Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Wild at Heart (1990)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Wild at Heart (1990)

In writer/director David Lynch's R-rated Wizard of Oz-related, neo-noirish lovers-on-the-run road film - and a cult arthouse romance film - the winner of the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or; it was based on the 1990 novel by Barry Gifford, part one of a series of Sailor and Lula stories, entitled Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula:

  • during the opening title credits, a simple wooden stick match ignited and became a blast furnace of blazing heat, emphasizing one of the film's themes - pyromania; it told about two sex-crazed, star-crossed lovers who went on the run westward from North Carolina
  • the two lovers were: Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage), a 23 year-old, Elvis-loving bad-boy, who claimed his snakeskin jacket was "a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom," and Lula Pace Fortune (Laura Dern), a sex-loving, blonde, horny, 20 year-old southern girl, Sailor's girlfriend, nicknamed "Peanut"; she described to Sailor how she had been sexually abused and raped at age 13 by her father's business partner "Uncle Pooch" (Marvin Kaplan) - and had an abortion
  • according to Lula's deranged mother Marietta Fortune (Best Supporting Actress-nominated Diane Ladd, Laura Dern's real mother), Lula's father Clyde had allegedly died in a self-immolating suicide, although in reality, he was murdered by Marietta's hired gangster-friend Marcelles Santos (J. E. Freeman). Her cackling mother was complicit and witnessed the killing. Marietta was compared to the Wicked Witch by Lula, and Sailor called her a "piece of white trash." Marietta feared that since Sailor had been a "driver" for Marcelles, he would know that Clyde's death was homicide and that Marietta was responsible

Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage)

Lula Pace Fortune (Laura Dern)

Marietta Fortune (Diane Ladd)
  • the film opened in Cape Fear in southeastern NC, where Sailor and Lula were at a dance hall. Sailor was confronted by switchblade-wielding, African-American hired killer Bob Ray Lemon (Gregg Dandridge), and wrongly accused of propositioning Lula's crazed, monstrous, vindictive and obsessed mother Marietta Fortune in the dance hall's restroom: ("Crazy f--kin' bad boy, tryin' to f--k your girl's Mama!"). Sailor immediately fought back against the accusation and viciously killed Bob Ray in public view, and subsequently was charged with manslaughter
  • [Note: The truth (revealed later) was that Marietta had drunkenly attempted to seduce Sailor in the men's restroom in the dance hall: ("Sailor boy! How'd you like to f--k Lula's Mama?...Lula's Mama would like to f--k you"), but he rejected her. Humiliated, Marietta became fixated with jealousy over Sailor's interest in Lula and took revenge. She threatened Sailor: "I'm gonna cut your balls off and feed 'em to ya." She immediately hired Bob Ray Lemon to keep Sailor away from her daughter. After Bob Ray's death, Marietta warned and reprimanded Lula that she must never see Sailor again: "And you know you aren't, and I mean are not gonna see him ever. End of story."]
  • Sailor served almost two years of a prison term in the Pee Dee Correctional Institution. When he was released from prison, Lula disobediently and happily picked up Sailor in her convertible and they drove to a room at the Cape Fear Hotel to make passionate love. Sailor proposed breaking his parole and heading westward with Lulu to California to escape Lula's domineering mother
  • back for a night of dancing on the Cape Fear dance floor, Sailor fought off a suitor who inappropriately approached Lula, and then serenaded her with Elvis' "Love Me." Later during further hot love-making in their hotel room, he vowed that he would only sing his favorite Elvis love song: "Love Me Tender" to his future wife. The next morning, she told him she had visions of the Wicked Witch of the East flying in. He responded: "The way your head works is God's own private mystery." As they smoked cigarettes in bed, Lula told him: "You remind me of my Daddy, you know. Mama told me he liked skinny women with breasts that stood up and said 'Hello'."
  • Lula's persistent mother Marietta hired two others to hunt down and retrieve Lula and get rid of Sailor:
    • Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton), a level-headed private detective, Marietta's part-time boyfriend
    • Marcelles Santos (J. E. Freeman), a cold, menacing, and evil criminal gangster/assassin accompanying Farragut; another of Marietta's boyfriends; he had helped Marietta get rid of her husband Clyde by setting him on fire (a fact known by Sailor)
Some of the Notorious Minor Characters

