that Swayze didn't hold back when filming his closed-eyes kiss solo on location in New York. "It seemed very strange to be shooting such an important and emotional scene this way. But Patrick wasn't spooked by that kind of thing, no pun intended. It's amazing how he rose to the occasion."
Moore shot her scenes back on the Los Angeles set and was able to muster impressive tears on command, as she did in other "Ghost" moments.
demi moore GIF on GIFER
"Demi would go off by herself for a few minutes and then she'd give me a little signal that she was ready," Zucker says. "I wouldn't say 'action' to start the scene. I'd tell the camera operator to turn the camera on and the sound guy to roll sound and Demi would step in."
Her tears would come at "at exactly the right time in the scene and they would flow," Zucker says. "She could do this take after take."
Moore shot her kiss in precise position to match Swayze's pucker. Industrial Light & Magic edited the two actors' kiss, with Zucker weighing in.
"I'd say, 'Maybe a little closer – no, further apart' before it was finally, 'Yeah, that's great,'" Zucker says. "And then they'd drag me out of the editor's room."
Wheat's ascension into white-light heaven was actually Swayze walking up a mylar platform toward a green screen, with actors who played the waiting souls shot separately. The scene was transformed with cutting-edge special effects overseen by special effects cinematographer Richard Edlund, using a new "very big machine" called "The Harry," Zucker says. The digital video-compositing system created the brilliant, heavenly destination.
"It's really one of the first uses of CGI," Zucker says. "Because it's this ethereal scene, we could get away with the quality not being that crisp."
But the director believes what makes the scene work, even 30 years later, is Moore and, of course, Swayze.
"It doesn't matter what other nifty shots or special effects I could have had, or if we had today's CGI for that scene," Zucker says. "In the end, it's all about those two people and their journey. I lucked out really, because 'Ghost' had the perfect cast."
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Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy thriller film starring Patrick Swayze , Demi Moore , and Whoopi Goldberg . It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker.
The plot centers on a young woman in jeopardy (Moore) and the ghost of her murdered lover (Swayze), who tries to save her with the help of a reluctant medium (Goldberg).
The film was an outstanding commercial success, grossing over $505 million at the box office on a budget of $21 million, and was the highest-grossing film of 1990. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Score and Best Film Editing. It won the awards for Best Supporting Actress for Goldberg and Best Original Screenplay. Swayze and Moore both received Golden Globe Award nominations for their performances, while Goldberg won the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Saturn Awards in addition to the Oscar.
- 3 Reception
- 4 References
Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze), a banker, and Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), a talented potter, are a loving couple who move into a New York City apartment. At work, Sam discovers a major discrepancy in a couple of bank accounts (too much money) and confides this to his good friend and colleague Carl Bruner ( Tony Goldwyn ). Carl offers to investigate the matter, but Sam decides to investigate himself.
Later that night, an armed thug named Willie Lopez ( Rick Aviles ) attacks Sam and Molly on a desolate street corner. Sam struggles with Willie before Willie fires his gun. The viewer then sees Sam chasing Willie across the street and then returning to Molly, only to realize that he has been shot to death; a distraught Molly weeps over his corpse. He frighteningly realizes that he is a ghost and therefore, living people cannot see nor hear him.
One day, the audience sees Sam glancing at Molly and Carl at his former apartment where Carl urges Molly to take a walk for the sake of her mental health; Molly hesitantly agrees. Sam remains alone at the apartment where he tests his ability to walk through doors. Then Willie suddenly comes in, looking for something. Sam is unable to stop the killer but spooks Molly's cat, Floyd, into scratching Willie and he immediately flees. Sam follows Willie to his place in Brooklyn and realizes that he will return to the apartment when he sees Willie glancing at Molly's driving license. Sam loudly warns Willie to stay away from Molly despite Willie's deafness and blindness to Sam's presence. A bewildered Sam walks through the city when he sees the office of Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg), a local con artist who poses as a medium for people who have lost loved ones. Oda Mae fakes her abilities to a older female client when Sam suddenly criticizes Oda Mae for scamming the client. Oda Mae hears Sam, but she initially dismisses Sam's voice as an illusion before hearing Sam state his name repeatedly. A frightened Oda Mae retreats into her room. When her concerned sisters ask her what is wrong, Oda Mae simply screams "Sam Wheat."
