Last Updated on: October 18th, 2023

Stella (Touchstone Movie)

“Stella” is a 1990 drama film directed by John Erman. The movie is a remake of the 1925 film “Stella Dallas” and is based on the 1923 novel “Stella Dallas” by Olive Higgins Prouty. The film stars Bette Midler in the titular role of Stella Claire, a working-class woman striving for a better life for herself and her daughter.

The story revolves around Stella, a brash and vivacious woman who grew up in a poor neighborhood. Determined to escape her humble origins, she marries Stephen Dallas (Stephen Collins), a successful lawyer from a wealthy family. However, their marriage faces challenges due to their differing social backgrounds and personalities.

Stella becomes a devoted mother to their daughter, Jenny (Trini Alvarado), but as Jenny grows older, Stella realizes that her daughter would have more opportunities and a better life if she were raised by Stephen and his refined family. Consequently, Stella makes a heartbreaking sacrifice and chooses to step back from Jenny’s life, allowing her to be raised in the Dallas family’s luxurious and privileged environment.

Despite her absence, Stella remains a constant presence in Jenny’s life, secretly watching her from a distance and making personal sacrifices to ensure Jenny’s happiness and success. As Jenny becomes an accomplished and sophisticated young woman, Stella grapples with her own feelings of longing and unfulfilled dreams.

Bette Midler’s portrayal of Stella is powerful and heartfelt, capturing the character’s passion, determination, and love for her daughter. Trini Alvarado delivers a compelling performance as Jenny, effectively depicting the emotional complexities of her character as she navigates between her two worlds.

“Stella” explores themes of sacrifice, class divisions, and the profound love of a mother for her child. The film delves into the complexity of relationships and the challenges faced by individuals from different social backgrounds trying to find common ground and understanding.

While “Stella” received mixed reviews from critics upon its release, Bette Midler’s performance earned praise, and the film remains appreciated for its touching and emotional storytelling. The movie’s exploration of maternal love and the sacrifices parents make for their children continues to resonate with audiences, making “Stella” a memorable and timeless touchstone film.

Additional Details


  • Bette Midler: Stella Claire
  • John Goodman: Ed Munn
  • Trini Alvarado: Jenny Claire
  • Ashley Peldon: Jenny (age 3)
  • Alisan Porter: Jenny (age 8)
  • Stephen Collins: Stephen Dallas
  • Marsha Mason: Janice Morrison
  • Eileen Brennan: Mrs. Wilkerson
  • Linda Hart: Debbie Whitman
  • Ben Stiller: Jim Uptegrove
  • William McNamara: Pat Robbins


  • Director: John Erman
  • Producer: Smauel Goldwyn Jr
  • Screenplay: Robert Getchell

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and