Mamma Mia! (promoted as Mamma Mia! The Movie) is a 2008 British-American-Swedish musical romantic comedy film adapted from the 1999 West End/2001 Broadway musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson. The film was directed by Phyllida Lloyd and distributed by Universal Pictures in partnership with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's Playtone and Littlestar, and the title originates from ABBA's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia". Meryl Streep heads the cast, playing the role of single mother Donna Sheridan. Pierce Brosnan (Sam Carmichael), Colin Firth (Harry Bright), and Stellan Skarsgård (Bill Anderson) play the three possible fathers to Donna's daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). Mamma Mia! received mixed reviews from critics and earned $609.8 million[1] on a $52 million budget.


Template:Plot On the Greek island of Kalokairi, bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan posts three wedding invitations ("I Have a Dream") to different men.

Sophie's bridesmaids arrive. Sophie reveals that she found her mother's diary and has three possible fathers: Irish-American architect Sam Carmichael, Swedish adventurer and writer Bill Anderson, and British banker Harry Bright. As Sophie wants her father to give her away, she invited them without telling her mother, believing that after she spends time with them she will know which is her father ("Honey, Honey"). Sophie's mother Donna, who owns a villa, is ecstatic to reunite with her former Dynamos bandmates, wisecracking author Rosie Mulligan and wealthy multiple divorcée Tanya Chesham-Leigh, and reveals her bafflement at her daughter's desire to get married. Donna shows off the villa to Rosie and Tanya ("Money, Money, Money"). The three men arrive and Sophie smuggles them to their room, explaining that she sent the invitations. She begs them to hide so Donna will be surprised at the wedding by the old friends of whom she "so often" favourably speaks. They overhear Donna working (humming "Fernando") and swear not to reveal Sophie's secret.

Donna spies them and is dumbfounded to find herself facing former lovers ("Mamma Mia"), demanding they leave. She confides in Tanya and Rosie ("Chiquitita") that she is uncertain which of the men fathered Sophie. Tanya and Rosie rally her spirits by getting her to dance with the female staff and islanders ("Dancing Queen"). Sophie finds the men aboard Bill's yacht, and they sail around Kalokairi ("Our Last Summer"), telling stories of Donna as a carefree girl. Sophie plans to tell her fiancé Sky about her ploy, but loses her nerve. Sky and Sophie sing to each other ("Lay All Your Love on Me"), but Sky is nabbed for his bachelor party.

At Sophie's bachelorette party, Donna, Tanya, and Rosie perform as Donna and The Dynamos ("Super Trouper"). The festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Sam, Bill, and Harry. Sophie decides to talk with each of her prospective fathers alone. While her girlfriends dance with the men ("Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)"), Sophie learns from Bill that Donna received the money for her villa from his great-aunt Sofia. Sophie guesses she must be Sofia's namesake. She asks him to give her away and keep their secret from Donna until the wedding. Sophie's happiness is short-lived as Sam and Harry each tell her they must be her father and will give her away ("Voulez-Vous"). Sophie cannot tell them the truth and, overwhelmed by the consequences of her actions, faints.

In the morning, Rosie and Tanya assure Donna they will take care of the men. Bill and Harry are about to confide in each other, but are interrupted by Rosie. Donna confronts Sophie, believing Sophie wants the wedding stopped. Sophie says that all she wants is to avoid her mother's mistakes. Sam accosts Donna, concerned about Sophie getting married so young. Donna confronts him and they realize they still have feelings for each other ("SOS"). Tanya and young Pepper continue their flirtations from the previous night ("Does Your Mother Know"). Sophie confesses to Sky and asks for his help. He reacts angrily to Sophie's deception and she turns to her mother for support. As Donna helps her daughter dress for the wedding, their rift is healed and Donna reminisces about Sophie's childhood ("Slipping Through My Fingers"). Donna admits her mother disowned her when she became pregnant. Sophie asks Donna to give her away. As the bridal party walks to the chapel, Sam intercepts Donna. She reveals the pain she felt over losing him ("The Winner Takes It All").

Sophie and Donna walk down the aisle as the band plays ("Knowing Me, Knowing You"). Donna tells Sophie that her father could be any of the three men. Sam reveals that while he left Donna to get married, he did not go through with it, but returned to find Donna with another man. Harry confesses that Donna was the first and last woman he loved. The men agree that they would be happy to be one-third of a father for Sophie. She tells Sky they should postpone their wedding and travel the world. Sam proposes to Donna ("I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"). She accepts and they are married. At the reception, Sam sings to Donna ("When All Is Said and Done"), which prompts Rosie to make a play for Bill ("Take a Chance on Me"). The couples proclaim their love ("Mamma Mia" reprise). Sophie and Sky sail away ("I Have a Dream" reprise).

During the principal credits, Donna, Tanya and Rosie reprise "Dancing Queen", followed by "Waterloo" with the rest of the cast. Amanda Seyfried sings "Thank You for the Music" over the end credits, followed by an instrumental of "Does Your Mother Know".


