The Golden Girls in perhaps more popular now than it has ever been. These stellar actresses and others from the series have appeared in some interesting and unusual films that you should see if you like Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.
Betty White is still going strong in 2019. She’s the only living Golden Girl. At the age of 97, she has a career in entertainment that now spans 80 years. She also has the distinction of having the longest show business career of any female entertainer. She appeared on television as recently as 2018 with shows like Fireside Chat with Esther, and she most recently appeared on film in The Lorax.
In The Lorax, Betty provided the voice of Grammy Norma, one of the main characters in the film. This character was created for the feature film adaptation and wasn’t in the original Dr. Seuss book. Like Betty herself, Grammy Norma is vivacious and fun, and the movie captures the hopeful spirit of the book it’s based on.
Rose Nylund meets Deadpool may not exactly describe The Proposal, but Betty White has a significant part in the movie alongside Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. The Proposal is a truly funny 2009 feature film that centers around the preposterous predicaments that occur when a power-hungry boss pressures her assistant to marry her so she can keep her visa.
Betty White provides several big laughs in The Proposal, and she plays one of the most interesting characters in the film. She portrays Grandma Annie Paxton, who is often referred to as Gammy. She’s the wise-cracking grandmother of Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). She is especially close to the dog and doesn’t at first warm to Sandra Bullock’s character, but you may want to watch The Proposal to see if she just may have a change of heart during the course of the flick.
Betty White supplies the voice of Yoshie in Disney’s English adaptation of Ponyo. The character of Yoshie was originally voiced by Tomoko Naraoka. Yoshie is a resident of the senior center that’s depicted in the film, and she has blonde hair and wears a pink dress. The character undergoes a transformation in the film when she leaves her wheelchair behind.
Ponyo was critically acclaimed, and it won dozens of awards. The Disney adaptation was released in 2009. It is a loose adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but it creates a whole other world than the one described in the original fairy tale. It tells the story of a goldfish who wants to become a human after befriending a human boy.
Estelle Getty has a very memorable role as Evelyn in the 1985 movie Mask. The film tells the heartbreaking story of a teenager who lives with a massive face deformity caused by a rare disorder called craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. It’s based on the true story and short but significant life of Roy L. Dennis who was nicknamed Rocky.
Cher portrays Rocky’s mother in the movie, and Estelle Getty plays Rocky’s grandmother. Mask was a critical success and a box office hit. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and the cast received nominations for several major awards. Estelle isn’t the lead in the film, but she delivers a memorable performance opposite Cher.
My Little Pony: The Movie
“Thank You for Being a Friend” is often seen as such a central part of The Golden Girls that it’s considered to be a character itself. It speaks of the sentiments that the four housemates and closest friends must feel about each other, and it sets the mood for the show. Since the show, it’s appeared on major sporting events like the Super Bowl, other sitcoms, animated shows, and countless commercials. It’s even appeared in a movie.
Look for the chorus of this classic song in My Little Pony: The Movie. The chorus is sampled in Rachel Platten’s song “Thank You For Being A Friend” that appears on the film’s soundtrack. My Little Pony: The Movie is a 2017 animated musical fantasy movie that’s based on the mega-successful toy franchise from the 1980s.
The 1999 American comedy film Stuart Little was Estelle Getty’s final movie before her retirement from acting. She portrayed Grandma Estelle opposite Harold Gould who played Grandpa Spencer. Michael J. Fox provided the voice of Stuart Little. Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan Lipnicki also starred in the film.
Stuart Little blends live action film and animation, and the script was written by M. Night Shyamalan who is better known for his surreal, scary films. It’s based on the classic children’s book by E.B. White. Estelle Getty stood out in her performance as Grandma Estelle.
Now seen as one of the quintessential romantic comedies of the 1980s, Mannequin was a big hit when it was released in 1987. It centers on the story of an unemployed artist who works in retail out of desperation. The job turns into an unexpected gift when he falls in love with a mannequin who sometimes come to life, but only for him.
Estelle Getty portrays Mrs. Claire Timkin in Mannequin. Andrew McCarthy starred as Jonathan Switcher, and Kim Cattrall starred as the mannequin Ema Hesire. Estelle’s character Claire plays an integral role in the film. She is the one who hires Jonathan for the retail store after he saved her life, and she eventually promotes him to a role as vice president of the store. As the story progresses, Claire continues to save the day for Jonathan, and she eventually plays a part in a very happy wedding.
Rue McClanahan could have probably done what she wanted after The Golden Girls made her a star, but she was happy to continue to play character roles and sometimes small parts in feature films and television shows. She played the biology teacher in the 1997 science fiction action flick Starship Troopers.
