Why Richard Gere Isn't Fond of His Most Iconic Role?

The film is full of legendary scenes that secured it a firm place on the pop culture pedestal of the 90s

by Sededin Dedovic
Why Richard Gere Isn't Fond of His Most Iconic Role?
© Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

From Julia Roberts' captivating appearance in a stunning red dress to Roy Orbison's timeless and elegant score, the 1990 film "Pretty Woman" embodied all the essential elements to solidify its status as a cinematic classic.

This romantic comedy delves into the tale of Edward, a wealthy businessman who hires Vivian, a prostitute, as his companion for social events. As their romance blossoms, they find themselves navigating the chasm that separates their disparate worlds.

The film is replete with iconic scenes that etched themselves into the collective memory of 90s pop culture, ensuring its enduring classic status. Yet, as time has marched on, certain elements of the film have raised concerns and prompted scrutiny from its evolving audience.

One notable concern revolves around the portrayal of Edward and Vivian's activities, which conspicuously contravene California's Prostitution Law. More significantly, the film somewhat romanticizes the opulent lifestyle of the city's rapacious bankers.

A problematic message lingers in the memorable line, "Don't worry if you can't find a mate, kid. Study hard, become a banker and you can buy yourself one." This particular message can leave young viewers with a misguided impression of values and priorities.

Gere underlined how, in the 1980s, relationships were often intertwined with social status

Interestingly, it was Richard Gere, the male lead, who was acutely aware of this issue during the filming of "Pretty Woman." He confessed to feeling a sense of discomfort about the way the characters, including the wealthy bankers, were portrayed.

In a candid interview with Australia's Woman's Day magazine, Gere admitted, "People ask me about that movie, but I've moved past it." He went on to express his reservations about the film's depiction of the bankers as charming figures, conceding that it didn't align with the reality.

Gere noted the positive shift in societal attitudes over the years, emphasizing that contemporary audiences are increasingly skeptical of such character portrayals. He underlined how, in the 1980s, relationships were often intertwined with social status, a perspective he has since evolved from.

Concluding his reflections, Gere shared a valuable personal insight: "I'd rather be loved than possess vast wealth and material possessions. Now, I understand the value of something genuine, something rooted in true love." In this way, the actor's comments shed light on the evolving perceptions and values that continue to shape our understanding of romantic relationships and societal priorities.