Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)



Critic Consensus: Fried Green Tomatoes' tearjerking drama is undeniably manipulative, but in the hands of a skilled cast that includes Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, it's also powerfully effective.

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Movie Info

A woman learns the value of friendship as she hears the story of two women and how their friendship shaped their lives in this warm comedy-drama. Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) is an emotionally repressed housewife with a habit of drowning her sorrows in candy bars. Her husband Ed (Gailard Sartain) barely acknowledges her existence, and while he visits his aunt at a nursing home every week, Evelyn is not permitted to come into the room because the old women doesn't like her. One week, while waiting out Ed's visit, Evelyn meets Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy), a frail but feisty old woman who lives at the same nursing home and loves to tell stories. Over the span of several weeks, she spins a whopper about one of her relatives, Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson). Back in the 1920s, Idgie was a sweet but fiercely independent woman with her own way of doing things who ran the town diner in Whistle Stop, Alabama. Idgie was very close to her brother Buddy (Chris O'Donnell), and when he died, she wouldn't talk to anyone except Buddy's girl, Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker). Idgie gave Ruth a job at the cafe after she left her abusive husband, Frank Bennett (Nick Searcy). Between her habit of standing up for herself, standing up to Frank, and serving food to Black people out the back of the diner, Idgie raised the ire of the less tolerant citizens of Whistle Stop, and when Frank mysteriously disappeared, many locals suspected that Idgie, Ruth, and their friends may have been responsible. Evelyn finds herself looking forward to her weekly visits with Ninny, and is inspired by her story to take a new pride in herself and assert her independence from Ed. Fried Green Tomatoes was based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by actress-turned-author Fannie Flagg, who makes a cameo appearance as the leader of a self-help group. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
PG-13 (violence)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures

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Kathy Bates
as Evelyn Couch
Jessica Tandy
as Ninny Threadgoode
Mary Stuart Masterson
as Idgie Threadgoode
Mary-Louise Parker
as Ruth Jamison
Cicely Tyson
as Sipsey
Stan Shaw
as Big George
Nick Searcy
as Frank Bennett
Gailard Sartain
as Ed Couch
Gary Basaraba
as Grady Kilgore
Chris O'Donnell
as Buddy Threadgoode
Grace Zabriskie
as Eva Bates
Fannie Flagg
as Teacher
Tim Scott
as Smokey Lonesome
Lois Smith
as Mama Threadgoode
Jo Harvey Allen
as Teacher with Mirror
Macon McCalman
as Prosecutor
Richard Riehle
as Reverend Scroggins
Raynor Scheine
as Curtis Smoote
Reid Binion
as Young Julian
Afton Smith
as Leona Threadgoode
Danny Nelson
as Papa Threadgoode
Nancy Moore Atchison
as Little Idgie
Haynes Brooke
as Older Julian
Ginny Parker
as Ruth's Mother
Tres Holton
as Boy at Supermarket
Wallace Merck
as KKK Man
David Dwyer
as Hooded Man
Lashondra Phillips
as Young Naughty Bird
Catherine Larson
as 1st Girl
Missy Wolff
as 2nd Girl
Grayson Fricke
as Buddy Jr.
Enjolik Oree
as Older Naughty Bird
Bob Penny
as Bailiff
Genevieve Fisher
as Peggy Hadley
Tom Even
as Judge
Bob Hannah
as Defense Attorney
Ted Manson
as Bailiff
Suzi Bass
as Nurse
James Mayberry
as Orderly
Dr. Todd Eller
as College Buddy
Leonard Shinew
as Mr. Dunaway
Paul Armbruster
as Gas Station Attendant
Bill Ewin
as College Dean
Michael Burgess
as Wingo, Man at Barbeque
Marion Williams
as Gospel Singer
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News & Interviews for Fried Green Tomatoes

Critic Reviews for Fried Green Tomatoes

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (12)

[A] clunky, fraudulent, yet apparently crowd-pleasing laugh-and-tear-jerker.

June 2, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

When a group of actors this gifted and lively tries so good-naturedly to deliver such an obvious message, the audience is left in the position of trying to stop a tidal wave. You may hate yourself for responding, but you're smothered before you know it.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Directed and co-written by first-timer Jon Avnet, the episodic production manages to capture the fried-tomato flavor of the deep South without becoming too pushy or patronizing about it.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Fried Green Tomatoes is a case of a film acted with such skill and conviction that glaring problems of narrative, pace and structure seem like minor slips.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The movie never quite shakes its stiff, studied feel, just as the town of Whistle Stop never stops seeming the quaint creation of an art director.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The movie left me wishing its sterling cast -- including a radiant Jessica Tandy -- had been better served.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fried Green Tomatoes

Excellent movie about friendship and love. Kathy Bates' character befriends an old woman who tells stories of her past.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer


Always love a good southern movie, and well done coming of age drama

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

A bittersweet story about how the Whistle Stop Cafe brought together Idgie Threadgoode, Ruth Jamison & many others & a story to be told by Ninny Threadgoode to a southern woman, Evelyn Couch.

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

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