Mamma Mia! (2008)


Mamma Mia! (2008)

Set on a colorful Greek island, the plot serves as a background for a wealth of ABBA songs. A young woman about to be married discovers that any one of three men could be her father. She invites all three to the wedding without telling her mother, Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), who was once the lead singer of Donna and the Dynamos. In the meantime, Donna has invited her back-up singers, Rosie Mulligan (Dame Julie Walters) and Tanya Wilkinson (Christine Baranski).
IMDb   6.4 /10
Metacritic   51 %
TheMovieDb    7.0 /10
RottenTomatoes  55 %
FilmAffinity   5.8 /10
Director Phyllida Lloyd
Writer Catherine Johnson
Release Date2008-07-03
Runtime1h 48mins
GenreComedy, Musical, Romance
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
AwardsNominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 15 wins & 23 nominations.
CompanyUniversal Pictures, Relativity Media, Littlestar
CountryUSA, UK, Germany
LanguageEnglish, Greek

Mamma Mia! (film)

Mamma Mia! (promoted as Mamma Mia! The Movie) is a 2008 American jukebox musical romantic comedy film directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Catherine Johnson based on her book for the 1999 musical of the same name. The film is based on the songs of pop group ABBA, with additional music composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson. The film features an ensemble cast, including Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Meryl Streep, and Julie Walters. The plot follows a young bride-to-be who invites three men to her upcoming wedding, each one with the possibility of being her father. The film was an international co-production between the United Kingdom and the United States, and was co-produced by Relativity Media, Playtone, and Littlestar Productions.

Principal photography primarily took place on the island of Skopelos, Greece from August to September 2007. The film was distributed by Universal Pictures. Mamma Mia! held its world premiere on June 30, 2008 at Leicester Square in London and premiered on July 4, 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden, with ABBA members Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog in attendance. The film was released theatrically on July 10 in the United Kingdom, on July 17 in Germany and on July 18 in the United States. It received mixed reviews from critics, who criticized the inexperienced singers and campy tone. The film grossed $603 million worldwide on a $52 million budget, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of 2008. A sequel, titled Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, was released on July 20, 2018 with most of the main cast returning.


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On the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan reveals to her bridesmaids, Ali and Lisa, that she has secretly invited three men to her wedding without telling her mother, Donna ("Honey, Honey"). They are the men with whom her mother's diary reveals she had sex during the 25-day period coincident with Sophie‘s conception. They are Irish-American architect Sam Carmichael, Swedish adventurer and writer Bill Anderson and British banker Harry Bright. She hopes that her father will walk her down the aisle on her big day and believes that after she spends time with them, she will know which is her father.

Donna, who owns a villa and runs it not very successfully as a hotel, hoping to find herself a wealthy man for a better life ("Money, Money, Money"), 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. The three men arrive and Sophie hides them in the old goat house. She doesn't reveal that she believes one of them is her father, but does explain that she and not her mother sent the invitations. She tells them to hide so Donna will be surprised by the old friends of whom she "so often" favorably speaks. They overhear Donna working 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 truly does not know which of the three fathered Sophie. Tanya and Rosie rally her spirits by getting her to dance with an all female ensemble of staff and islanders ("Dancing Queen"). Sophie finds the men aboard Bill's sailboat, and they sail around Kalokairi, telling stories of Donna's carefree youth ("Our Last Summer"). Sophie plans to tell her fiancé Sky about her ploy, but loses her nerve. Sky and Sophie reveal their love for each other ("Lay All Your Love on Me"), but Sky is abducted for his bachelor party.

At Sophie's bachelorette party, Donna, Tanya and Rosie perform for the first time in years ("Super Trouper"). When Sam, Bill and Harry arrive, Sophie decides to talk with each of them alone. While her bachelorette party friends dance with the men ("Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"), Sophie learns from Bill that Donna received the money for her villa from his great-aunt Sofia. Sophie guesses that she must be named after Sofia. She asks him to give her away and keep their secret until the wedding. Sophie's happiness is short-lived as Sam and Harry each pull her aside to tell her they are her father and will give her away. Sophie, overwhelmed by the consequences of raising the hopes of all three "fathers", faints ("Voulez-Vous").

