Crazy Mama (1975)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Cloris Leachman stars as Melba, a woman with whom violence is a way of life, in Jonathan Demme's high-pitched "B"-movie Crazy Mama. The film spans three decades in the violent life of Melba, beginning in Jerusalem, Arkansas in 1932, when law enforcers kill her father (Clint Kimbrough), turning her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) into a bitter widow. Mother and daughter take off to Long Beach, California, and the time jumps to 1958, when the two are thrown out of their beauty salon for non-payment of back rent. Melba now has an attractive (and pregnant) teenage daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl). The three generations take to the road, stealing cars and creating general mayhem across the United States, robbing a motorcycle racetrack box office and a bank. But in 1959, Melba and Cheryl are picked up again, running a Miami Beach snack bar, their lives wasted in free-living terror.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New World


Stuart Whitman
as Jim Bob
Ann Sothern
as Sheba
Jim Backus
as Mr. Albertson
Don Most
as Shawn
Linda Purl
as Cheryl
Merie Earle
as Bertha
Sally Kirkland
as Ella Mae
Dick Miller
as Wilbur Janeway
Carmen Argenziano
as Supermarket Manager
Harry Northrup
as FBI Man
Ralph James
as Sheriff in 1932
Dinah Englund
as Melba in 1932
Mickey Fox
as Mrs. Morgan
John Aprea
as Marvin
Cynthia Songey
as Lucinda
Hal Marshall
as Bartender
Barbara Ann Walters
as Lady Teller
Bill McLean
as Bank Manager
William Luckey
as Newsman
Warren Miller
as Justice of the Peace
Saul J. Krugman
as Col. Snodgrass
Barbara Walters
as Lady Teller
Tisha Sterling
as Sheba in 1932
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Crazy Mama

All Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Pure exhilaration

Full Review… | March 1, 2012

Opening nine months after the R-rated 'Big Bad Mama,' the PG 'Crazy Mama' substituted comedy for sex and a 1950s Mad magazine/rock-and-roll vibe for 1930s rusticity.

Full Review… | January 18, 2011
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

... relies more on momentum and personality than narrative but that's just fine for this misfit crime spree road comedy.

Full Review… | December 7, 2010
Parallax View

The film wonderfully tears down the conventions of '50s womanhood, while providing loads of quirky fun along the way.

Full Review… | December 4, 2010

Audience Reviews for Crazy Mama


Seems like a collection of outtakes strung together to cheaply complete a drive-in double feature. Quite nice to see that Cloris has a figure worth showing off - perhaps she should have done that more often.

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

I love these old movies normally - and big fan of Cloris Leachman - but didn't really like this one..

Craig Nuel
Craig Nuel

This movie has a lot of action, mostly gun fights and car chases, but the acting is average and the story is like Big Bad Mama, just with more characters. I was expecting a dark comedy, as the summary says, but there are very few laughs, and it's not very dark either. It's not a horrendous movie, though, it just needed more work.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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