Bette Midler Movie List: The Top 5 Movies
The best movies with Bette Midler
The Divine Miss M, better known as Bette Midler, has had a long career in the entertainment business. Born and raised in Hawaii, after a short-lived college stint in theater, she decided to make her way to New York City. Arriving in 1965, she was able to find work in the musical theater and appeared in several productions. After 3 years in Fiddler on the Roof, and another 2 years in Salvation, she started singing at the Continental Baths where she met her accompanist and future producer Barry Manilow. Her shows there earned her a large fan base, and she released her first album in late 1972. The Divine Miss M was a platinum smash hit record, and it spawned several hit singles which propelled her musical career into overdrive. Over the rest of the decade she recorded 3 more albums and had her first television special. She became a movie star with her silver screen debut, The Rose, in 1979, and has been a success and a celebrity ever since. Here are her 5 best and most successful movies.
The Rose, 1979
Bette's film debut and the movie that launched her Hollywood career, this is a story that is supposedly loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin. Joplin died of an overdose of heroin in 1970 at the age of 27, and her tragic arc is a natural for a movie. The Rose stars Bette as the singer who lives the rock and roll lifestyle to the hilt, resulting in her own self-destruction. As a morality tale, it depicts the path that many other rock celebrities besides Joplin have followed, and warns against its excesses. The soundtrack from the movie became a huge smash as was the movie itself, and Bette had one of her biggest hits from it, called, naturally, The Rose.
Down and Out in Beverly Hills, 1985
After a few years' break, Bette signed up with Disney and started a run of successful comedic roles. Down and Out has a couple of distinctions besides displaying Bette's considerable comedy talent – it was the first Disney Studios production rated R, and it was a springboard for Little Richard, who has a small role in the film, to revitalize his career in rock and roll. The plot follows the efforts of a Beverly Hills couple (Midler and Richard Dreyfuss) to deal with a 20 year long marriage going stale. Into the fray comes a homeless guy (Nick Nolte) who tries to drown himself in their backyard swimming pool. The family befriends him and mayhem and character growth results. While Little Richard had a hit single from the soundtrack, Midler did not contribute any music.
Ruthless People, 1986
Costarring with Danny DeVito, Midler hit her comedic stride in this somewhat dark comedy, from the filmmakers who brought us Airplane and Naked Gun. A young couple plan a kidnapping of the wife of their ex-boss to exact revenge on him and make some money in the process. However, they discover that the boss (DeVito) will not pay the ransom. And in fact was concocting a plan for her demise by himself. Midler's character is cunningly drawn and her talent as a comedy actress is evident. The soundtrack album again had nothing by Midler, but featured a solo tune by Mick Jagger and a non-album cut by Bruce Springsteen.
Known as the ultimate tearjerker movie, the movie was a serious role for Midler. It was directed by Gary Marshall (Happy Days), and starred Barbara Hershey as the dying friend. Midler plays a successful singer, which may have inspired her to dominate the soundtrack. Her version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" was a huge smash hit and helped to make the somewhat maudlin movie a box office hit.
For the Boys, 1991
Harking back to the nostalgia kick of Midler's big hit, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, this movie tells the story of 2 entertainers who first meet while performing for the troops in World War II. Their lives intersect at various points over the years, culminating in a tearful reunion when they are both old and past their prime. Like The Rose, the plot was loosely based on the life of a singer – Martha Raye – who sued the movie makers for stealing her story. She lost th elawsuit, but the film was a big hit for Midler and a great showcase for her talents. She made no contributions to the soundtrack.
Bette Midler continues to be a force to reckon with. She has had successful shows in Las Vegas, and continues to make movies and recordings. Her list of great movies