Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Accidental Tourist (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Accidental Tourist (1988)

In director Lawrence Kasdan's quirky, award-winning romantic drama:

  • the character of fastidious, withdrawn travel guide writer Macon Leary (William Hurt) who was emotionally numbed by the violent shooting death of his son Ethan (Seth Granger) in a fast-food restaurant robbery - including his subsequent divorce from wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner)
  • his painful flashback in which he identified his son's body with a flat, drained confirmation: "Yes, that is my son"
  • also the many forward attempts of wacky dog trainer and flirtatious single mother Muriel Pritchett (Best Supporting Actress winner Geena Davis) (who was tending Macon's spunky Corgi named Edward) to date the oblivious Macon, offering more than dog training (Muriel: "Or just call for no reason. Call and talk." Macon: "Talk?" Muriel: "Sure! Talk about Edward, his problems. Talk about anything. Just pick up the phone and talk. Don't you ever get the urge to do that?" Macon: "Not really")
  • the moving scene in which he attempted to break off a dinner date with Muriel by a written note - and then when he tried, awkwardly in person, to explain his loss and his reasons for not wanting to get close: ("I can't go to dinner with people, I can't. I can't talk to their little boys. You have to stop asking me. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I'm just not up to this"), and her comforting hug followed by a non-sexual invitation to go upstairs to her bed to sleep - and her response of "I'm bashful" when he asked her to remove her gown next to him
  • and then later, the tearjerking finale in Paris when Macon (on his way to DeGaulle airport) after breaking up once and for all with Sarah and telling her that he was returning to Muriel: ("I tried but I can't make this work...I'm beginning to think it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them")
  • after he was helped into a taxi by a blonde French-speaking boy (Gregory Gouyer) who strongly resembled Ethan, he spotted Muriel leaving the hotel (whom he'd repeatedly spurned while in Paris)
  • the film ended with their mutual shocked reactions (Muriel's delighted and smiling reaction and Macon's teary-eyed look and half-smile) when she saw him in the back seat of the taxi that he had ordered stopped by her

Travel Guide Writer Macon Leary Identifying Dead Son

Muriel Pritchett
(Geena Davis)

Hug with Muriel

Muriel and Macon in Paris


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