Novelist/writer, director and producer Nora Ephron became known for her depictions of strong, independently minded female characters and for showcasing issues many women face: love, betrayal, heartbreak, sexism, friendship and overcoming challenges. Lauded for her relatable brilliance, warmth and wit, Ephron had a number of classic tales — in books and movies alike — to her credit when she died as a result of complications stemming from leukemia on June 27, 2012.

Sleepless in Seattle

Nora Ephron's love-lost screenplay for the romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle" (rated PG) made the 1993 movie a hit with fans. The story centers around widower Sam Baldwin whose son, Jonah, calls a radio talk show to help his dad find a new wife. A listener, Annie Reed, falls in love with the idea of Sam and travels to meet him, although a series of circumstances prevent it until the movie's end, which was inspired by "An Affair to Remember."

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide


Nora Ephron co-wrote the 1983 film "Silkwood" (rated R), which tells the story of a woman who worked at a plutonium processing plant and was psychologically tortured and thought to have been murdered to prevent her from exposing worker safety issues after she discovered she had been deliberately exposed to deadly radiation. The film starred Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher. Ephron and her co-writer, Alice Arlen, were nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide


"Heartburn," (rated R), starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, was a movie based on a novel by Ephron, who also wrote the screenplay, which was released as a film in 1986. The story is an autobiography, with fictional characters, of Ephron's own experiences during her marriage and eventual divorce, which happens while the character "Rachel" is pregnant and discovers her husband is having an affair.


Nora Ephron teamed up once again with co-writer Alice Arlen for "Cookie" (rated R, 1989) starring Peter Falk and Dianne Wiest, which tells the story about a mobster who hires his illegitimate, estranged daughter, who was recently release from prison, as his chauffeur in order to get to know her better. While her father tries to keep Cookie and his mistress, her mother, a secret from his wife, Cookie helps uncover a plot that would have led to her father's murder by his trusted friends.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally (rated R) was a big success when it was released in 1989, and it drew rave reviews for the chemistry of its stars, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, and eventually grew to be a cult phenomenon for the story's timelessness and perpetually relatable quality. Ephron's screenplay received an Oscar nomination for the story of a man and women who have several chance encounters over a span of 12 years. The film explores male-female relationships, asking "Can a man and a woman ever just be friends?"

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

My Blue Heaven

Nora Ephron's comedy "My Blue Heaven" (1990), starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis, is based on the life of Henry Hill, a mobster-turned-FBI-informant. The story follows an FBI agent, Barney Coopersmith, who must reluctantly protect an affable and sometimes mischievous mobster, Vinnie Antonelli, who has been placed in the witness protection program until he can testify against several mob kingpins in court. When Vinnie is relocated to the suburbs, chaos ensues. Although the film was modestly received, it grew in popularity as a TV rerun.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

You've Got Mail

The 1998 romantic comedy "You've Got Mail" (rated PG), starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, was another box office hit for Ephron, who co-wrote the screenplay with her sister. The story follows two business rivals who compete for book sales — one a mega conglomerate chain, the other a mom-and-pop storefront — and publicly dislike each other. However, unbeknownst to either of them, they are falling in love through emails they send to each other under their AOL screen names "NY152" and "Shopgirl."

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

This is My Life

In 1992, the film "This is My Life" (rated R) marked the directorial debut of Ephron, who co-wrote the screenplay with her sister. The story is about a woman with a bland job at a department store whose life changes in big ways when her comedy career takes off. However, it costs her the relationship she had with her two daughters who eventually run away. Although the film was not a big commercial success, its two young stars, who played the daughters, were nominated for Young Artist Awards for their performances.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

Mixed Nuts

The screenplay for "Mixed Nuts" (rated PG-13, 1994) was written by Ephron and her sister, but Ephron also directed the comedy about a set of misfortunes, arguments, accidents, murder, birth and other dramas that intersect with a man working at Lifesavers, a crisis hotline business one night during the Christmas holidays. The film, which starred a large cast of leading actors, including Steve Martin, was neither a commercial nor critical success, with reviewers saying it was both boring and over-the-top at the same time.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide


In 1996, "Michael" (rated PG), which Ephron co-wrote and directed, was a slight departure from her all-American dramas and comedies as it was a fantasy film about the Archangel Michael (John Travolta) who takes a vacation to Earth, although he also has a mission to help heal some broken hearts. Unlike the traditional portrayal of an angel, Michael is a boozing, smoking, sloppy looking angel who still knows how to impart exceptional wisdom and perform miracles. Although the movie was not well-received critically, it was a hit at the box office, reaching the No. 1 slot at its debut Christmas weekend.

Hanging up

The 2000 film "Hanging Up" (rated PG-13) was based on a novel by Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron's sister, but Nora helped co-write the screenplay adaptation. Even so, the movie was considered a poor interpretation of the original story about three sisters who bond over their inability to care about the approaching death of their father, who was a mean codger to whom none of the sisters was particularly close. The film drew lackluster reviews and poor box office ticket sales.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide


"Bewitched" (rated PG-13) was adapted for film in 2005 by Ephron who directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay. The movie centers on an egocentric actor, Jack (Will Farrell), who is starring in a modern remake of the ’60s sitcom "Bewitched" and, unintentionally, an actual witch, Isabel (Nicole Kidman), is cast for the part of the wife. She casts a real-life spell to make him fall in love with her at the same time his ex-wife appears and wants him back. When she reveals she's a witch, Jack and Isabel must overcome several obstacles if they want to be together. The film wasn't well-received by critics or fans of the original TV series.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide

Julie & Julia

"Julie & Julia" follows the early life of chef Julia Child in contrast to the life of Julie Powell, a young New Yorker who decides to cook all of Child's 524 recipes in 365 days. The screenplay by Nora Ephron, who also directed and produced the 2009 film, was based on Child's autobiography and Powell's blog about making Child's recipes and highlights similarities in the women's lives between decades. The movie, which starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, was a success critically and at the box office.

Learn more about this movie on the Family Media Guide