Rue plays the blind biology teacher who oversees dissection in one especially memorable scene of the film. Since the humans are in a war with giant alien bugs, she teaches them about some of the qualities of the insects. Starship Troopers also stars Patrick Muldoon as Lt. Zander Barcalow, Denise Richards as Lt. Carmen Ibanez, and Casper Van Dien as Lt. John Rico.
Bridgette Andersen memorably appeared on the “The Truth Will Out” episode during the first season of The Golden Girls. She played Rose’s granddaughter Charley, and she steals some scenes in the touching episode. A few years before she shared the screen with Rose, Dorothy, Sophia, and Blanche, she starred in a charming kids’ movie.
With her role as Savannah in Savannah Smiles, Bridgette became a child star. Fans of The Golden Girls will enjoy seeing her in her most iconic role. Sadly, like many other child stars who needed help navigating life after the spotlight, Bridgette had a troubled youth. She passed away from a drug overdose when she was just 21. Her life was cut tragically short, but she shines in this sweet movie.
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
The 1992 feature film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot starred Estelle Getty as the mom who is mentioned in the aptly titled film. The buddy cop comedy movie stars Sylvester Stallone who does a good job in the film, although he has since stated that he considers this to be his worst film. In fact, he regrets making it. However, it’s a must-see for fans of The Golden Girls because of Estelle.
Estelle Getty gives a charming performance as Mrs. Tutti Bornowski, the mom of Sylvester Stallone’s character Sergeant Joseph Bornowski. Tutti comes to live with her son, and she starts to interfere with his life. It starts small but quickly escalates. She finds herself in trouble when she goes to buy a gun for her son to replace one that she accidentally ruined.
Betty White portrays Mrs. Delores Bickerman in Lake Placid. The 1999 monster horror comedy (yes, that’s a genre) film. The script was written by David E. Kelley, and it tells the story of a giant man-eating crocodile that is terrorizing a small town called Black Lake, Maine. A good but dysfunctional group of citizens attempt to battle the reptile to protect the town and its residents.
Betty’s dialogue as Mrs. Bickerman is totally irreverent. More brash, confrontational, and outrageous than Rose Nyland would have ever dreamed of being, The funny role gives Betty White the perfect chance to show off her impeccable comedic timing and how she can take a throwaway line and turn it into comedy gold.
For Better or Worse
Bea Arthur portrays Beverly Makeshift in the 1995 feature film For Better or Worse. This comedic movie centers around a love triangle when a man falls in love with his younger brother’s wife. Bea’s character Beverly plays the mother of the two men in the love triangle.
Jason Alexander, Lolita Davidovich, and James Woods star in the movie. John Amos portrays Gray in the film. Amos has a connection with Bea Arthur. His show Good Times was a spin-off of Maude. The two were reunited in the making of this movie. Bea’s scenes as Beverly Makeshift are among the best in the film.
Love N’ Dancing
Betty White plays Irene in Love N’ Dancing, a 2009 feature film that also stars Amy Smart, Tom Malloy, and Billy Zane. This film is a romantic drama that’s set in the competitive and sexy world of swing dancing. With a variety of reality competition shows that center around dancing in the past several years, the movie may appeal to today’s audiences more than it did in 2009.
The complexities of love and competition are examined by characters in the film along the way to the swing dance championships. Love N’ Dancing didn’t do well with critics or at the box office, but fans of Betty White should see her in the film. Also, Malloy and Smart dance beautifully together, and they have great chemistry as the leads in the film.
Rue McClanahan plays Mrs. Evelyn Parker in the 1990 comedic feature film Modern Love. Robbie Benson wrote, directed, and starred in this movie that was a passion project of his. Modern Love stars his real-life wife Karla DeVito as his onscreen wife Billie. His daughter Lyric Benson also plays his daughter Chloe in the movie.
Burt Reynolds plays Rue McClanahan’s husband in the movie. Burt and Rue have great chemistry, and they play off each other’s outrageousness for laughs. As the mother-in-law to Robbie Benson’s character Greg, Rue gets to showcase her comedic talents in the film.
While no cast members from The Golden Girls appear in The Waterboy, this charming comedy has an iconic song in it written by Andrew Gold. Gold is musical mastermind behind “Thank You for Being a Friend”, the beloved theme song from the sitcom. He had a very prolific career, and another big fit from Andrew Gold is featured in the movie.
“Lonely Boy”, one of Gold’s signature songs, can be heard in The Waterboy. The song contains personal details of Andrew Gold’s life, although he said the song wasn’t autobiographical. The Waterboy stars Adam Sandler, Fairuza Balk, and Kathy Bates. “Lonely Boy” can also be heard in the film Boogie Nights. The song perhaps explains why friends are so appreciated in Gold’s theme song for The Golden Girls.
