While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping Information

While You Were Sleeping is a 1995 romantic comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Daniel G. Sullivan and Frederic Lebow. It stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy, a Chicago Transit Authority token collector, and Bill Pullman as Jack, the brother of a man whose life she saves, along with Peter Gallagher as Peter, the man who is saved, and Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, and Jack Warden as members of Peter's family.


Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) is a lonely token collector on the Chicago Transit Authority who has a secret crush on a handsome commuter named Peter Callaghan (Gallagher), whose name Lucy does not know. On Christmas day, she rescues him from an oncoming train after a mugger pushes him onto the tracks. He falls into a coma, and she accompanies him to the hospital, where a nurse overhears her musing aloud, "I was going to marry him." Misinterpreting her, the nurse tells his family that she is his fiancée. At first she is too caught up in the panic to explain the truth. She winds up keeping the secret for a number of reasons: she is embarrassed, Elsie (Peter's grandmother) has a heart condition, and she quickly comes to love being a part of Peter's big and loving family. One night, thinking she is alone while visiting Peter, she confesses about her predicament. Saul (Peter's godfather) overhears the truth and later confronts her, but tells her he will keep her secret, because the accident has brought the family closer.

With no family and few friends, Lucy becomes so captivated with the quirky Callaghans and their unconditional love for her that she cannot bring herself to hurt them by revealing that Peter does not even know her. She spends a belated Christmas with them and then meets Peter's younger brother Jack (Pullman), who is supposed to take over his father's furniture business. He is suspicious of her at first, but he falls in love with her as they spend time together. They develop a close friendship and soon she falls in love with him as well.

After New Year's Eve, Peter wakes up. He does not know Lucy, so it is assumed that he must have amnesia. She and Peter spend time together, but she has already fallen in love with Jack. Saul persuades Peter to propose to her "again", and she agrees despite her feelings for Jack. When Jack visits her the day before the wedding, she gives him a chance to change her mind, asking him if he can give her a reason not to marry Peter. He replies that he can not, leaving her disappointed.

On the day of the wedding, just as the priest begins the ceremony, Lucy finally confesses everything and tells the family she is in love with Jack rather than Peter. Ashley Bartlett Bacon, Peter's real fiancée (who happens to be married herself), also arrives to stop the wedding. As the family argues, Lucy slips out unnoticed, unsure of her future.

Some time later, as Lucy collects tokens from passengers at the train station, Jack places an engagement ring in the token tray of her booth. With the entire Callaghan family watching, he walks into her booth and proposes to her. In the last scenes of the film, they kiss at the end of their wedding, then leave on a CTA train for their honeymoon. She narrates that he fulfilled her dream of going to Florence, Italy, and explains that, when Peter asked when she fell in love with Jack, she replied, "it was while you were sleeping."


  • Sandra Bullock as Lucy Moderatz, a young woman who lives in Chicago. Her mother died when she was an infant, and her father had died a year prior to the events in the film.
  • Peter Gallagher as Peter Callaghan, a successful lawyer who uses the subway station where Lucy works
  • Bill Pullman as Jack Callaghan, Peter's brother
  • Micole Mercurio as Midge Callaghan, Peter's mother
  • Peter Boyle as Ox Callaghan, Peter's father
  • Monica Keena as Mary Callaghan, Peter's sister
  • Glynis Johns as Elsie, Peter's grandmother
  • Jack Warden as Saul, Peter's godfather
  • Jason Bernard as Jerry Wallace, Lucy's friend and coworker whom she relies on for advice
  • Michael Rispoli as Joe Fusco Jr., the swarthy, heavyset son of Lucy's landlord
  • Ally Walker as Ashley Bartlett Bacon, Peter's former fiancée who now wants to marry him, despite being married herself.


Julia Roberts was offered the role of Lucy Moderatz but turned it down.


Part of the movie was filmed at the Lake Point Tower building. State/Lake Station was used for exterior shots of the "L". Lucy's home was shot in Logan Square. Randolph/Wabash Station was used for the scene where Lucy rescues Peter. The New Year's Eve party was filmed in a home in Portage Park.


The film was a tremendous success, grossing a total of $182,057,016 worldwide against an estimated $17,000,000 budget. It made $9,288,915 on its opening weekend of April 21"23, 1995. It was the fifteenth-highest grosser of 1995 in the United States. This film, along with Speed, are credited as having launched Sandra Bullock into stardom.

While You Were Sleeping was a critical success. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 85% of critics gave the film a positive review.

Bullock received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical"?Motion Picture.

International adaptations and mentions

The Malayalam movie Chandralekha has blatantly copied from this movie with the mere inter-changing of characters. The Hindi film Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega and Telugu film Chandralekha turn out to be adaptations of the Malayalam film.

The film is mentioned in the song "From Above" by Ben Folds on his album Lonely Avenue. The lyrics were written by novelist Nick Hornby.

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