The viewer then sees Oda Mae's sisters tending to her while Sam explains his situation. Oda Mae refuses to help at first because she believes that Molly will not believe her, but Sam forces Oda Mae by singing an annoying song nonstop for many hours. Oda Mae comes to Sam's former apartment to tell Molly that she is in danger, but Molly is disbelieving. Oda Mae manages to establish some credibility by stating facts about Molly that only Sam knew, but Molly still refuses to give Oda Mae credence. After Molly shares this news with a skeptical Carl, he later implies to Molly that Oda Mae is a fraud preying on her grief. However, Carl does agree to investigate the matter himself.
A questioning Molly talks to the police about her concerns but they confirm that Oda Mae is a known confidence trickster with a lengthy record whereas Willie Lopez has none. A motivated Sam follows Carl to Willie's apartment, only to find out that Carl is involved in a money laundering scheme at the bank and that Carl had hired Willie to kill Sam to acquire Sam's security codes, so he can transfer the money from the many accounts to one at another bank. A horrified Sam silently scolds Carl for betraying his friend.
A desperate Sam learns how to move solid objects by willpower from an aggressive New York City Subway Ghost ( Vincent Schiavelli ) he meets in the subway. He persuades Oda Mae to thwart Carl's money laundering scheme. Following his instructions, Oda Mae impersonates the owner of Carl's fake bank account, closes the account, and reluctantly gives its $4 million contents to a homeless shelter. Carl, having promised to transfer the money to a correspondent bank overseas, becomes desperate when he finds the account closed and empty.
Sam taunts Carl in the deserted office by moving objects and making accusations appear on his computer screen, typing "MURDERER," then his name "SAM," which he types repeatedly. An anxious Carl visits Molly and declares to Sam that he will kill Molly unless the money is returned that evening. He and Willie then rush to Oda Mae's apartment to find her. Sam manages to arrive first and warns Oda Mae and her two sisters, who quickly escape and take refuge in a neighbor's apartment. Sam uses his powers to separate and distract Carl and Willie during their attempt to ransack Oda Mae's apartment in search of the money.
Sam then corners Willie and horrifies him by moving objects and writing the word "BOO" on a foggy mirror. A panic-stricken Willie flees from the apartment while Sam continues to knock Willie down repeatedly. The chases leads to Willie intercepting two motorists on a road, who kill him in a traffic accident. Willie's ghost arises and sees his corpse. Sam tells Willie that he is dead before a group of howling Shadow Creatures emerge from shadows of ordinary things, and they all pull a screaming Willie into the shadows, while Sam watches in horror. It is implied they take him to Hell. Afterwards, Sam and Oda Mae return to Molly's apartment to warn her about Carl, but she refuses to let her in and breaks down in grief.
Sam finally convinces her that Oda Mae is genuine and he is truly present as a ghost by having Oda Mae push a penny underneath the front door, which Sam levitates in front of Molly. An astonished Molly lets Ode Mae inside and while they wait for the police, Oda Mae allows Sam to use her body to share a final dance with Molly. Unfortunately for the trio, Carl arrives to murder Molly and Oda Mae, and they flee. Sam is left momentarily weakened, as possession wipes a ghost out.
Carl chases the two women to a storage room, manages to get a hold of Oda Mae, and threatens to kill her, but Molly comes to her aid and holds Carl off long enough for Oda Mae to escape his grasp. Carl then grabs Molly and holds her at gunpoint for the money, but Sam recovers in time to disarm Carl and attack him. As Carl attempts to flee through a plate glass window, he flings a scaffolding hook in Sam's direction which swings back and partially shatters the glass in the upper part of the window; the window slides down and kills Carl before he can climb out.
Carl's ghost arises from his corpse much to his astonishment and to Sam's grief. Sam then watches in silence as the Shadow Creatures arrive and drag a screaming Carl away into the darkness. When Sam goes to Oda Mae and Molly and asks if they are all right, Molly suddenly realizes that she can hear him. A heavenly light fills the room and Sam becomes fully visible to both Molly and Oda Mae.
Sam looks behind him and sees hundreds of people, presumably angels, in a portal to Heaven; he can move on now that he has completed his task. Sam bids an emotional farewell to Molly, thanks Oda Mae for her help, and departs for the afterlife.
