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Fried Green Tomatoes (movie)

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Fried Green Tomatoes
Directed by Jon Avnet
Produced by Jon Avnet
Norman Lear
Written by Fannie Flagg
Carol Sobieski
Starring Kathy Bates
Jessica Tandy
Mary-Louise Parker
Mary Stuart Masterson
Music by Jo Jo Hailey
K-Ci Hailey
Thomas Newman
Cinematography Geoffrey Simpson
Edited by Debra Neil-Fisher
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date
December 27, 1991
Running time
136 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 American drama movie directed by Jon Avnet. It is set in 1920s and 1980s Birmingham, Alabama and is based on a novel by Fannie Flagg called Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The movie stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson.


In Birmingham, Alabama, a woman called Evelyn goes to a nursing home to visit her mother-in-law and meets an elderly woman called Ninny. They become friends. Ninny tells Evelyn stories about when she was younger, and about the people she used to know. In particular, she tells Evelyn about two young women, Idgie and Ruth.

In Ninny's stories, Idgie and Ruth are friends who run a café together and raise Ruth's son Buddy. Ruth has separated from her husband Frank because he used to hit her. One day, Frank goes missing and the police begin to think that Idgie has killed him.

Ninny tells Evelyn her stories over several visits. During that time, Evelyn, who was depressed, is inspired by Ruth and Idgie to have more power in her life. In the end, Ninny goes to live with Evelyn and her husband. There is a hint that Ninny and Idgie might be the same person.


Differences from the novel

There are some differences between the movie and the novel it was made from. In the movie they may be just friends.[1] The director, John Avnet said that he wanted viewers to make up their own minds. In one part of the movie, Idgie and Ruth have a food fight. Avnet said that the food fight is symbolic of love-making.[2] When it was released, some critics and activists were angry that the part of the story had been "glossed over".[1][3] Even though the content had been hidden, the movie won an award from the & Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for best feature movie with content.[4]

Another difference is that at the end of the movie, it seems possible that Ninny is really Idgie. In the novel, they are completely separate characters and are sisters-in-law.


The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards and two BAFTA awards.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rockler, Naomi R. (2001-03-22). Women's Studies in Communication 24. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  2. DVD commentary
  3. Levy, Emanuel (2006-01-06). "Fried Green Tomatoes". Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  4. Pryor, Kelli; Sharon Isaak (1992-02-28). "Women in Love". Entertainment Weekly.,,309690,00.html.
  5. "Fried Green Tomatoes - Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-19.

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