Cameo appearances and Uncredited roles
File:ABBA 2008 Av Daniel Åhs.jpg

ABBA appeared together with the film's cast in 2008.

Musical numbers

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  1. "I Have a Dream" – Sophie
  2. "Honey, Honey" – Sophie, Ali and Lisa
  3. "Money, Money, Money" – Donna, Tanya, Rosie and Company
  4. "Mamma Mia" – Donna, Sophie, Ali, Lisa and Greek Chorus
  5. "Chiquitita" – Rosie, Tanya and Donna
  6. "Dancing Queen" – Tanya, Rosie, Donna and Company
  7. "Our Last Summer" – Harry, Bill, Sam and Sophie
  8. "Lay All Your Love on Me" – Sky, Sophie, Sky's Bachelor party friends.
  9. "Super Trouper" – Donna, Tanya and Rosie
  10. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" – Sophie, Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Ali, Lisa and Greek Chorus
  11. "Voulez-Vous" – Donna, Sam, Tanya, Rosie, Harry, Bill, Sky, Ali, Lisa and Pepper
  12. "The Name of the Game" – Sophie (deleted scene)
  13. "SOS" – Sam, Donna and Greek Chorus
  14. "Does Your Mother Know" – Tanya, Pepper, Lisa, Guys and Girls
  15. "Slipping Through My Fingers" – Donna and Sophie
  16. "The Winner Takes It All" – Donna
  17. "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" – Sam, Donna and Company
  18. "When All Is Said and Done" – Sam, Donna and Company
  19. "Take a Chance on Me" – Rosie, Bill, Tanya, Pepper, Harry and Company
  20. "Mamma Mia!" (Reprise) – Company
  21. "I Have a Dream" (Reprise) – Sophie
  22. "Dancing Queen" (Reprise) – Donna, Rosie and Tanya
  23. "Waterloo" – Donna, Rosie, Tanya, Sam, Bill, Harry, Sky and Sophie
  24. "Thank You for the Music" – Sophie

The Musical Director of the film was Grammy-Award winner[3] Martin Lowe, a graduate of the University of Hull.[4]


File:Agios ioannis mamma mia chapel.jpg

The Agios Ioannis chapel during filming of the wedding scene for Mamma Mia!.

Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed on location at the small Greek island of Skopelos (during August/September 2007),[5] and the seaside hamlet of Damouchari in the Pelion area of Greece. On Skopelos, Kastani beach on the south west coast was the film's main location site.[5] The producers built a beach bar and jetty along the beach, but removed both set pieces after production wrapped.[5] A complete set for Donna's Greek villa was built at the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios and most of the film was shot there. Real trees were utilised for the set, watered daily through an automated watering system and given access to daylight in order to keep them growing.

The part of the film where Brosnan's character, Sam, leaves his New York office to go to the Greek Island was actually filmed at the iconic Lloyd's Building on Lime Street in the City of London. He dashes down the escalators and through the porte-cochere, where yellow cabs and actors representing New York mounted police were used for authenticity.[6]

File:Beach on Skopelos Island, Greece.jpg

The movie was filmed in the Greek island of Skopelos

The Fernando, Bill Anderson's yacht (actually a ketch) in the film was the Tai-Mo-Shan built in 1934 by H. S. Rouse at the Hong Kong and Whampoa dockyards.[7][8]

Meryl Streep took opera singing lessons as a child, and as an adult, she previously sang in several films, including Postcards from the Edge, Silkwood, Death Becomes Her, and A Prairie Home Companion.[9] She was a fan of the stage show Mamma Mia! after seeing it on Broadway in September 2001, when she found the show to be an affirmation of life in the midst of the destruction of 9/11.[10]


Though the world premiere of the film occurred elsewhere, most of the media attention was focused on the Swedish premiere, where Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog joined Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson with the cast at the Rival Theatre in Mariatorget, Stockholm, owned by Andersson, on July 4, 2008. It was the first time all four members of ABBA had been photographed together since 1986.[11]



Pierce Brosnan's singing was heavily panned by critics

Mamma Mia! received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 54% of critics gave the film positive reviews based upon a sample of 175 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10.[12] The Times gave it four stars out of five,[13] as did Channel 4 (Britain) which said it had "all the swing and sparkle of sequined bell-bottoms."[14] BBC Radio 5 Live's film critic Mark Kermode admitted to enjoying the film, despite describing the experience as 'the closest you get to see A-List actors doing drunken karaoke'.[15] The Guardian was more negative, giving it one star, stating that the film gave the reviewer a "need to vomit",[16] while Bob Chipman of Escape to the Movies said it was "so base, so shallow and so hinged on meaningless spectacle, it's amazing it wasn't made for men".[17] The Daily Telegraph stated that it was enjoyable but poorly put together ("Finding the film a total shambles was sort of a shame, but I have a sneaking suspicion I'll go to see it again anyway."),[18] whereas Empire said it was "cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers."[19]