Johnnie Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton)

Marcelles Santos (J. E. Freeman)

"Mr. Reindeer" (W. Morgan Sheppard)

Juana (Grace Zabriskie)

Perdita Durango (Isabella Rossellini)

Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe)
  • during their early search for the fugitives, Marcelles contacted his mysterious, decadent crime mob boss "Mr. Reindeer" (W. Morgan Sheppard) (pictured on the toilet with a topless dancer and then with two topless handmaidens or valets), who then communicated (via a symbolic reference to two 'silver dollars' or hits) to an unseen voodoo woman - handicapped Juana (Grace Zabriskie). The job was to eliminate two individuals: Farragut (to prevent him from learning more about their dubious and illicit criminal activities) and Sailor
  • after Sailor and Lula entered New Orleans and had sex in their hotel room, she complimented him on his love-making skills, with a Wizard of Oz reference:

    "Sometimes, Sail', when we're makin' love, you just about take me right over that rainbow. You are so aware of what goes on with me, I mean, you pay attention. And I swear, baby, you got the sweetest cock. It's like it's talkin' to me when you're inside. Like it's got this little voice all its own. You get right on me."

  • in the back of a night-club bar known as Robbie's in New Orleans during their fugitive flight, Sailor recalled and described to Lula (in order to excite her) an especially memorable sexual encounter he once had as a 'bad boy' with Irma (Charlie Spradling) when he was visiting his cousin, Junior Train, in Savannah:

    "When she got almost to the top step, I stuck my hand between her legs from behind...Man, I had a boner with a capital O. Anyway, I found her lyin' in her room filled with assault weapons and 'Spankhouse' magazines, so I slid my hand between her legs again and she closed her thighs on it....Well, her face was half-pushed into the pillow, and I remember she looked back over her shoulder at me and said, 'I won't suck you. Don't ask me to suck you.'...Anyway, dig this. She turns over, peels off them orange pants, spreads her legs real wide and says to me: 'Take a bite of Peach'."

  • in response, Lula urged him: "Jesus, honey! You more than sort of got what you come for. Uh, oh. Baby, you'd better run me back to the hotel. You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt." Sailor replied: "Say no more, but go easy on me, sweetheart. Tomorrow we got a lot of drivin' to do." After another bout of feverish love-making, Lula speculated: "Wouldn't it be fabulous if we someway stayed in love for the rest of our lives?...It'd make the future so simple and nice."
  • meanwhile, Mr. Reindeer complied and carried through with Santos' request to murder Farragut, causing Marietta to go crazy with fear for hiring him - she painted her entire face with red lipstick, and called Farragut to announce her arrival in New Orleans the next evening. However, it was arranged with Mr. Reindeer's henchmen Reggie (Calvin Lockhart), Dropshadow (David Patrick Kelly) and Juana to capture and kill Farragut in New Orleans. He was assaulted in his hotel room, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered (a gunshot to the back of the head) by the group led by Juana
  • during their car journey westward somewhere in rural Texas (on a metaphoric "Yellow Brick Road"), Sailor and Lula came upon an ominous car accident - and a dying and bloody car wreck victim Julie Day (Sherilyn Fenn) who was confused and complained about "sticky stuff in my hair" (unaware that she had blood in her hair), and that she couldn't find a bobby pin, her wallet or her purse before she collapsed and died in front of them
  • in Big Tuna, TX, Sailor spoke to an old associate - bleached-blonde Perdita Durango (Isabella Rossellini) - who confirmed to Sailor that Marietta and Santos had together conspired to immolate Lula's father, and that they believed Sailor knew of their crime. Perdita was the Mexican mistress of psychotic, hot-headed ex-Marine and no-good hitman Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe) (with rotten teeth). Lula revealed her pregnancy and morning sickness to Sailor, who promised he wouldn't let things get any worse
  • in a tense sequence, Bobby sexually threatened and assaulted Lula in her motel room after crudely taunting her:

    "Ya know, I sure do like a girl with nice tits like yours who talks tough and looks like she can f--k like a bunny. Do you f--k like that, huh? Do ya f--k it like a bunny? Cause if ya do, baby, I'll f--k ya good. Like a big ol' jackrabbit bunny, jump all around that hole. Bobby Peru don't come up for air."

