50 First Dates

50 First Dates
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Segal
Produced by
Written byGeorge Wing
Music byTeddy Castellucci
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited byJeff Gourson
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 13, 2004 (2004-02-13)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$75 million[1]
Box office$198.5 million[1]

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and starring Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, Blake Clark, and Dan Aykroyd. It follows the story of Henry, a womanizing marine veterinarian who falls for an art teacher named Lucy. When he discovers she has amnesia and forgets him a day later, he resolves to win her over again each new day.

Most of the film was shot on location in Oahu, Hawaii, on the Windward side and the North Shore. Sandler and Barrymore won an MTV award for Best On Screen Team. The fictitious memory impairment suffered by Barrymore's character, "Goldfield's Syndrome", is similar to short-term memory loss and anterograde amnesia.


Henry Roth is a veterinarian at Sea Life Park on Oahu. His closest friends are Ula, a marijuana-smoking Islander; Alexa, his androgynous assistant; Willy, his pet African penguin; and Jocko, a walrus.

Henry's boat breaks down, so he goes to the Hukilau Café to wait for the Coast Guard. He sees Lucy Whitmore make architectural art with her waffles. Henry assumes she is a local, which prevents him from introducing himself, but the next day he comes back and has breakfast with her. Lucy asks to see him again the next morning.

The next day, Lucy shows no recollection of ever meeting him. The restaurant owner Sue explains to Henry that the year before, Lucy and her father Marlin went up to the North Shore to pick a pineapple for his birthday. On the way back, a car accident left Lucy with anterograde amnesia. To save her the heartbreak of reliving the accident, Marlin and Doug, Lucy's lisping steroid-addicted brother, re-enact Marlin's birthday.

Despite Sue's warning, Henry tries to get Lucy to have breakfast with him again. It ends poorly when Henry unintentionally hurts Lucy's feelings. At her house, Marlin and Doug instruct Henry to leave Lucy alone. Henry begins concocting ways to run into Lucy through the following days, during which he manages to successfully impress her over a series of "first" dates and "chance" encounters. Later, Marlin and Doug give their permission for Henry to continue when they discover Lucy regularly singing the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" in her painting studio – the first major change in her routine since the accident.

One day, as Henry is about to sit with Lucy at breakfast, she notices a police officer writing a ticket because of her expired plates. With the ruse exposed, Lucy is distressed to learn that her friends have maintained the charade for so long; however, in watching her reaction, Henry surmises that her strongest reactions are to feeling betrayed by her friends, not the actual memory loss.

Henry devises a new strategy to let Lucy know about the truth by creating a video with her friends to explain the situation calmly; rather than let her go through her pre-accident routine, they plant the video in her room with a note to play it when she first wakes up. The strategy works and allows Lucy to process the events while catching her up on current events, including her relationship to Henry. Henry and Lucy's relationship grows well using this method, and they continue to refine the process while enduring some humorous setbacks. However, when Lucy discovers that Henry has decided to cancel ten years' worth of planning for his research study of walruses in Bristol Bay to help manage her condition, she decides that they need to break up. Henry reluctantly helps her destroy her journal entries of their relationship and effectively "erase" their time together.

Some weeks later, Henry is preparing to leave for his research study. Before he goes, Marlin tells him that Lucy is now living at the institute and teaching an art class. As a parting gift, he gives Henry a Beach Boys CD which reminds him of Lucy. He soon realizes that Lucy's singing of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was not random, but occurred on days when they met together and indicates new learned memory retention. Henry abandons his trip and travels to the art class. While Lucy does not remember him, she reveals that she dreams about him every night and has been painting some of their adventures. They happily reconcile.

Some time later, Lucy wakes up and plays the tape marked "Good Morning Lucy". It again reminds her of her accident, but ends with her and Henry's wedding. From the tape, Henry says to put a jacket on and come have breakfast when she is ready. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry's boat, which finally made it to Alaska. She goes up on deck and meets Marlin, Henry and their young daughter, Nicole.


  • Adam Sandler as Henry Roth, a marine veterinarian with a habit of wooing women and a fear of commitment
  • Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore, Henry's love interest with short-term memory loss
  • Rob Schneider as Ula, Henry's marijuana-smoking, wealthy native Hawaiian assistant and best friend; he is unhappily married to an overweight native woman and has five young, athletically talented children
  • Sean Astin as Doug Whitmore, Lucy's older brother, a lisping, steroid-dependent bodybuilder
  • Blake Clark as Marlin Whitmore, Lucy's widowed father, a professional fisherman
  • Lusia Strus as Alexa, Henry's ambiguously gendered assistant
  • Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Joseph Keats, a physician specializing in brain disorders
  • Amy Hill as Sue, the Hukilau café manager and friend of Lucy and her late mother
  • Pomaika'i Brown as Nick, the Hukilau café chef
  • Allen Covert as Ten-Second Tom, a hospital patient with severe memory impairment
  • Missi Pyle as Noreen, a tax attorney Henry meets at a bar but then tries to fix up with Alexa
  • Maya Rudolph as Stacy, pregnant friend of Lucy's at the beach party
  • Lynn Collins as Linda
  • Kevin James as Factory worker


50 First Dates marked the second time Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (both pictured in 2014) have appeared together since The Wedding Singer.