The casting of actors not known for their singing abilities led to some mixed reviews. Variety stated that "some stars, especially the bouncy and rejuvenated Streep, seem better suited for musical comedy than others, including Brosnan and Skarsgård."[20] Brosnan, especially, was savaged by many critics: his singing was compared to "a water buffalo" (New York Magazine),[21] "a donkey braying" (The Philadelphia Inquirer)[22] and "a wounded raccoon" (The Miami Herald),[23] and Matt Brunson of Creative Loafing Charlotte said he "looks physically pained choking out the lyrics, as if he's being subjected to a prostate exam just outside of the camera's eye."[24]

Box office

Mamma Mia! grossed a worldwide total of $602,609,487 and is the fifth highest-grossing film of 2008.[1] It eventually became the highest grossing musical of all time in terms of worldwide take (until Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast broke Mamma Mia!'s worldwide record in 2017). It is the third highest-grossing film of 2008 internationally (i.e., outside North America) with an international total of $458,479,424 and the thirteenth highest gross of 2008 in North America (the US and Canada) with $144,130,063.

In the United Kingdom, Mamma Mia! has grossed £69,166,087 as of January 23, 2009, and is the sixth highest grossing film of all time at the UK box office (behind Skyfall, Avatar, Titanic, Toy Story 3, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2).[25] The film opened at #1 in the U.K, taking £6,594,058 on 496 screens. It managed to hold onto the top spot for 2 weeks, narrowly keeping Pixar's WALL-E from reaching #1 in its second week.Script error: No such module "Unsubst".

When released on July 3 in Greece, the film grossed $1,602,646 in its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the Greek box office.[26]

The film made $9,627,000 in its opening day in the United States and Canada, and $27,605,376 in its opening weekend, ranking #2 at the box office, behind The Dark Knight.[27] At the time, it made Mamma Mia! the record-holder for the highest grossing opening weekend for a movie based on a Broadway musical, surpassing Hairspray's box office record in 2007 and later surpassed by Into the Woods.[28]

Awards and nominations

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  • Golden Globe Awards[29]
    • Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical—nominated
    • Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical (Meryl Streep)—nominated
  • BAFTA Awards[30]
    • Outstanding British Film—nominated
    • The Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer for their First Feature Film (Judy Craymer)—nominated
    • Outstanding Music (Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus)—nominated
  • Golden Raspberry Awards[31]


Because of the film's financial success, Hollywood studio chief David Linde, the co-chairman of Universal Studios told The Daily Mail that it would take a while, but there could be a sequel. He stated that he would be delighted if Judy Craymer, Catherine Johnson, Phyllida Lloyd, Benny Andersson, and Björn Ulvaeus agreed to the project, noting that there are still plenty of ABBA songs to use.[32]

Home media

In November 2008, Mamma Mia! became the fastest-selling DVD of all time in the UK, according to Official UK Charts Company figures. It sold 1,669,084 copies on its first day of release, breaking the previous record (held by Titanic) by 560,000 copies. By the end of 2008, the Official UK Charts Company declared that it had become the biggest selling DVD ever in the UK, with one in every four households owning a copy (over 5 million copies sold).[33] The record was previously held by Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl with sales of 4.7 million copies.

In the United States, the DVD made over $30 million on its first day of release.[34] By December 31, 2008, Mamma Mia! became the best-selling DVD of all time in Sweden with 545,000 copies sold.[35]

Single-disc features

The single-disc DVD released in Sweden on 26 November contains all of the following:

2-disc special edition

The widescreen single-disc includes a bonus disc which includes:

  • Limited time only digital copy
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes
  • The Making of Mamma Mia! featurette
  • Anatomy of a Musical Number: "Lay All Your Love on Me"
  • Becoming a Singer featurette
  • Behind the scenes with Amanda
  • On Location in Greece featurette
  • A Look Inside Mamma Mia! featurette
  • "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" music video
  • Björn Ulvaeus cameo
Blu-ray exclusives
  • Universal Pictures' U-Control[36]
  • Behind the Hits (details and trivia of the music while the musical performance plays)
  • Picture-in-picture (access to cast and crew interviews and behind the scene while the movie plays)
Collector's Edition with Exclusive Bonus Disc

A bonus disc is included in a separate case and bundled with the movie, and includes:[37]

  • A Talented Trio: The Creators of Mamma Mia! (creator bios)
  • Christine Baranski and the Boys (choreography of "Does Your Mother Know?")
  • Breaking Down "Voulez-Vous" (choreography)
  • More of "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" (choreography)
  • Meryl's Big Number (choreography of "Mamma Mia")
  • VH1's 10 Most Excellent Things: Mamma Mia! (documentary clip)


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  10. Meryl Streep, speaking on 'Abba:The Mamma Mia Story', ITV
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Further reading

  • Louise FitzGerald, Melanie Williams: Mamma Mia! The Movie: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon. I.B. Tauris, 2013, ISBN 9781848859425

External links


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