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, in one of the most famous scenes from the movie
- Demi Moore as Molly Jenson
- Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown
- Tony Goldwyn as Carl Bruner
- Rick Aviles as Willy Lopez
- Stephen Root as Police Sgt.
- Vincent Schiavelli as subway ghost
- Armelia McQueen as Oda Mae's sister
- Gail Boggs as Oda Mae's sister
Reception [ ]
Ghost has received generally favorable reviews  and has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 44 critics. It has an average rating of 53% on the review site Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews. The film has been criticized for featuring the Magical Negro stereotype with Oda Mae Brown.  However, in spite of this, Goldberg's performance was highly praised. Janet Maslin in her review for The New York Times comments, "Ms. Goldberg plays the character's amazement, irritation and great gift for back talk to the hilt. This is one of those rare occasions on which the uncategorizable Ms. Goldberg has found a film role that really suits her, and she makes the most of it." Even some writers who gave negative reviews of Ghost extended praise to Goldberg's work in the film.  Goldberg went on to win the Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for her performance.
References [ ]
- ↑ " Ghost ". Variety . 1989-12-31. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- ↑ Gabbard, Krin (2004). Black Magic: White Hollywood and African American Culture . New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-8135-3383-X . OCLC 53215708.
- ↑ Podgorski, Daniel (October 15, 2015). "A Ghastly Script: The Mediocrity of Jerry Zucker’s Romantic Classic, Ghost ". The Gemsbok . Retrieved February 20, 2016.
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20 facts you might not know about 'Ghost'
Ghosts are often found in horror movies, but what about a romance movie? Well, you can indeed find them in one of the most successful romance films of all time. That’s “Ghost,” which tells you what it’s all about right in the title. Throw on some Righteous Brothers and read these 20 facts you might not know about “Ghost.”
The screenwriter wanted to flip the script on your typical story of this type
Bruce Joel Rubin was watching “Hamlet” one day when he was struck with an idea. Seeing the ghost of Hamlet’s father ask for revenge for his death, Rubin got the idea of telling a ghost story from the ghost’s perspective. This was the crux of Rubin’s concept.
The director was making an unexpected change in direction
You know movies like “Airplane!” and “Top Secret” and “Naked Gun?” Those joke-a-minute comedies? They came from the team of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker. Jerry and his brother David teamed with Jim Abrahams to create some classic comedy. Jerry, though, for one movie veered off course. He’s the director of “Ghost,” the only non-comedy to his name.
A lot of men were considered for the role of Sam
Patrick Swayze ended up with the role of Sam Wheat, who ends up the titular ghost after he is murdered. However, seemingly every actor in a certain age range was apparently considered for the role. We’re talking Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, and even Paul Hogan. That’s an eclectic group, and it only scratches the surface.
One actor turned the role down
Swayze got the role after at least one actor turned down playing Sam. That was Bruce Willis, who was fresh off breaking out in “Die Hard,” which came out in 1988. Willis has admitted that he didn’t understand the script, and has since referred to himself as a “knucklehead” for his decision.
A lot of women were in the running for Molly as well
It wasn’t just Sam who had a litany of actors on the list of possibilities. Molly Ringwald was considered for Molly, perhaps because of her first name, and other actresses considered included Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, and Julia Roberts. Ultimately, Demi Moore won the role.
Some big names tried out for Oda Mae
What do Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They both auditioned to play Oda Mae Brown, the huckster and hustler turned legitimate spiritual medium. Neither got the role, with Whoopi Goldberg winning it.
One actor is Hollywood royalty
Tony Goldwyn, perhaps best known for his role on “Scandal” these days, plays the loathsome Carl Bruner in “Ghost.” While he is a fine actor, he had a bit of a leg up in getting his start. His parents were producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and actress Jennifer Howard. Also, his grandfather, Samuel Goldwyn Sr., was one of the biggest producers in the early days of Hollywood.
The big song from the movie was written for another movie
Many people — perhaps most people — associate the song “Unchained Melody” with the iconic pottery scene in “Ghost.” However, did you know the song was actually written for another film? The 1955 movie “Unchained” was a low-budget prison movie that is arguably only remembered because of the song it spawned.
The pottery scene happens earlier than you might think
If you haven’t seen “Ghost,” you’ve probably seen the pottery scene, or are at least familiar with it. So let’s say you haven’t seen it. It happens after Sam has become a ghost, right? That’s the ghost of Sam behind Molly as she works the pottery wheel. This is what many assume if they haven’t seen the movie. In reality, that scene happens really early in the film, before Sam has even died. He’s still alive when that happens.
