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Beaches (AKA Forever Friends), is a 1988 Academy Award-nominated movie adapted by Mary Agnes Donoghue from the novel of the same name by Iris Rainer Dart. It was directed by Garry Marshall, and stars Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, James Read, Spalding Gray, Lainie Kazan, Mayim Bialik and Marcie Leeds.

The film's theme song, Hot 100 #1 "Wind Beneath My Wings" went on to win Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1990.



The film begins with singer CC Bloom (Bette Midler) receiving a note during a rehearsal for her upcoming concert, which obviously contains distressing news about a loved one. She leaves the rehearsal in a panic and tries frantically to travel to her friend's side, however, we are not told why at that point. Unable to get a flight to San Franciscomarker because of fog, she rents a car and decides to drive overnight from Los Angelesmarker. Upset and on edge, she starts to think about her best friend Hillary, beginning with how they first met.

Rich girl Hillary Whitney (Marcie Leeds) and child performer Cecilia Carol "CC" Bloom (Mayim Bialik) meet under the boardwalk on the beach at Atlantic City, New Jerseymarker in 1958. Hillary is lost and CC is hiding from her overbearing stage mother (Lainie Kazan). They become fast friends, growing up and bonding through letters to support each other.A grown up Hillary (Barbara Hershey) goes on to study law at Stanford Law School as is her family's tradition and becomes a human rights lawyer. In the meantime, now-adult CC's (Bette Midler) singing career isn't exactly taking off. They write to each other regularly and give updates on their lives.

Then one night, Hillary shows up at the dive bar where CC is performing, having travelled to New Yorkmarker on an impulse. She is tired of feeling trapped in her life and feels suffocated by her family's expectations of her. She soon gets a job with the ACLU, whereas CC now makes money by performing birthday singing telegrams, usually dressed in a rabbit or chicken suit. While she's staying with CC in her apartment, they become closer and even vie for the love of the same man (John Heard) the artistic director of the Falcon Players, who gives CC her start after having hearing her sing a singing telegram for him. A love triangle ensues as Hillary and John are instantly attracted to one another leaving CC in the cold and feeling resentment toward her best friend. Matters are made worse when Hillary and John finally sleep together on CC's opening-night performance of CC's first lead off broadway. A cloud comes over Hillary's life in the form of her father becoming ill, and she is forced to return to San Francisco to look after him. The two friends resolve their issues about John, as John doesn't have romantic feelings for CC. After her father passes away, Hillary marries his lawyer, Michael Essex (James Read). CC and John spend a lot of time together, start dating and eventually marry, which leads again to the bond between the two women declining. Hillary and Michael return to New York to see CC on Broadwaymarker, by which time she has become a Broadway star. CC finds out that Hillary has quit being a lawyer. The friends have an argument in Bloomingdales department store, with CC angry that Hillary has just given up on her dreams, and Hillary responding that CC has become no more than a "pretentious, social climber" who is obsessed with her career. The two women part ways, and unbeknownst to each other, they both feel incredible sadness over the loss of their friendship. CC tries to reconnect with Hillary, but Hillary throws herself into being a dutiful, but unchallenged, wife.

However, the unions for both women are anything but blissful. The relationship between CC and John eventually deteriorates when John tells CC that her self-centeredness and obsession with her career has him feeling left behind and he asks for a divorce. Upset at the thought of her marriage failing, CC turns to her mother (whom she calls by her given name "Leona") one day on the beach. Her mother tells her that she has given up a lot for her daughter and that she must live her life and take care of herself. CC hears the truth for the first time when her mother tells her the effect that her selfishness has had on those closest to her.

Meanwhile, Hillary, while believing that her marriage is strong, returns home from a trip earlier than expected. She enters the kitchen and sees her husband having breakfast with another woman, who is wearing one of her bathrobes. Michael, shocked at seeing his wife, reaches for the woman's hand, wordlessly confirming that he has been having an affair.