On October 29, 2002, Variety reported that Columbia Pictures had bought a spec script from screenwriter George Wing, titled Fifty First Kisses, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore originally in negotiations to star in the lead roles.[2] Barrymore was sold on the script and wrote Sandler a letter suggesting it as their next film together since The Wedding Singer.[3] Sandler joined the cast in December 2002, and was announced as co-producer under his film studio Happy Madison Productions along with Steve Golin's Anonymous Content.[4] Sandler then recommended the script to director Peter Segal while they were working post-production on Anger Management. Segal agreed to direct, leaving him with only two days of break from work before filming.[3] The director revealed that the studio had changed the original title to 50 First Dates because "marketing found that the term 'kisses' was turning off guys".[5]

While the script is primarily credited to George Wing, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Tim Herlihy, and Allen Covert did uncredited rewrites on it as well.[4][6] Adam Sandler had also reworked the script, significantly transforming its genre from drama to comedy.[7] Additional changes Sandler made to the script include moving its setting from Seattle to Hawaii and rewriting a decent amount of interior scenes that takes place in a café. Director Peter Segal felt these scenes were "very claustrophobic" as well as derivative of My Dinner with Andre, encouraging Sandler to rewrite these and move the location to the Kualoa Ranch.[5] Sandler said that shooting in Hawaii "just seemed like the very best possible place to do it for many different reasons. You don't see many movies [set] there, so it was a great experience to film in a different locale. And it is such a spectacularly beautiful place for a romantic comedy."[8]

Most of the film was shot on location in Kaneohe, Kaʻaʻawa, Wahiawa, Makapuʻu, Waimānalo, and Honolulu, as well as in Kāneʻohe Bay in 2003.[9] The Hukilau Cafe where Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler had breakfast each morning is still standing at Kualoa Ranch,[10] as well as the roadway and gate in the valley where they met each day. Due to the high cost of filming outside of the studio zone, some interior scenes (such as inside the Whitmore residence) were shot on sets in Los Angeles carefully decorated to look like they were in Hawaii.[9]


50 First Dates: Love songs from the Original Motion Picture
50 First Dates cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 3, 2004 (2004-02-03)
GenreSka, reggae, new wave
LabelMaverick Records
ProducerNick Hexum

The soundtrack contains cover versions of songs that were originally recorded in the 1980s. This includes mostly reggae-style covers. It was a moderate commercial hit, reaching number 30 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on the Top Soundtracks chart and Top Reggae Albums chart in the United States.

Despite being prominently featured in the film, neither Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" nor the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" was included on the soundtrack.

The soundtrack was produced by 311's frontman, Nick Hexum. 311 provided a cover of the Cure's "Lovesong" for the soundtrack. It is heard over the film's end credits.

1."Hold Me Now" (Thompson Twins)Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, Joe LeewayWayne Wonder4:12
2."Lovesong" (The Cure)Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Pearl Thompson, Boris Williams, Roger O'Donnell3113:28
3."Lips Like Sugar" (Echo & the Bunnymen)Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les PattinsonSeal featuring Mikey Dread5:00
4."Your Love (L.O.V.E. Reggae Mix)" (The Outfield)John SpinksWyclef Jean featuring Eve4:13
5."Drive" (The Cars)Ric OcasekZiggy Marley of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers4:26
6."True" (Spandau Ballet)Gary Kempwill.i.am and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas3:47
7."Slave to Love" (Bryan Ferry)FerryElan Atias featuring Gwen Stefani4:24
8."Every Breath You Take" (The Police)StingUB403:55
9."The Ghost in You" (The Psychedelic Furs)Richard Butler, Tim ButlerMark McGrath of Sugar Ray4:24
10."Friday I'm in Love" (The Cure)Smith, Gallup, Thompson, Williams, Perry BamonteDryden Mitchell of Alien Ant Farm3:01
11."Breakfast in Bed" (Dusty Springfield)Eddie Hinton, Donnie FrittsNicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls3:22
12."I Melt with You" (Modern English)Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Stephen Walker, Michael Conroy, Richard BrownJason Mraz3:36
13."Forgetful Lucy"Sandler, Allen Covert, Tim HerlihyAdam Sandler1:53
Total length:49:37
Other songs in the film

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 45% based on 176 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 5.41/10. The website's consensus states, "Gross-out humor overwhelms the easy chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who bring some energy and yucks to this tale of a girl with short-term memory loss and the guy who tries to get her to love him."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48% based on 38 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[12] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on scale of A to F.[13]