Swayze was looking to avoid being typecast
Swayze was potentially en route to becoming an action star. Prior to making “Ghost,” he had been in “Road House” and “Next of Kin.” Swayze didn’t want to go that route, though. He said he took the part in Ghost to try and avoid being pigeonholed as an action star, and said he needed the role for his “soul.”
Two mothers have cameos
Both Rubin and Zucker got cameos for their mothers in the movie. Zucker’s mom Charlotte plays the bank officer, while Rubin’s mother Sondra plays the nun who faints after Oda Mae gives her the check.
One “Ghost” parody stayed in the family
Sam and Molly’s erotic pottery session is one of the most-parodied scenes from the ‘90s. It’s been spoofed in “Community,” “Two and a Half Men,” and more. One movie that parodied it? That would be “Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear,” which was directed by David Zucker, Jerry’s brother.
Goldwyn once got bad service because of his performance
Goldwyn told a story of being at a restaurant where a waitress refused to serve him, and kept glaring at him angrily. The actor was confused as to what he may have done wrong. Eventually, the waitress apologized and explained the situation. She couldn’t place why, but she knew there was something about his face that triggered hateful feelings. When she realized it was because he played Carl in “Ghost,” and not for anything he had done in real life, she quickly came over to say she was sorry.
The sounds made by the shadows are even creepier than you might think
The “dark shadows” that take ghosts away make an eerie, spooky sound. What made those sounds? Well, the production took the sounds of babies crying, slowed them down, and played them backwards. Somehow that makes it all that much creepier, right?
Rubin took one line from his real life
Sam’s go-to is to say “Ditto” when Molly says “I love you.” It actually helps her realize that Sam’s ghost is trying to contact her. Rubin took that from his real life, as he used to say “Ditto” to his high school girlfriend when she said “I love you.”
It was a huge box office success
“Ghost” somewhat surprisingly became a massive hit. In the end, it brought in $505.7 million worldwide. That made it the highest-grossing movie of 1990, and at the time it was the third-highest-grossing film ever.
It was nominated for five Oscars and won two
“Ghost” was not just financially successful. The Academy also enjoyed it. It was nominated for five awards, including Best Picture. “Ghost” won two of those Oscars. Rubin won for Best Original Screenplay, and Goldberg won for Best Supporting Actress.
Her Oscar win helped push Goldberg to iconic status
Whoopi doesn’t just have her Oscar. In her career, she’s also won a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy. Yes, Goldberg is one of the winners of the EGOT, and is perhaps the most-famous EGOT winner of them all.
It broke a rental record
Video rentals were huge in 1990. “Ghost” rode that wave. Even though it was huge at the box office, people weren’t tired of it. The movie sold 646,000 VHS copies for rental, which broke the record. It made a reported $40 million in rentals, and $25 million in VHS sales.
There was a “Ghost” musical
While there is one iconic music cue in “Ghost,” it’s not a music-heavy movie. And yet, that didn’t stop there from being a “Ghost” music adaptation on the stage. It opened in England and made its way to London. In 2012 it made the movie to Broadway as well. While it’s a little awkward in spots, it did get three Tony nominations.
Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History . You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan .
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My favourite film aged 12: Ghost
Thrillingly, Patrick Swayze’s quest to reach out from the afterlife was rated 15 – an irresistible, illicit mix of sex, death and priapic pottery
- Read all the other My favourite film choices
- The best arts and entertainment during self-isolation
W hen you’re 12 the main thing you want to be is 13. You’re desperate to be older. Desperate to grow up. This feeling is particularly acute when you have older siblings. (I’m the youngest of three.) You see them doing exciting teenage stuff like going to the pub and watching inappropriate films and you think: “I want a piece of that.” Since any attempt to join them in the pub was rightly met with an invitation to “sod off”, watching inappropriate films it was. In those days (the late 90s), inappropriate films were harder to come by. Among the many tapes we had in the house, one in particular was just the right amount of unsuitable for a small boy – the incomparable Ghost, which was thrillingly rated 15.
