Pretty Woman is a 1990 American romantic comedy film set in Los Angeles. Written by J. F. Lawton and directed by Garry Marshall, it stars Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and features Hector Elizondo, Ralph Bellamy (in his final performance), Laura San Giacomo and Jason Alexander in supporting roles. Its story centers on down-on-her-luck Hollywood hooker Vivian Ward, who is hired by Edward Lewis, a wealthy businessman, to be his escort for several business and social functions, and their developing relationship over the course of her week-long stay with him.
Originally intended to be a dark cautionary tale about class and sex work in Los Angeles, the film was reconceived as a romantic comedy with a large budget. It was widely successful at the box office, and it became one of the highest money-makers of 1990.
The film is one of the most popular films of all time; it saw the highest number of ticket sales in the US ever for a romantic comedy, with Box Office Mojo listing it as the #1 romantic comedy by the highest estimated domestic tickets sold at 42,176,400, slightly ahead of My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) at 41,419,500 tickets.
The film received critical praise, particularly for the performance of Roberts, for which she received a Golden Globe Award, and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition, screenwriter J. F. Lawton was nominated for a Writers Guild Award and a BAFTA Award. It was followed by a string of similar romantic comedies, including Runaway Bride (1999), which reunited Gere and Roberts, again under the direction of Garry Marshall.