In Stealing Christmas, Tony Danza plays a down-on-his-luck guy who is just out of prison and looking to make enough money to retire from a life of crime. However, when he chooses one community to prey on, they teach him a lesson he’ll never forget. The made-for-TV film has become a modern classic, and it also stars Betty White, Lea Thompson, and Angela Goethals.
Betty White portrays Emily Sutton in Stealing Christmas. Emily is a widow with a nostalgic Christmas store in the charming town, and she develops a special relationship with Tony Danza’s scheming character Jack Clayton that makes it even more difficult for him to betray the good people who have put their trust in him. The movie is now available on DVD and through streaming services like Amazon Prime.
Enemies of Laughter
Bea Arthur has a key part in the 2000 romantic comedy flick Enemies of Laughter. It’s directed by John Travolta’s brother Joey Travolta, and it stars David Paymer as Paul Halpern. Bea Arthur and Peter Falk play Paul’s parents. Other cast members include Judge Reinhold, Rosalind Chao, Marilu Henner, and Kathy Griffin.
Enemies of Laughter follows the story of down-on-his-luck comedy writer Paul. Long-suffering Paul just can’t get a break. A series of blind dates horrify him, then he is invited to lunch by a female director who catches his eye. However, problems ensue when she wants to stage a play that he wrote but now hates.
Betty White appears in all her comedic glory in the 2010 comedic feature film You Again. Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and Kristin Chenoweth appear alongside Betty in the movie. It tells the story of what happens when a woman named Marni finds out that her brother Will is engaged to her former bully. Comedy ensues as she tries to expose the evil bully’s true nature.
In You Again, Betty portrays Grandma Bunny, the grandmother of Will and Marni. Grandma Bunny has a funny bit in the film when she also encounters her former bully. Although the movie is light-hearted in tone, it does showcase the long-term effects that being bullied can have on someone’s life. The movie won a Hall of Shame award at the Women Film Critics Circle Awards for perpetuating stereotypes about women. Nevertheless, it’s worth watching for Betty’s great performance.
The 1982 feature film Tootsie is now considered a classic. Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring screen legend Dustin Hoffman in the title role, the movie centers around an actor who will do just about anything to finally land a role. That includes adopting a new identity as a woman to try to succeed in acting.
Fans of The Golden Girls should see this movie to look for Estelle Getty in a small part in this iconic, critically acclaimed film. She is credited as Middle-Aged Woman in Tootsie. Other well-known actors you will see in Tootsie include Geena Davis, Bill Murray, Teri Garr, Jessica Lange, and Charles Durning.
The Third Wish
Betty White portrays the character Lettie in the 2005 feature film The Third Wish. Jenna Mattison, Sean Maguire, James Avery, and Mindy Cohn also appear in the movie. It follows the whimsical adventure of Maggie who receives three wishes after she comes across a rare edition of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
Things aren’t always what they seem in The Third Wish, and Betty White’s mysterious character plays a significant role in this modern-day fairy tale. Maggie, who is portrayed by Jenna Mattison, undergoes a remarkable transformation. Although Betty doesn’t have the main character in the film, she gives an unforgettable performance.
Betty White has top billing in Annie’s Point, and it is solely her image that is the focus on the movie poster. That’s well-deserved since Betty White showcases her great range as an actress in this 2005 made-for-television movie. She portrays the title character Annie Eason, and the film also stars Richard Thomas who was the star of his own iconic show The Waltons.
Annie’s Point tells the story of a widow named Annie who is determined to go to a special place where she once planned to build the house of her dreams with her now-deceased husband. Annie and her young granddaughter Ella decide to go on a daring road trip to visit the place where Annie once dreamed of living, but they are chased Annie’s son when he discovers an upsetting secret.
Rue McClanahan provides the voice of Scarlett in the 1997 animated film Annabelle’s Wish. Actors Jerry Houser, Jerry Van Dyke, Cloris Leachman, and Randy Travis also play significant parts in the movie. Annabelle’s wish is a gently told story of a young calf who aspires to be one of Santa’s reindeer.
Annabelle’s Wish offers audiences a great chance to hear Rue’s range as a voiceover actress, and it’s a role that’s about as far from Blanche as the actress got in her career. The movie was critically acclaimed, and it was also a commercial success. When it was first released on home video, a portion of its profits went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Story of Us
Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis portray the “us” from the title of the film. Katie and Ben Jordan are the married couple whose extreme ups and downs are chronicled in The Story of Us. The downs get really down, and it looks like they are headed for a certain divorce. The story peels back the layers to seemingly try to examine the odd workings of long-term romance.
