->''"Don't get angry. Get everything."''
-->--'''Ivana Trump'''

''The First Wives Club'' is a 1996 comedy directed by Hugh Wilson, [[TheFilmOfTheBook adapted from the novel]] by Olivia Goldsmith. It features a trio of middle-aged women [[RevengeAgainstMen teaming up against their estranged husbands and their current lovers.]]

The film starts in 1969, with a graduation day at Middlebury College, Vermont. Among the graduating class are four close friends Elise Elliot (Creator/GoldieHawn), Cynthia Griffin (Stockard Channing), Annie Mac Duggan (Diane Keaton), and Brenda Morelli (Creator/BetteMidler). Cynthia makes them all promise that they "will always be there for each other throughout the remainder of their lives." The scene then switches to the 1990s. The promise has not been kept as they have all lost touch with each other. Cynthia is an affluent but lonely and depressed woman. Her husband has just divorced her for a younger woman. She takes care of some final arrangements and then commits suicide.

The story proceeds with what has happened to the other three ladies. Elise had become a successful actress, even winning an Oscar once. But as she entered middle-age, her career has declined to playing in B movies, and then mostly cast as the "mother" of various leading ladies. Her husband Bill Atchison (Creator/VictorGarber) became a major film producer due to her contacts, but has now divorced her and moved on to starlet Phoebe [=LaVelle=] (Elizabeth Berkley), and he and Elise are involved in a legal battle over their joint assets.

Annie has not faired much better. She married Aaron Paradis, CEO of an advertising agency, and has spend many years as a housewife. Aaron has recently left her for their therapist, Dr. Leslie Rosen (Marcia Gay Harden) - a therapist who was already overseeing Annie's considerable self-esteem problems. Brenda is even worse. She helped set up her husband Morton 'Morty' Cushman as an electronics tycoon, only for him to trick her into signing away any claim to his assets and then leave her for his 'executive assistant', young Shelly Stewart (Creator/SarahJessicaParker).

When Cynthia's last message reaches them, the trio reconnect and, inspired by the ways in which each of them has been wronged by their ex-husbands, form the First Wives Club and set out to get their own back and take revenge. With the willing assistance of Annie's lesbian daughter Chris Paradis (Jennifer Dundas), aspiring designer Duarto (Bronson Pinchot), and society leader Gunilla Garson Goldberg (Creator/MaggieSmith), they have little trouble finding weaknesses in their former husbands' respective armors... particularly when they find that Phoebe [=LaVelle=] is only 16-year-old and Bill can be arrested for statutory rape.

A musical ScreenToStageAdaptation with a book by Rupert Holmes and songs by the Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland ran for several weeks in San Diego in 2009 in what was hyped as a pre-Broadway engagement, but that fell into DevelopmentHell. A new version of the show (with a different book writer, director, and choreographer attached) is set to attempt its own pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago come 2015.

!!This film provides examples of:

* TheAlcoholic: Elise.
-->'''Elise:''' I drink because I am a sensitive and highly-strung person.
-->'''Brenda:''' No, that's why your ''co-stars'' drink.
** Cynthia is also implied to have been one at the time of her suicide.
* AlliterativeName: Elise Elliot, Shelly Stewart, and one heck of an example in Gunilla Garson Goldberg.
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: Like the good MafiaPrincess she is, Brenda makes a very good one - [[spoiler: he'd give her the leadership of his company and all the power or she'll expose him for fraud]]. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Bonus]] for this happening in a cold room, kidnapped by ''real'' [[TheMafia Mafia]].
* ArtisticTitle: The film uses a series of 1960s-style images of women, along with a song about being the perfect wife.
* {{Auction}}: To resolve her legal issues with Bill, Elise agrees to sell her extensive collection of furniture, artwork, and other valuables (including Bill's Lamborghini convertible) and split the profits equally with him. She proceeds to sell the whole mess to Annie for $1, and Annie auctions everything off with Duarto and Gunilla encouraging Shelly to buy as much as possible with Morty's money. At the end of the film, the three women use the profits from the auction (plus contributions from their unwilling but blackmailed ex-husbands) to found a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
* BitchAlert: Shelly Stewart's EstablishingCharacterMoment is being passive aggressive towards Brenda and being blatantly a GoldDigger.
* BeautyIsBad: While the titular characters are hardly unattractive, much is made of the fact that they're being dumped by their husbands for younger, prettier women. Of the three, Shelly is depicted as a catty social climber, Phoebe as a ditz, and Leslie has betrayed her professional obligations as Annie's therapist by sleeping with her husband.
* {{Bookends}}: The movie starts with the three women dressed in black, attending their friend's funeral and lamenting the state of their marriages. It ends with them dressed in white, cheerfully celebrating their new lives.
* BrainlessBeauty: Phoebe and Shelly, and a good chunk of the other younger women featured.
* BrickJoke: Elise provides Bill with proof that Phoebe is underage (to his credit, he dumps her immediately). At the end, when he starts flirting with Shelly, he makes a point of asking her how old she is.
* BrokenAesop: When Shelly taunts Brenda about her weight, it's rightfully seen as incredibly cruel, but only minutes earlier, no one batted an eye when Brenda snarked "the bulimia has certainly paid off" in reference to Shelly's slimness. In fact, Brenda makes similar comments throughout the movie about slim women in general such as "anorexic fetus", etc, all of which are presented as amusing. So to clarify - teasing overweight/average weight people about being fat? Despicable. Jokes about a potentially deadly eating disorder that millions of people struggle with? Perfectly acceptable.
** There's also the fact that every man involved with a younger woman is made out to be a lecherous jerk, but when Elise starts dating a younger man towards the end of the film, it's a "you go, girl!" moment.
* ButchLesbian: Most, if not all, of the women in the gay bar scene. One also mistakes Morty for one when Brenda shows her his picture.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The women are clad in black at the beginning of the movie. Fitting, as they're not only attending a funeral, but are depressed about the end of their marriages. By the end of the film, having embarked on new lives and new relationships ([[spoiler: a reconciliation in Brenda' s case]]), they're wearing white.
* CoolUncle: Uncle Carmine is a cool uncle with Mafia connections who offers to his niece to [[IfYouEverDoAnythingToHurtHer deal with her ex-husband]].
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: To a degree, Morty is. [[spoiler: After all, he is guilty of income tax fraud.]]
* CreatorCameo: The late Olivia Goldsmith, who wrote the original book, appears as a mourner at Cynthia's funeral.
* DancePartyEnding: The closing scene features Elise, Annie and Brenda dancing down the street while singing Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me".
* DeadStarWalking: Stockard Channing as Cynthia Griffin.
* DemotedToExtra: Cynthia's husband and his new wife have basically one scene in the movie.
* DeadpanSnarker: Brenda's script is mostly made of snarky lines. To a lesser degree even Elise and Morty do count. And of course is a capital crime not mentioning Gunilla Garson Goldberg when she's played by Creator/MaggieSmith.
* DivorceIsTemporary: [[spoiler: After all, it was the case with Brenda and Morty]].
* DoubleStandardAbuseFemaleOnMale: After being dumped for younger women, the titular characters spend the movie making their exes miserable ruining job opportunities, blackmail, and hurling verbal abuse at them and their new girlfriends (and most younger women in general). One even has her husband ''kidnapped''. On the other hand, considering that in two cases the women were critical in the men's successes in the first place only to be [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness tossed aside once later]] and the third is a horrible breach of ethical professional practice, it may also be viewed as a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
* DrowningMySorrows: Elise, after aiming for the lead role in a film and instead being offered the role of the lead's "grotesque" mother while the lead role goes to Phoebe.
* DumbBlonde: Shelly. Especially bad as she's an accountant and surely had to have completed college and a master's degree to achieve this.