Later, the women reunite after Hillary divorces her husband and discover that they have been secretly jealous of each other for years, without realizing it. Hillary is upset that she has none of the talent or charisma that makes CC be noticed, but as CC is quick to retaliate, Hillary stands out for reasons that CC has always been deeply envious of - she is both beautiful and intelligent. The two then realize that their feud could have been avoided by honest communication, and an appreciation of each other's most recognized qualities. Hillary tells CC that she is pregnant, but also that she caught Michael cheating on her, and that he wants nothing to do with the child he has fathered, planning to marry his mistress instead. Hillary admits that she has already decided to keep the baby, and raise it as a single parent, a decision that wins her much admiration from the feisty and always independent CC. CC promises she will stay and help her out. She leaves for a short time because she is promised a lead part in a new musical, but she does return for the birth and faints in the delivery room, alluding to the recurrent theme of CC stealing the attention from Hillary. Hillary has a daughter, whom she names Victoria Cecilia (Grace Johnston).

When Victoria is a young girl, Hillary finds herself easily exhausted and breathless, a state she attributes to her busy schedule as an attorney. But when she collapses at work and is rushed to the hospital, she is diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a debilitating cardiac illness, requiring a heart transplant if she is to live. As donor hearts of her tissue type are almost impossible to come by, Hillary learns more about the illness, and it becomes clear that she will most likely die as a result of it, and will not live to see her daughter grow up. This plunges her into a state of depression, which she inadvertently takes out on CC, who she sees as "having energy, and who is fun", in comparison to her now debilitated state.

When CC agrees to accompany Hillary and Victoria to the beach house during some free time off after her album, she locks horns with Victoria, who sees CC as an interruption in the life of her and her mother. Gradually, both come to appreciate one another.

Eventually, Hillary moves out of the anger and depression, and begins to accept her prognosis bravely. When CC makes a comment to Hillary that she knows everything that there is to know about her, Hillary replies under her breath, that she's "counting on it".

CC heads back towards home for a quick performance, and Hillary is left with Victoria. She is in her daughter's room helping her get ready for a visit to see CC in concert. Hillary tells her daughter to get a large brown carry bag out of the hallway closet. Victoria goes into the hallway and gets the bag as told. She returns to her room and finds her mother passed out on the floor, and screams for help.

CC races to the hospital in San Francisco after driving all night from Los Angelesmarker. Hillary, close to death, tells CC that her one last wish is for Victoria not to see her in that state. CC arranges to get Hillary discharged from the hospital so that she can spend her last hours saying goodbye to Victoria. They return to the beach house where they spent their last summer, and CC does all she can to make the most of her best friend's final moments of life. The scene cuts away to a cemetery, and Hillary's headstone. CC takes Victoria back to her home to settle Hillary's affairs.

After the funeral, CC reveals to Victoria that her mother wanted her to live with CC. CC admits that she is very selfish and has no idea what kind of a mother she will make, but she tells her, "there's nothing in the world that I want more, than to be with you". She then takes Victoria into her arms and the two console each other in their grief. Though there are other relatives who want to take Victoria (with the exception of Michael, still unwilling to accept his responsibilities as a parent), Victoria decides to go with CC.

CC returns to the Hollywood Bowlmarker to complete the concert that she was forced to postpone because of Hillary's illness, and we learn that CC Bloom now enjoys almost iconic status as a performer. After the show, she leaves the stage with Victoria in hand, and begins reciting tales of when she first met Hillary, just as Hillary had hoped she would. Victoria is enchanted with her new guardian's anecdotes.

CC's and Victoria's voices fade as we hear the younger CC and Hillary speak. "Make sure to keep in touch, OK CC?" "Well sure, we're friends aren't we?" The film ends with a clip from the start of the film of CC and Hillary taking silly pictures together in a photo booth, on the day they first met.


Awards and nominations

Included on the soundtrack was Bette Midler's performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings", which became an immediate smash hit. The song went on to win Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Albert Brenner and Garrett Lewis).


  • The beach house in the movie is located in Crystal Cove State Parkmarker.
  • Hector Elizondo makes a cameo as Justice of the Peace.
  • The library where Barbara Hershey researches her disease in is called Dennison Library. It is located at Scripps Collegemarker, a competitive women's liberal arts college in Claremont, Californiamarker. The library was originally designed to be a chapel before becoming a library, which is why it has such a unique and beautiful look.
  • The song about Otto Titsling, the inventor of the brassiere, was first introduced by Bette Midler on a 1985 album called Mud Will Be Flung Tonight.

Box office

The film took in $5,160,258 during its opening weekend - January 21, 1989. To date, it has grossed $57,041,866 domestically.


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