A strange mix of horror, comedy, romance and thriller, Ghost doesn’t fit easily into any genre. At various moments during its two-hour runtime, it is terrifying, ridiculous, sexy, hilarious, cheesy and poignant – an alluring mix for a boy reaching puberty. For the first 20 minutes it could be a Richard Curtis romcom (although it came out in 1990 before any Richard Curtis romcoms). An attractive young couple – Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) – move into a new apartment, say “Ditto” instead of “I love you” and do unspeakable things with pottery. (Imagine The Great Pottery Throw Down, except Keith Brymer Jones has a semi.)
Looking back on the film now, however, there are signs from the beginning that Sam and Molly’s world isn’t as charmed as it appears. Footage of a plane crash plays ominously on the TV and there’s a scene in which Sam, full of youth and promise, leaps out of a precarious top-floor window to retrieve the statue of an angel that’s being hoisted into their apartment. It’s a moment that neatly exemplifies the arrogant exuberance of youth: when you’re young, death is seemingly so remote that it isn’t scary, it’s thrilling. Laughing at death makes you feel alive, which is usually fine – unless you happen to be the main protagonist in a film called Ghost.
Sam, and all his hopes, dreams and potential, are gone in an instant when he’s killed in an apparent mugging while walking back from the theatre with Molly. The ensuing scene in which Sam comes to terms with being dead was so scary I had to fast forward through it every time. Then there’s the bit where he wakes up in bed and you think everything’s fine, but, instead of Molly next to him, it’s the crumbling face of the angel statue. We’re not in Richard Curtis territory any more.
The rest of the film is ghost Sam’s quest – with the help of a film-stealing Whoopi Goldberg , who plays reluctant medium Oda Mae Brown – to find out who killed him and why. Spoiler alert! It turns out Sam’s best friend, Carl, organised the whole thing in a money-laundering ploy gone wrong. If you’re worried whether Carl gets his comeuppance, fear not because not only does he get killed by a shard of glass, his soul is then dragged to hell by screaming shadows. That’ll learn him. This is the captivating thing about Ghost. It goes from moments of slapstick comedy – such as when Oda Mae and an invisible Sam visit a bank – to bloodcurdling demonic abduction. From romcom to The Exorcist without a breath.
The final scene is as saccharine as anything in cinema and yet, to late-90s me (and even now), it’s utterly irresistible. As an orchestral version of Unchained Melody begins, heaven opens up, shining the light of God on Sam as he becomes visible to Molly. Just before he joins the angels, there’s time for a quick interdimensional smooch and the immortal line: “It’s amazing, Molly – the love inside, you take it with you.”
The truth is I cry a lot more at that final scene now than I ever did when I was younger. At 12, I loved Ghost for the thrill of watching something I wasn’t really supposed to: I enjoyed the feeling of being older, watching grownups deal with grownup things such as sex and death. Most of all I loved it because my brother also loved it and that meant I got to spend time with him. Two uninterrupted hours together before I resumed my rightful place as an annoying little shit.
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Ghost is a 1990 American romantic fantasy/crime thriller film directed by Jerry Zucker. It stars the late Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat, Demi Moore as Molly Jensen, Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, and Tony Goldwyn as Carl Bruner.
The film grossed over $505.7 million at the box office, and was the highest grossing movie of 1990. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It is considered a modern movie classic.
Ghost was rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Sam Wheat, a banker, and Molly Jensen are a couple who have just moved into a New York City apartment together. At work, Sam mentions to one of his coworkers (and best friend), Carl Bruner, that he has discovered a discrepancy in multiple bank accounts with unusually high balances. Carl mentions that he will look into the matter.
That night, Sam and Molly go out on a date. Molly mentions to Sam that she does not like how whenever she tells him she loves him, he simply responds by saying "ditto", and not "I love you too". Suddenly, a man with a gun comes and attacks Sam. Sam attempts to fight back, but the man shoots and kills Sam. Sam's ghost arises from his body, and he sees a distraught Molly cradling his corpse. Sam gradually realizes that he is a ghost, and his presence cannot be seen or heard by the living.
Sam stays close to Molly, who is grieving over his death. Carl stops by one day to check on Molly, and convinces her to go on a walk with him. Sam remains in the apartment, when suddenly, the man who killed him enters and begins looking for something. When Molly returns, the killer hides from her. He is ready to kill her, until Sam spooks the cat, which scratches the man, and he flees.