Betty White plays Lillian Jordan in 1999’s The Story of Us. Rob Reiner directed the movie that delves into the inner workings of the relationship through flashbacks, and it also aims to put a more universal spin on the story by showing interviews of couples much like Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally…. did in 1989.
The Dreamer of Oz
Rue McClanahan plays Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage in The Dreamer of Oz. The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved movies of all time, and the man who created that fictional world is author L. Frank Baum. His books have inspired many films and stage adaptations of Dorothy and the mythical land of Oz. The Dreamer of Oz tells the real-life story of the children’s book author.
As Gage in 1990 television movie The Dreamer of Oz, Rue plays the famous women’s suffragist to perfection. The famous feminist was the mother-in-law of L. Frank Baum, and her feminism and freethought are big influences on Baum and his work. Rue’s co-stars in the film include John Ritter as L. Frank Baum and Annette O’Toole as Maud Gage Baum.
Bea Arthur first appeared in the Broadway musical production of Mame. She even won the 1966 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Vera Charles in the play. She reprised this memorable role in the 1974 film adaptation of the musical that was also called Mame.
Bea starred in Mame opposite Lucille Ball. It would prove to be Ball’s last film appearance. Although Bea expressed her gratitude for the chance to work with an icon like Lucille Ball, she thought Ball was miscast in the leading role of the film. Bea went so far as to express regret about making it. However, it is a must-see for fans of Bea.
The Lost Valentine
Betty White starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of The Lost Valentine in 2011. As a made-for-television film, The Lost Valentine was a big hit with many viewers tuning in, and it is now available on DVD. The movie also stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sean Faris, and it is based on the novel by James Michael Pratt.
The Lost Valentine is a sentimental tale story about how love can transcend time, distance, and great challenges. Betty was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Caroline Thomas in The Lost Valentine. She was also nominated for a Golden Debry Award and a Movie Guide Award for her performance.
Eddie Murphy stars in the offbeat comedy Holy Man. Essentially a send-up of TV evangelists who exploit faith for commercial gain, this1998 movie holds nothing back in its over-the-top satire. Betty White plays Betty White in the comedy film. That is to say that she plays a fictionalized, much-exaggerated version of herself.
As Holy Man spoofs both television evangelists and home shopping networks, several celebrities make appearances hawking various goods and services. Betty White’s appearance centers around her selling a perfume that’s called Clam. This perfume promises sexual fulfillment. Some of the comedy of the scene falls flat, but Betty’s terrific comedic timing saves the day and she pulls off a funny cameo.
Prep & Landing Stocking Stuffer: Operation: Secret Santa
Holiday films are often rediscovered many years after they’re made. With people looking for seasonal entertainment, you never know when a Santa film will be appreciated. Also, watching certain holiday movies even becomes an annual tradition for many families. Betty White appeared in a 2010 short film with a Christmas theme that has become a modern classic.
In Prep & Landing Stocking Stuffer: Operation: Secret Santa, Betty plays Mrs. Claus. She recruits some troublemaker elves to get a mysterious item that’s in Santa Claus’s North Pole office. The film follows the elves’ quest. Prep & Landing Stocking Stuffer: Operation: Secret Santa is now available on Amazon Prime.
Lovers and Other Strangers
Bea Arthur is part of all-star cast in the 1970 feature film Lovers and Other Strangers. Diane Keaton made her film debut in the comedy flick, and Sylvester Stallone even can be seen as an extra. Bea played the role of Bea Vecchio. However, in those days, she was still being credited as Beatrice Arthur.
Lovers and Other Strangers was nominated for three Academy Awards, and it won one for Best Original Song for “For All We Know”, a song that would become a hit for The Carpenters in 1971. While Bea had appeared in an uncredited role in That Kind of Woman in 1959, Lovers and Other Strangers was her first significant feature film role.
A Holiday to Remember
Rue McClanahan plays a far more traditional role in A Holiday to Remember than she did in The Golden Girls. She portrays the charming and somewhat scheming Miz Leona in the 1995 made-for-TV modern Christmas classic. The film also stars country singer Randy Travis, Connie Sellecca, and Asia Vieira.
Based on the novel A Christmas Love by Kathleen Creighton, A Holiday to Remember tells the story of a newly divorced woman who brings her daughter back to the small town she left behind many years ago. She reluctantly rekindles a romance with a man she once left at the altar, and chaos ensues when a mischievous orphan enters their lives. Rue’s heartfelt performance as Randy Travis’s well-meaning mother is one of the highlights of the film.