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Mystic Pizza

A movie directed by Donald Petrie.

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Mystic Pizza is less about pizza and more about relationships

  • Jan 24, 2011
  • by

Mystic Pizza  is a cult movie that helped launch the career of Julia Roberts. Julia had a leading role in the film which also features,  Anabeth Gish, and Lili Taylor.

The film is less of a pizza movie and more of a coming of age movie. The film  analyzes the cultural and gender struggles of three high school friends who work at a rural pizza place located in the waterfront village of Mystic, Connecticut.

While pizza is featured in the movie, pizza is more of a backdrop for the relationship story. It really is an innocent movie. Sometimes silly. Sometimes dramatic.. But always fun.

And I did enjoy it...

Although, I gave Mystic Pizza, an honorable mention as far as the Best Pizza Movies of all time, I may have to re-think my position after uncovering an article published in The Day Newspaper (New London, Connecticut) on Sunday October, 19, 2008. The story written by Kenton Robinson, was an eye opener.

Mystic, itself has a piece of my heart because I grew up and went to high school in Southeastern Connecticut. I recognize where the scenes were filmed. The area is quite beautiful with lots of New England charm.

My brother and sister-in-law live in Mystic.

I have countless friends who have remained in Southeastern Connecticut. Although I haven't lived there for many years, I can't deny it is still part of my life. Our family returns every Summer to visit.

But the facts surrounding the film is what really amazed me.

Here's what I learned from Kenton's story:

  • Mystic Pizza's original name was Ted's Place. The Zelepo's family bought the pizzeria from Ted and changed the name. ("There's no Ted here. Let's call it Mystic Pizza.")
  • A 19 year old Julia Roberts, Anabeth Gish (16), and Lili Taylor (20), tried to buy beer at Mystic Pizza but were turned down because they did not have an ID.

    ("But we're in the movie," they explained. John Zelepos, who waited on them, said: "Well, I'll see you on the Big Screen". They never did get their beer.)
  • The number of pizzas served during peak Summer hours: 600.
  • Number of menus stolen each year: 30,000.
  • In 1987, there were the three Zelepos who worked there (John, his mother and father) and three waitresses. Now there is a staff of 65. My how things have changed.
  • The owners of Mystic Pizza never received a penny in compensation for allowing film producers to use the name Mystic Pizza.

    As a matter of fact John Zelepos, owner of Mystic Pizza, stated: "We let them use our name. We didn't charge them any money for it. We didn't think it was going to be big or nothing. We said 'As long as it isn't a porno movie or nothing like that'".

Originally the producers wanted to rent Mystic Pizza for six months, during the course of the filming. The owner said: no way. People may forget about us in six months.

The producers filmed elsewhere.

How is the pizza at Mystic Pizza?

Some locals and visitors claim it really is "A Slice of Heaven".  You'll have to decide for yourself.  It's easy to get to and is located in the heart of Downtown Mystic.

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the film, the State of Connecticut Tourism Bureau created a document, which will allow you to visit all of the actual locations used in the movie. It's a great resource with lots of behind the scenes information.

You can download the "Mystic Pizza 20th Anniversary Movie Trail" pdf. here.
(Right click and save the pdf. to your hard drive)

You can also visit with me as I explore Southeastern Connecticut. Connecticut videos at my Connecticut Page at pizzatherapy.com

The opening scene of Mystic Pizza is filmed at Ford's Lobster's located in the very picture perfect town of Noank. A very scenic fishing and lobster village, located right on Long Island Sound.

From Ford's as you gaze out in the Long Island sound, you can see three different states: New York, Rhode Island and of course Connecticut.

Of special note is my Abbot's Lobster in the Rough Video. One of my favorite lobster places of all time, also located in Noank, Connecticut, the next town over from Mystic.

If you watch this film closely, you will witness a very young Matt Damon, who has a small role in this film. Very small. But he does have one speaking line.  You will be able to see Matt, very early in his career, eating lobster. But not the "green stuff".

If you get a chance, please watch Mystic Pizza again.

And if you haven't seen it, you are in for a treat!

Pizza all over Mystic, Connecticut!

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May 17, 2011
This was very entertaining <3 I am SO sad that Mystic Pizza did not hit my radar when I was younger; otherwise I have no doubt it would be on my DVD shelf right now and gone down in my personal movie history as one of The Best Films EVER (like Howard the Duck and The Goonies, other staples of my youth). Your article has me thinking twice, though, and I am definitely going to rent it the next time I have a Girls Night In
June 02, 2011
Thanks so much Rachael. It was a very interesting movie. And Mystic, Connecticut is a very interesting place. While there are some errors in the describing Mystic, there are also some flashes of brilliance. You and your girls will enjoy this film...it is a lot of fun1
More Mystic Pizza reviews
review by . January 13, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
It's hard to believe that this little 1988 film has endured in popularity for so long. It is a simple story of three 'sisters' in the small fishing village of Mystic, CT who have just graduated highschool, work as waitress in the town Mystic Pizza parlor, and face decisions about the future of their lives. There are three less than fairytale romances with three male characters of varying potential as partners and it is the 'coming of age' in a small Portuguese clan that sparks the tenderness and …
review by . March 10, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Three main actresses, generally realistic, fun, sweet     Cons: predictable, a few unrealistic moments, soundtrack     The Bottom Line: The bottom line was a Connecticutie for a while, but now she’s just a Masshole.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Director Donald Petrie should have quit after 1988’s Mystic Pizza since his later work pales in comparison. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, …
About the reviewer
Albert Grande ()
Ranked #121
I'm a Pizza Promoter and Internet Marketer. I have a number of websites and blogs including   Pizza Therapy, Pasta Therapy, Legends of Pizzaand Albert Grande's Personal blog   … more
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About this movie


Three women, sisters Daisy and Kat and their friend Jojo, work at a pizza parlor in the town of Mystic, Connecticut, the summer after their high-school graduation and before they go their separate ways. JoJo wants to stay in Mystic and take over the pizza parlor someday but is unsure about whether she really wants to marry her high-school sweetheart. Kat is headed for Yale, but stops to have an affair with an older architect whose child she babysits, while her sister Daisy has visions of marrying a rich man and moving up in the world.
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Movies, Drama Movies, Comedies, Pizza, Matt Damon, Pizzerias, Julia Roberts Movies, Mystic Pizza, Connecticut Pizz, Mystic Pizza Movie
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