Sam follows the killer onto the subway, where he meets another ghost, who attacks Sam for being on his subway. Sam notices that he breaks a glass window, even though ghosts pass through solid objects. Sam finally makes it to his killer's apartment, where he discovers his name is Willie Lopez, and he also realizes he really wants something of Sam and is willing to kill Molly to get it. He needs to warn Molly about this but he is unsure about how to do, as she cannot see or hear him.
As he is walking back to the city, Sam stumbles upon the parlor of Oda Mae Brown, a charlatan medium. Sam watches her pretend to communicate with a woman's late husband. Sam calls out that she is faking, and much to his surprise, and her shock, Oda Mae is able to hear him. She realizes that she really does posses psychic abilities. After much persuasion, Sam manages to convince Oda Mae to warn Molly about Willie.
Oda Mae goes over to see Molly the next day with Sam. Oda Mae tells her that she is with Sam, tells her Willie Lopez is after her and she should report this to the police. Although skeptical, Molly does this, and the cops tell her that there is no criminal record on Willie Lopez but there is on Oda Mae Brown, who has had a history of fraud and grifting and warns that she is most likely being deceived by Brown.
Carl comes over to check on Molly again that night, Molly tells him about what Oda Mae said how Willie Lopez is Sam's killer. Carl leaves the apartment nervous, and Sam follows him. Carl goes to Willie's apartment, and Sam discovers that Carl sent Willie to kill him in order to acquire his security codes, so he can transfer the money from his accounts into one account in another bank. He would put this account under the name of Rita Miller and use the money to buy drugs. Sam realizes he has to stop them.
Sam finds the ghost on the subway who was able to break the window, and asks him to teach him how to interact with solid matter. After the ghost teaches him, Sam finds Oda Mae, and convinces her to stop Carl's scheme. With Sam's help, Oda Mae pretends to be Rita Miller, closes the account, and reluctantly gives the money to charity.
Carl, due to transfer the money to a corresponding bank overseas, becomes desperate when he finds the account closed and empty. Sam scares Carl, by moving objects in his office, then repeatidly typing "MURDER" and "SAM" on his computer. Carl visits Molly, and threatens to Sam, that if the money is not returned by that evening, he will slit Molly's throat.
Carl and Willie go to Oda Mae's apartment to search for the money. Luckily, Sam is able to get there first, and warns her and her two sisters. They are able to take refuge, as Willie and Carl enter with guns, prepared to kill the women. The two killers ransack the house in search of the money, but Sam is able to separate them. Sam torments Willie by throwing objects at him. Horrified, Willie runs outside, where he is hit by a passing car. As the driver and local residents of the ghetto clamor in horror, Willie's ghost rises from his corpse the same way Sam's did. Willie is perplexed what just happened, now that he can see Sam. Sam informs Willie that he just died. Shadows around the area start rising up from the ground and forming into ghosts, which then capture Willie, who is forcibly taken away screaming, presumably to face judgment for his sins.
Afterwards, Sam and Oda Mae go to Molly's apartment, and warn her about Carl, who is coming over, planning on killing her. Molly refuses to let Oda Mae in, and breaks down in grief. Sam is able to show Molly that Oda Mae is telling the truth, and that he is truly present as a ghost, by levitating a penny in front of her. Molly lets Oda Mae in, and they call the police. Sam tells Molly through Oda Mae that he would do anything to be with her again. Oda Mae gives Sam permission to possess her, so he can touch her one last time.
Carl suddenly breaks into the apartment, and chases Molly and Oda Mae into the storage room. Sam is left for the moment too weak, as it is very strenuous to possess a living human. After Carl chases the two for a while, he manages to hold Molly at gunpoint, but Sam recovers his strength, and manages to disarm Carl. Out of anger, Carl swings a metal hook at Sam, and begins to climb out the window. However, as the hook passes through Sam, it hits the window, and a glass shard stabs Carl in the chest, killing him. His ghost arises; the shadowy demons return and take Carl with them.
As Sam asks Oda Mae and Molly if they are all right, Molly realizes that she can hear him too. A heavenly light comes, and Sam appears fully visible to Molly and Oda Mae. Sam and Molly kiss, and Sam sees behind him, a gateway to Heaven. Sam tells Molly he loves her, to which she replies, "ditto", and he thanks Oda Mae for her help. Now that he has completed his task on Earth, he turns, and walks to the light.
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