    He caused her to be extremely traumatized by their encounter (when he asked "Am I scarin' ya? Is your pussy wet? Is it wet?"), and then demanded that she say: "F--k me!" But then after groping her down her entire body and her weak whispering of the two words, he humiliated and pushed her away: ("Someday honey I will — but I gotta get goin'"). As he left, Lula clicked her red-slippered heels together multiple times (another Oz reference) and burst into tears
  • afterwards, Bobby urged Sailor to join him to rob a feedstore in Lobo, TX, by convincing Sailor that he needed "easy money" now that Lula was pregnant: "Really could set you and that little lady up good." Sailor agreed: "That kinda money will get us a long way down that Yellow Brick Road." Sailor was unaware that it was part of Bobby's plan to make sure that he didn't survive the robbery due to a "bad accident" (by providing him with a gun loaded with blanks). Lula was suspicious that Sailor was speaking to "black angel" Peru: "This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top. I wish you'd sing me 'Love Me Tender'. Oh, I wish I was somewhere over that rainbow."
  • during the aborted heist with Perdita serving as the getaway driver, after Bobby had shot and seriously wounded the two feedstore employees, he raced outside and was shot multiple times by an alert police officer. As he fell to his knees, the wounded Bobby experienced a startling death when he blew off his own head with his sawed-off shotgun. Unharmed, Sailor was arrested by police, and knew he had let down Lula. He was sentenced to serve a prison term (of almost six years). Marietta arrived at the police station with Santos to fly Lula back home to North Carolina
  • in the final scene set almost six years later, Sailor was released from prison after serving his time, and was greeted by Lula at the train depot in Los Angeles (she had relocated there), now with their infant child named "Pace" (Glenn Walker Harris Jr.). After driving off a short distance, Sailor had decided that it was a "mistake" to get together again with her and raise a family, since he felt he wasn't good enough for her. He referenced "The Cisco Kid" and "Pancho" in his decision, and told Pace:

    "If ever somethin' don't feel right to you, remember what Pancho said to the Cisco Kid: 'Let's win, before we're dancing at the end of a rope, without music.'"

  • as he left them and walked away back to the train depot on foot, he was surrounded, assaulted and knocked out by nine gang members after he derided them as faggots: ("What do you faggots want?"). During unconsciousness, he received an hallucinatory visitation from the Good Witch (Sheryl Lee). Although he was "wild at heart," she advised: "If you are truly wild at heart, you'll fight for your dreams." She urged him to remain with Lula: "Don't turn away from love, Sailor. Don't turn away from love."

Sailor Knocked Unconscious by Gang

Sailor's Visitation by the Good Witch (Sheryl Lee)

Sailor Serenading Lula with "Love Me Tender"
  • Sailor apologized to his dumbfounded gang attackers for calling them homosexuals: "You've taught me a valuable lesson in life." The film ended with an ironic, cliched happy ending, when Sailor had a change of heart, ran back to Lula driving away in her convertible but stuck in traffic, and told her: "I just met the Good Witch." He reunited with her - singing "Love Me Tender."

Sailor and Lula's Love-Making at the Cape Fear Hotel

Mr. Reindeer With a Prostitute-Dancer (Lisa Ann Cabasa)

Mr. Reindeer's Resident Valets (Mia M. Ruiz and Valli Leigh)

Sailor and Lula in New Orleans

Sailor's Tale in New Orleans About Irma (Charlie Spradling): "Take a bite of peach"

Lula: "You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt"

Lula's Psychopathically-Crazed Mother Marietta

On Their Road-Trip - in San Antonio, TX

The Injured and Dying Car Accident Victim

Lula's Revelation to Sailor: "I'm pregnant"

Bobby Peru's Sexual Taunting and Attack on Lula

Lula Clicking Red Heels Together

Death Scene of Bobby Peru

Sailor Arrested and Jailed

Marietta Retrieving Lula

Sailor Greeted at Train Station by Lula and Pace


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z