In the morning, Rosie and Tanya assure Donna they will take care of the men. Bill and Harry intend to tell each other what they learned the previous night, but Rosie interrupts them. 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 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 get dressed for the wedding, their rift is healed and Donna reminisces about Sophie's childhood ("Slipping Through My Fingers"). Donna admits her mother told her not to come back home if she got pregnant and Sophie asks Donna to give her away. As the bridal party walks to the chapel, Sam intercepts Donna, who reveals the pain she felt over losing him ("The Winner Takes It All").

Sophie and Donna walk down the aisle as the band plays. Donna tells Sophie and all gathered 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 (Bill). The men do not want paternity confirmed, each agreeing 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, revealing that he’s now divorced and has loved her all this time. She accepts and they are married ("I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"). At the reception, Sam sings to Donna ("When All is Said and Done") and Rosie makes a play for Bill ("Take a Chance on Me"). The couples proclaim their love. Sophie and Sky sail away ("I Have A Dream"). The credits follow, with the cast performing extra songs ("Dancing Queen", "Waterloo").


  • Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan-Carmichael, Sophie's mother, owner of the hotel Villa Donna.
  • Amanda Seyfried as Sophie Sheridan, Donna's 20-year-old daughter, Sky's fiancée.
  • Christine Baranski as Tanya Chesham-Leigh, one of Donna's former bandmates in Donna and the Dynamos; a rich three-time divorcee.
  • Julie Walters as Rosie Mulligan, Donna's other former bandmate; an unmarried fun-loving author.
  • Pierce Brosnan as Sam Carmichael, Sophie's possible father and an American architect.
  • Colin Firth as Harry Bright, Sophie's possible father and a British banker.
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Bill Anderson, Sophie's possible father, a Swedish sailor and travel writer.
  • Dominic Cooper as Sky Ramand, Sophie's fiancé who is designing a website for the hotel.
  • Niall Buggy as Father Alex, a wedding priest.
  • Chris Jarvis as Eddie, a friend of Sky and Pepper.
  • Ashley Lilley as Ali, a close friend of Sophie and her bridesmaid.
  • Rachel McDowall as Lisa, a close friend of Sophie and her bridesmaid.
  • Philip Michael as Pepper, Sky's best man who likes Tanya; a bartender
  • Juan Pablo Di Pace as Petros, Harry's partner.
  • Enzo Squillino as Gregoris, one of Donna's employees.
  • Ricardo Montez as Stavros.
  • Benny Andersson as "Dancing Queen" piano player
  • Spencer Kayden as Agnes
  • Björn Ulvaeus as Greek god
  • Rita Wilson as Greek goddess


A soundtrack album was released on July 7, 2008 by Decca and Polydor in the United States and internationally, respectively. The recording was produced by Benny Andersson. The album features sixteen musical numbers within the film, including a hidden track. The album was nominated at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. The deluxe edition of the soundtrack album was released on November 25, 2008.

  • † Featured in the film, but omitted from the soundtrack album.
  • ‡ Included in the soundtrack album, but omitted from the film.
  • § Included on the soundtrack album as a hidden track.


Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed on location at the small Greek island of Skopelos, in Thessaly (during August 29-September 2007), 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. The producers built a beach bar and jetty along the beach, but removed both set pieces after production wrapped. 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 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 verisimilitude.

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.

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. 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.


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.

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). 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. By December 31, 2008, Mamma Mia! became the best-selling DVD of all time in Sweden with 545,000 copies sold.


Box office

In the United Kingdom, Mamma Mia! grossed £69.2 million as of January 23, 2009; it is the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office. The film opened at #1 in the U.K, taking £6.6 million 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.

