An Unmarried Woman (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

An Unmarried Woman1978

An Unmarried Woman (1978)



Critic Consensus: Jill Clayburgh is wondrous as a woman who loses her marriage -- only to find herself -- in this acutely observed and lived-in portrait of New York City life.

An Unmarried Woman Photos

Movie Info

Paul Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman follows the turmoil of a woman named Erica (Jill Clayburgh), whose comfortable domestic life is thrown into turmoil when her husband Martin (Michael Murphy) reveals over lunch that he is in love with another woman. Martin leaves Erica after the confession, and the film details her attempts to find her place in the modern world of the late '70s.


Cliff Gorman
as Charlie
Linda G. Miller
as Jeannette
Daniel Seltzer
as Dr. Jacobs
Ivan Karp
as Herb Rowan
Clint Chin
as Chinese Waiter
Ken Chapin
as Man at Bar
Tom Elios
as Ice Vendor
Karen Ford
as Executive Secretary
Alice J. Kane
as Waitress
Pamela Meunier
as Hat Check Girl
Vincent Schiavelli
as Man at Party
John Stravinsky
as Bartender
Ultra Violet
as Lady Macbeth
View All

Critic Reviews for An Unmarried Woman

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7)

Clayburgh is luminous as Erica, wounded and stumbling, yet somehow graceful.

October 7, 2020 | Full Review…

An Unmarried Woman explores the emotional turmoil of an abandoned wife with rare wit and perception.

July 8, 2019 | Full Review…

Clayburgh takes chances in this movie. She's out on an emotional limb. She's letting us see and experience things that many actresses simply couldn't reveal.

June 15, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A tenderhearted feminist picture.

April 7, 2016

The action unfolds with a documentary-style geographical specificity, offering a time capsule of Manhattan locations, uptown and downtown alike.

June 15, 2015 | Full Review…

There are scenes in An Unmarried Woman so well written and acted that our laughter is unsettling, the laughter of exact recognition.

June 28, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for An Unmarried Woman

Paul Mazursky's poignant, observant and moving drama is his magnum opus as a director and writer. The film's greatest asset is the bravura turn by the late Jill Clayburgh who delivers the performance of her career, that earned her a richly deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Ms. Clayburgh plays Erica, a New York City, Upper East Side woman who seems to be doing all the right things until the day her husband of 16 years, played superbly by Michael Murphy, announces he's leaving her for another younger woman. Ms. Clayburgh's realignment of her priorities is fascinating to watch, and she slowly becomes an independent, strong, proficient woman who discovers her new sexual freedom. Brilliant direction by the late Paul Mazursky who also wrote the intelligent Academy Award nominated original screenplay with skillful attention to character details. Exceptional supporting performances by Alan Bates, Cliff Gorman, Patricia Quinn, Kelly Bishop, Lisa Lucas, Linda Miller, and Andrew Duncan. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Highly Recommended.

Danny Rovira
Danny Rovira

Super Reviewer


The tale of the independent divorced woman had its beginnings in this Paul Mazursky helmed film; about Erica (Clayburgh), a wronged woman who begins living a new life when her scuzzy husband cheats on her with a younger woman. The narrative begins with their happy marriage, made better by her friend's jealousy, eventually derailed by her husband's confession. Erica is a proud, uninhibited, and lovable character, who finds herself thrust back into the world of dating after nearly twenty years, and does so with the vibrancy of a woman much younger. Through a high amount of self-esteem, confidence, and a good therapist, Erica dates once again, and finds independence, something a woman still barely earned in the late seventies. This film comes from a fresh perspective, and was the first instance of a film where divorce became a woman's new growth experience. This was the inspiration behind many contemporary films that deal with issue of starting anew, and this film does it best by showing a character who is harmonious to the upper class life, and throws it away for her own freedom's sake.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A bit dated but one of the first attempts to deal with the "modern" woman who often find themselves divorced and open to "temptation" Strong performances but a dated topic.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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