* EveryoneHasStandards: Bill is a grade A jerk, but he's genuinely shocked and horrified when he learns Phoebe is underage and dumps her immediately.
* FallenOnHardTimesJob: Brenda works for dilettante interior designer, according to Annie "one of the ten worst interior decorators in New York".
* FourIsDeath: The fourth "first wife," Cynthia.
* GoldDigger: Bill is heavily implied to be a male variation of this to Elise, becoming a star from her own ties and then divorcing her and claiming her assets (and being portrayed as thoroughly smug about it). Morty pulls a similar scam, though the ending implies he does have some genuine love for Brenda. Shelly to Morty also, as most of her scenes make it clear that she enjoys spending his money.
* {{Jailbait}}: Phoebe. Elise provides Bill with proof that she's only 16, shocking him, as he was genuinely not aware of this.
* KarmaHoudini: Other than a quick mention of her break up with Aaron at the end, [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse Dr. Rosen disappears]] after her second scene and receives no comeuppance (aside from Annie's [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech verbal tear down]]). In the real world, she would be exposed as a fraud, be hauled in front of the state medical board, and have her license revoked, or at the very least suspended, for sleeping with a patient and contributing to the collapse of his marriage, especially since his spouse was ''another patient.'' Annie, who mentions having paid this woman a fortune, also should have sued her into oblivion.
* KickTheDog: Most of the husbands get at least one to help justify the protagonists taking action against them. Aaron kicks the hardest when he spends a romantic night with Annie, leading her to believe they're reconciling, only to tell her that he wants a divorce.
* LighterAndSofter: The movie is a comedy, while the book is a lot more serious, including abuse as a theme.
* MafiaPrincess: Brenda. In the book, her connections was a way her husband got her to shut up during the divorce. In the movie, finding out her family helped Morty's business at first was how she got him.
* TheMole: Annie's daughter gets a job working at her father's advertising firm to spy on him for Annie.
* MistakenForGay: Elise is recognized at the gay club by a woman who is absolutely ecstatic to "discover" that her hunch about Elise's sexuality is correct. Elise doesn't even try to correct her, instead enjoying the attention.
* MyBelovedSmother: Played for laughs with Annie's mother is over-controlling at best, which has given her lifelong self-esteem issues, but it also turns out when Annie takes things into her own hands, she could be supportive when Annie ''really'' asks for her opinion.
* OhCrap: The looks on the husbands' faces when things go bad for them are an hilarious example.
* PlotTriggeringDeath: Cynthia's suicide is what drives the plot, since it brings the main characters together again.
* PowerTrio:
** Id: Elise (Impulse-driven, over-dramatic WhiteDwarfStarlet)
** Ego: Brenda (Reasonable, frank but blunt)
** Superego: Annie (Conciliatory, calm, emotional)
* PrettyInMink: The movie has quite a few furs.
* ReallyGetsAround: Elise. She's on her ''third'' marriage and during an argument, Brenda snarks about her sleeping around while they were in college.
* RevengeAgainstMen: In spades. The protagonists have been unfairly treated by their ex-husbands and the plot explores their elaborate revenge.
* RomanticFalseLead: [[spoiler: Shelly ends up being this for Morty.]]
* SmugSnake: Both Bill and Morty have shades of this to get the audience on Brenda and Elise's side. Ironically however it's the more neurotic Aaron that is portrayed as more odious and emotionally manipulative towards Annie (likely because he at least partially believes his own bullshit).
* StartsWithASuicide: Pretty much, other than a brief flashback.
* TrophyWife: The movie is about women who get dumped, often to be replaced by trophy wives/girlfriends. Phoebe, the ditzy starlet, and Shelly, the catty gold-digger, are the two most prominent examples, helping inspire the women they've replaced to create the club.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Phoebe drops out of the story entirely once it's revealed that she's underage, and we're never shown how she's affected by the abrupt end of her relationship with Bill and, presumably, the loss of the film role that came with it.
** Phoebe is actually in the audience at Elise's play, clapping enthusiastically. Since, unlike the other "other women", she never actually bore any ill will toward Elise and actually idolized her as an actress, one may assume that with Bill out of the picture they've become friends.
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: Elise Elliot is on her way to becoming this. She is still recognised by her fans, but her career is fading. She is struggling to get a role and when she finally thinks she will be cast as the star of a new film it turns out the young and hip regisseur wants her as the ugly and grotesque Mother. She has undergone major plastic surgery and is an alcoholic. She drunkenly complains about how Creator/SeanConnery is 300 years old and "still a stud," while women in Hollywood have only three ages: "babe, District Attorney, and Theatre/DrivingMissDaisy." In her apartment she has an entire room filled with her memorabilia, including prizes she won, gifts etc. Fortunately, by the end of the film she's doing much better thanks to Annie and Brenda's intervention and support.
* WhereEverybodyKnowsYourFlame: A rare lesbian example. It's like [[Series/QueerAsFolk Babylon]] on steroids. Of course, they ''are'' in Manhattan.