The Cemetery Club

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

The Cemetery Club (Touchstone Movie)

“The Cemetery Club” is a heartwarming comedy-drama film released in 1993, directed by Bill Duke and based on the play of the same name by Ivan Menchell. The movie revolves around the lives of three widowed friends who come together to cope with loss, find companionship, and rediscover the joys of life.

The three main characters are Esther Moskowitz (Ellen Burstyn), Doris Silverman (Olympia Dukakis), and Lucille Rubin (Diane Ladd). Each of them has recently lost their husbands and visits the cemetery regularly to pay respects to their late spouses. They eventually form a close-knit club, calling themselves “The Cemetery Club.”

Esther, the most pragmatic of the trio, is adjusting to her new life but is reluctant to let go of her husband’s memory. Doris, on the other hand, is eager to move on and open herself up to new relationships, much to Esther’s dismay. Lucille, a bubbly and flirtatious woman, enjoys the attention she receives from the opposite sex but struggles with feelings of guilt over potentially betraying her husband’s memory.

As the story unfolds, the three friends navigate the complexities of grief, friendship, and finding love in unexpected places. Their camaraderie is both heartwarming and humorous, providing laughter and support as they each explore different paths to healing and renewal.

Their lives take an unexpected turn when Sam (Danny Aiello), a charming and kind-hearted gentleman, enters the picture. Sam shows a romantic interest in Esther, sparking jealousy and conflicting emotions within the group. The dynamics of the friendship are put to the test as they grapple with the complexities of moving forward while honoring their pasts.

“The Cemetery Club” offers a touching exploration of the human experience, with themes of friendship, love, and the universal struggle to reconcile grief and forge new connections. The film masterfully balances moments of humor and lightheartedness with poignant and introspective scenes, making it a heartfelt and relatable portrayal of life’s joys and sorrows.

The film’s ensemble cast delivers outstanding performances, with Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis, and Diane Ladd portraying their characters with authenticity and depth. Danny Aiello’s portrayal of Sam adds a charming and tender element to the narrative, making him a perfect match for the three women in their journey of self-discovery.

“The Cemetery Club” continues to be cherished as a touchstone film, not only for its exceptional performances and engaging storytelling but also for its celebration of the enduring bonds of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of loss and new beginnings.

Additional Details


  • Ellen Burstyn: Esther Moskowitz
  • Olympia Dukakis: Doris Silverman
  • Diane Ladd: Lucille Rubin
  • Danny Aiello: Ben Katz
  • Lainie Kazan: Selma
  • Jeff Howell: Paul
  • Christina Ricci: Jessica
  • Bernie Casey: John
  • Wallace Shawn: Larry
  • Catherine Keener: Esther’s Daughter


  • Director: Bill Duke
  • Producers: Howard Hurst, David Brown, Sophie Hurst, Philip Rose and Bonnie Palef
  • Writer: Ivan Menchell

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 site isDMR.