Critics who enjoyed the film (such as The New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott) praised the uplifting story while lamenting the seemingly excessive and incongruous amount of crude humor and drug references.[14] Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars, saying "The movie is sort of an experiment for Sandler. He reveals the warm side of his personality, and leaves behind the hostility, anger and gross-out humor... The movie doesn't have the complexity and depth of Groundhog Day... but as entertainment it's ingratiating and lovable."[15] Rex Reed was more negative in his review for The New York Observer, calling the film "stupid, coarse and abysmally unfunny" while singling out offensive humor about brain damage.[16]

Sandler and Barrymore won the award for Best On-Screen Team at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. The two actors, who had previously worked together in the film The Wedding Singer, are said to regard 50 First Dates as one of their favorite collaborations as professional "soul mates".[17]

Depiction of amnesia

In an article in The BMJ on depictions of amnesia in film, clinical neuropsychologist Sallie Baxendale writes that 50 First Dates "maintains a venerable movie tradition of portraying an amnesic syndrome that bears no relation to any known neurological or psychiatric condition".[18]

In 2010, researchers described a woman who developed the kind of memory impairment after she was involved in a car accident. She described that her memory was normal for events on the same day and that overnight memories for the previous day were lost. However, a neuropsychological test did reveal some improvement in recall for tasks which she had, unknowingly, performed the previous day. Though the woman claimed not to have seen 50 First Dates prior to her 2005 accident (but has watched it several times since), she stated that Drew Barrymore was her favorite actress, leading researchers to conclude that her condition might have been influenced by some knowledge of the film's plot, and its impact upon her understanding of amnesia.[19]

In July 2015, two people were discovered to have a form of anterograde amnesia that resembles the one depicted in the movie. One is a man in the UK, originally from Germany. He wakes up every day thinking it is March 14, 2005, because that is the day he underwent anesthesia for a dental procedure which led to this condition as a rare, unexplained complication (however, his anterograde amnesia, like that of others with the condition, causes him to forget facts not daily, but within 90 minutes).[20] The other is a woman who reportedly believes every day is October 15, 2014. She used to be a pub manager and was visiting Kettering General Hospital for a kickboxing injury when she slipped and hit her head on a metal pole.[21][22]

Real world application

The Hebrew Home of Riverdale, Bronx, has started an experimental program in which residents with early dementia watch a video every morning in which they see comforting messages and reminders from family members that they may still know. After April 2015, the program may include more residents. Robert Abrams of NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital considered this idea "both innovative and thoughtful." Charlotte Dell, director of social services for the home, said the program was inspired by 50 First Dates.[23]


  1. ^ a b "50 First Dates". The Numbers. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Harris, Dana (October 29, 2002). "Col Pix plants 'Kisses'". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Russell, Jamie (October 28, 2014). "50 First Dates — Peter Segal". BBC. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Harris, Dana (December 8, 2002). "Columbia puckers up for 'Kisses'". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Slnha-Roy, lya (February 18, 2019). "50 First Dates wasn't originally set in Hawaii — and had a completely different ending". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "50 First Dates - Credits". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  7. ^ Jacobs, Matthew (May 22, 2014). "Why Drew Barrymore Loves Making Movies With Adam Sandler". Entertainment. The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  8. ^ "50 First Dates". CinemaReview. Archived from the original on November 23, 2018. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "A LocationsHub Movie Marathon: Escape to Hawaii". LocationsHub. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  10. ^ Rellihan, Kathleen (November 3, 2015). "Picture-Perfect Movie Locations To Visit on Your Next Trip to Hawaii". Travel+Leisure. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  11. ^ "50 First Dates (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "50 First Dates reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  13. ^ "50 FIRST DATES (2004) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  14. ^ Scott, A.O. (February 13, 2004). "FILM REVIEW; A Love That's Forever, If Only for a Day". New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 13, 2004). "50 First Dates". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  16. ^ Reed, Rex (February 24, 2004). "Wish I Could Forget 50 First Dates". The New York Observer. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Bonos, Lisa (November 5, 2015). "Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, professional soul mates". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Baxendale, Sallie (December 18, 2004). "Memories aren't made of this: amnesia at the movies". BMJ. 329 (7480): 1480–1483. doi:10.1136/bmj.329.7480.1480. PMC 535990. PMID 15604191.
  19. ^ Christine N. Smith; Jennifer C. Frascino; Donald L. Kripke; Paul R. McHugh; Glenn J. Treisman; Larry R. Squire (May 2010). "Losing memories overnight: a unique form of human amnesia". Neuropsychologia. 48 (10): 2833–40. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.05.025. PMC 2914200. PMID 20493889.
  20. ^ Sarah Kaplan (17 July 2015). "Reverse Groundhog Day: U.K. man wakes up every day thinking it's March 14, 2005 and doctors have no idea why". National Post.
  21. ^ Plymouth Herald (17 July 2015). "Groundhog Day: Woman with rare amnesia wakes up thinking every day is October 15, 2014". Plymouth Herald. Archived from the original on 2015-07-21.
  22. ^ "Amnesia sufferer Nikki Pegram loses benefit". BBC. 8 September 2015.
  23. ^ Jim Fitzgerald (20 April 2015). "Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients". NBC New York. Associated Press.

External links


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