Owen Roizman

The Addams Family (1991) - Barry Sonnenfeld


The Addams Family (85)

Another great feature for the holidays! It's not necessarily a Christmas movie, but it feels that way. Gather the family around for this one.

Directed by    Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by    Scott Rudin
Written by    
Caroline Thompson
Larry Wilson
Based on    The Addams Family
by Charles Addams
Anjelica Huston
Raúl Juliá
Christopher Lloyd
Music by    Marc Shaiman
Cinematography    Owen Roizman
Edited by    Dede Allen

Orion Pictures
Distributed by    Paramount Pictures
(North America and Latin America)
Orion Pictures
(International, 1991-1997)
(International, 1997-current)
Release date
November 22, 1991
Running time
99 minutes
Country    United States
Language    English
Budget    $30 million
Box office    $191.5 million


The Addams Family is a dark comedy from 1991. It was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starred Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci. The film is based on the old Addams Family cartoon from Charles Addams and the television program from the sixties. I’ve loved this film since my childhood. The humor is perfect. It’s the perfect mix of tame dark comedy that hasn’t suffered from age. While it isn’t a Holiday Film, it still stands a great comfort film that the entire family can enjoy. I lump this in with a lot of Christmas pictures and it doesn’t feel out of place.

The Addams Family are Gomez and Morticia. Their children, Wednesday and Pugsley. Morticia’s mother, Granny. Their butler Lurch and their hand, Thing. They are a rich but very strange family who appears to be a thorn in the side of the community they live with. The Addams’ lawyer, Tully Alford Esq. swindles the family out of their savings, a large cache of gold doubloons that makes up the entire Addams fortune. Tully is assisted in this rouse by a loan-shark, Abigail Craven and her “son” Gordon. Gordon closely resembles the long-lost Addams Family member, Fester Addams, and the duo use this to their advantage. Using Gordon to infiltrate the Addams’ estate and lead them to the riches. Only the problem is that “Gordon” is feeling more and more at home.  

This movie is written so well and the acting is awesome! The dramatic scenes can touch you while bringing a smile to your face. Everyone hits their mark, Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia are enchanting as Morticia and Gomez Addams. Their chemistry on screen is so real. My favorite character was that of Christopher Lloyd as the insane Fester Addams. Lloyd steals the show. Scenes with Fester coaching the young Pugsley and Wednesday are top notch. Its heart-warming to watch his admiration of their grotesque school talent show performance. 

The style of the film reminds me a lot of Burton’s quirky gothic esthetic. It felt like Barry Sonnenfeld had borrowed from Beetlejuice and the more recent, Edward Scissorhands. The effects were handled by Tony Gardner (127 Hours, Seed of Chucky) and are really good. Thing was, a great example of that. The scenes with Thing running around town and delivering for FedEx are great. It’s interesting to note that most of this movie was filmed on the same set as the original Addams Family television show. Also, Nineties Pop Rapper, MC Hammer contributed to the films soundtrack with The Addams Groove. A music video was produced and played before the film during the early theatrical run. It’s horrible. 

The Addams Family is a fantastically weird comfort film that leaves you entertained. I recommend this movie to everyone that hasn’t seen it. The characters might not be familiar, but it’s guaranteed to make you smile and laugh. Each member of the family brings their own bit of hilarity to the picture. Its heavily detailed and I keep finding new things to appreciate with each viewing. 


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