Shaine Darcy

Written by Shaine Darcy

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Only the Lonely is a heartwarming romantic comedy movie released in 1991. Directed by Chris Columbus and starring John Candy, Maureen O’Hara, and Ally Sheedy, the film tells the story of a shy and devoted Chicago cop, Danny Muldoon, who lives with his overprotective Irish mother. As he navigates through life and his blossoming romance with a funeral parlor worker named Theresa, Danny must overcome the challenges posed by his mother’s interference.

With its unique blend of humor, touching moments, and memorable performances, Only the Lonely has become a cherished classic in the romantic comedy genre. In this article, we will delve into 33 interesting facts about the movie, from behind-the-scenes trivia to the impact it had on the cast and crew. So, grab some popcorn and get ready to discover fascinating details about this beloved film.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only the Lonely is a heartwarming romantic comedy set in Chicago, exploring love, family, and the journey of self-discovery. It’s a timeless film that continues to touch the hearts of audiences.
  • The movie features John Candy’s versatile performance, a vibrant Irish-American culture, and a balance of humor and heartfelt moments. It reminds us of the power of love and the importance of self-acceptance.
Table of Contents

Only the Lonely was released in 1991.

Directed by Chris Columbus, this heartfelt romantic comedy quickly captured the hearts of audiences around the world.

The film stars John Candy as the lead character.

Known for his comedic timing and lovable personality, Candy delivers a memorable performance in Only the Lonely.

Maureen O’Hara plays the role of Candy’s overprotective mother.

O’Hara’s portrayal adds depth and complexity to the film, creating an endearing mother-son dynamic.

Only the Lonely is set in Chicago.

The film beautifully showcases the city’s landmarks and provides a rich backdrop for the story.

The movie explores themes of love, family, and self-discovery.

Only the Lonely delves into the complexities of relationships and the journey of finding oneself amidst societal expectations.

Chris Columbus wrote the screenplay for Only the Lonely.

Columbus’s script effectively blends humor and heart, creating a well-rounded and engaging story.

Only the Lonely received positive reviews from critics.

The film was praised for its genuine performances, heartfelt moments, and relatable storytelling.

It was a box office success.

Only the Lonely resonated with audiences, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 1991.

The movie features a memorable soundtrack.

The musical score and carefully chosen songs enhance the emotional impact of the film.

Only the Lonely showcases the vibrancy of Irish-American culture.

The film celebrates the traditions and values of the Irish-American community, adding depth to the characters and their relationships.

John Candy’s performance was praised by critics.

Candy’s ability to effortlessly transition between comedy and drama showcased his versatility as an actor.

Only the Lonely tackles themes of loneliness and longing for connection.

The film explores the universal human experience of yearning for love and acceptance.

The movie has a strong supporting cast.

Actors such as Ally Sheedy, Anthony Quinn, and James Belushi deliver memorable performances that enhance the overall quality of the film.

Only the Lonely showcases the beauty of Chicago during the holiday season.

The film’s setting adds a touch of magic and nostalgia, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere.

The movie strikes a balance between heartwarming moments and comedic elements.

Only the Lonely offers a mix of laughter and poignant scenes, creating a well-rounded cinematic experience.

It explores the dynamics of a close-knit family.

The film emphasizes the importance of family bonds and the challenges that come with it.

Only the Lonely showcases John Hughes’ producing skills.

Hughes, known for his contributions to the comedy genre, brings his signature touch to this film.

The movie has gained a cult following over the years.

Only the Lonely holds a special place in the hearts of many, with fans appreciating its heartfelt story and endearing characters.

Only the Lonely was inspired by personal experiences.

Chris Columbus drew inspiration from his own life, infusing the film with authenticity and relatability.

The film explores the complexities of romantic relationships.

Only the Lonely delves into the challenges faced by individuals when pursuing love and navigating the intricacies of romance.

Only the Lonely was a departure from John Candy’s usual roles.

Candy’s role in this film demonstrated his ability to tackle more dramatic material, showcasing his range as an actor.

The movie strikes an emotional chord with viewers.

Only the Lonely has the power to evoke laughter, tears, and a strong sense of empathy from its audience.

The film captures the essence of Irish-American family traditions.

Only the Lonely pays homage to the cultural heritage and values that shape the characters’ lives.

Only the Lonely features memorable and relatable characters.

The well-developed cast of characters adds depth and richness to the story, making it easy for audiences to connect with them.

The movie reminds us of the importance of self-acceptance.

Only the Lonely encourages viewers to embrace their authentic selves and find happiness on their own terms.

Only the Lonely is a heartwarming and charming film.

The movie provides a comforting and enjoyable cinematic experience, leaving audiences with a warm feeling inside.

It showcases the talent of the late John Candy.

Only the Lonely serves as a reminder of Candy’s immense talent and the impact he made on the film industry.

Only the Lonely explores themes of societal expectations and individual fulfillment.

The film prompts viewers to reflect on the balance between meeting external expectations and following one’s own desires.

The movie combines moments of humor and tenderness.

Only the Lonely effectively blends comedic elements with heartfelt scenes, creating a captivating and emotional journey.

Only the Lonely remains a beloved film within the romantic comedy genre.

Decades after its release, the movie continues to touch the hearts of audiences, standing the test of time.

The film’s screenplay was influenced by classic romantic comedies.

Only the Lonely pays homage to the charm and wit of vintage romantic comedies while adding its own unique twist.

Only the Lonely boasts a strong ensemble cast.

The chemistry between the actors elevates the film, making it an enjoyable and engaging viewing experience.

The movie offers a heartfelt message about the power of love and connection.

Only the Lonely reminds us that love can be found in unexpected places and that genuine connections are worth pursuing.


In conclusion, Only the Lonely is a heartwarming and memorable film that combines elements of comedy, romance, and family dynamics. With an incredible cast, led by John Candy and Maureen O’Hara, and a talented director like Chris Columbus, the movie delivers a touching and entertaining story that resonates with audiences. From its relatable characters to its beautiful soundtrack, Only the Lonely is a beloved gem in the world of cinema. Whether you’re a fan of romantic comedies or simply looking for a feel-good movie to watch, Only the Lonely is definitely worth adding to your watchlist.


Q: Who directed Only the Lonely?

A: Only the Lonely was directed by Chris Columbus, known for his work on films like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire.

Q: When was Only the Lonely released?

A: Only the Lonely was released on May 24, 1991.

Q: Who stars in Only the Lonely?

A: The film stars John Candy as Danny Muldoon and Maureen O’Hara as Rose Muldoon, along with Ally Sheedy, Kevin Dunn, and Anthony Quinn.

Q: What is the genre of Only the Lonely?

A: Only the Lonely is a romantic comedy-drama film that explores themes of love, family, and self-discovery.

Q: Where was Only the Lonely filmed?

A: The movie was primarily filmed in Chicago, Illinois, capturing the city’s unique charm and providing an authentic backdrop for the story.

Q: Is Only the Lonely based on a true story?

A: No, Only the Lonely is not based on a true story. It is a fictional narrative created by the screenwriter, Chris Columbus.

Q: What is the running time of Only the Lonely?

A: Only the Lonely has a running time of approximately 104 minutes.

Q: Does Only the Lonely have a happy ending?

A: Without giving away any spoilers, Only the Lonely does have a heartwarming and satisfying ending that ties up the story’s various plotlines.

Q: Is Only the Lonely suitable for all ages?

A: Only the Lonely is generally appropriate for viewers of all ages, but there may be some mild adult language and themes that parents may want to consider before watching with younger children.

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