When released on July 3, 2009 in Greece, the film grossed $1.6 million in its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the Greek box office.

Mamma Mia! grossed $144.1 million in the United States and $458.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $602.9 million, against a production budget of $52 million. It became the highest grossing live-action musical of all time, until it was surpassed by Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast in 2017. It was also the highest-grossing movie directed by a woman, until it was surpassed by Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman in 2017. It is the third highest-grossing film of 2008 internationally (i.e., outside North America) with an international total of $458.4 million and the thirteenth highest gross of 2008 in North America (the US and Canada) with $144.1 million.

The film made $9.6 million in its opening day in the United States and Canada, as well as $27.6 million in its opening weekend, ranking #2 at the box office, behind The Dark Knight. 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.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 55% based on 183 reviews and an average rating of 5.60/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "This jukebox musical is full of fluffy fun but rough singing voices and a campy tone might not make you feel like 'You Can Dance' the whole 90 minutes." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

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'. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was more negative, giving it one star, and expressed a "need to vomit". 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". 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." Angie Errigo of Empire said it was "cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers."

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." Brosnan, especially, was savaged by many critics: his singing was compared to "a water buffalo" (New York Magazine), "a donkey braying" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and "a wounded raccoon" (The Miami Herald), 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."


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
ACE Eddie AwardsFebruary 15, 2009Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or MusicalLesley WalkerNominated
American Music AwardsNovember 23, 2008Favorite SoundtrackMamma Mia! The Movie SoundtrackNominated
British Academy Film AwardsFebruary 8, 2009Outstanding British FilmMamma Mia!Nominated
Best Film MusicBenny Andersson and Björn UlvaeusNominated
Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer for their First Feature FilmJudy CraymerNominated
Costume Designers Guild AwardsFebruary 17, 2009Excellence in Contemporary FilmAnn RothNominated
Empire AwardMarch 29, 2009Best SoundtrackBenny Andersson and Björn UlvaeusWon
Golden Globe AwardsJanuary 11, 2009Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyMamma Mia!Nominated
Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or MusicalMeryl StreepNominated
Golden Raspberry AwardsFebruary 21, 2009Worst Supporting ActorPierce BrosnanWon
Golden Reel AwardsFebruary 21, 2009Best Sound Editing – Music in a Musical Feature FilmTony Lewis, Martin Lowe, Robert HoustonWon
Grammy AwardsFebruary 8, 2009Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual MediaMamma Mia! The Movie SoundtrackNominated
Irish Film and Television AwardsFebruary 14, 2009Best International ActressMeryl StreepWon
MTV Movie AwardsMay 31, 2009Best Breakthrough Female PerformanceAmanda SeyfriedNominated
National Movie AwardsSeptember 8, 2008Best MusicalMamma Mia!Won
Best Female PerformanceMeryl StreepWon
Best Male PerformancePierce BrosnanNominated
Colin FirthNominated
People's Choice AwardsJanuary 7, 2009Favorite Movie ComedyMamma Mia!Nominated
Favorite CastMamma Mia!Nominated
Favorite Song from a Soundtrack"Mamma Mia"Won
Rembrandt AwardsMarch 9, 2009Best Female ActressMeryl StreepWon
Best International ActressWon
Best International FilmPhyllida LloydWon
Satellite AwardsDecember 14, 2008Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or MusicalMeryl StreepNominated


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was announced on May 19, 2017, with a planned release date of July 20, 2018. It was written and directed by Ol Parker. It was announced that Seyfried, Cooper, Streep, Firth and Brosnan would be returning. In July 2017, Lily James was confirmed to portray young Donna. The film took almost five months to film and was released in London and Sweden on July 16, 2018 and was released worldwide on July 20, 2018. The film was a commercial success and made $395 million worldwide with a $75 million budget. Reviews were generally positive with critics praising the performances and musical numbers. The film was released digitally on October 9, 2018 and on DVD on October 23, 2018. It held the top spot on the charts for the week ending of November 3, 2018.