It Could Happen to You (1994)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  29 July 1994 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 26,512 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 34 critic

A police officer promises to share his lottery ticket with a waitress in lieu of a tip.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Guarding Tess (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A former First Lady of the US wants a particular Secret Service agent to head her bodyguard detail, even though he can't stand her.

Director: Hugh Wilson
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Nicolas Cage, Austin Pendleton
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Residents of a friendly Pennsylvania town foil three brothers' plan to rob a bank on Christmas Eve.

Director: George Gallo
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

On her deathbed, a mother makes her son promise never to get married, which scars him with psychological blocks to a commitment with his girlfriend. They finally decide to tie the knot in ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew Bergman
Stars: James Caan, Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife.

Director: Brett Ratner
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, Don Cheadle
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Inspired by the modern classic, Wings of Desire, City involves an angel (Cage) who is spotted by a doctor in an operating room. Franz plays Cage's buddy who somehow knows a lot about angels.

Director: Brad Silberling
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When Andrew Sterling, a successful black urbanite writer buys a vacation home on a resort in New England the police mistake him for a burglar. After surrounding his home with armed men, ... See full summary »

Director: E. Max Frye
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Lerner
8MM (1999)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini
Kiss of Death (1995)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A reformed convict goes undercover with the help of an angry detective to ensnare a psychotic mobster.

Director: Barbet Schroeder
Stars: David Caruso, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicolas Cage
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Chicago weather man, separated from his wife and children, debates whether professional and personal success are mutually exclusive.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Hope Davis, Nicholas Hoult
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.

Director: Mike Figgis
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands
Red Rock West (1993)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When a promised job for Texan Michael fails to materialise in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne to be the hitman he hired to kill his unfaithful wife, Suzanne. Mike takes full advantage of... See full summary »

Director: John Dahl
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle
Moonstruck (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously).

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis


Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlie Lang
Yvonne Biasi
Muriel Lang
Bo Williams
Jack Gross
Eddie Biasi
Sal Bontempo
Walter Zakuto
C. Vernon Hale
Robert Dorfman ...
Beatrice Winde ...
Ginny Yang ...
Mrs. Sun


Charlie and Muriel Lang have led simple lives - for most of their existance. That's until they win $4 million on the lottery! There is a problem, however. Prior to winning the lottery, Charlie had eaten at a cafe and hadn't been able to tip the waitress. He had promised her, jokingly, that if he won the lottery he'd give her half of it. This is why his wife, Muriel decides to leave him. She doesn't want the waitress to get a cent of their money. Infact she wants all $4 million for herself! Written by Michael Feller <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's not about money. It's about life. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and a scene of cop action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 July 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip!  »

Box Office


£300,230 (UK) (11 November 1994)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title was originally going to be "Cop Gives Waitress Two Million Dollar Tip". See more »


At the beginning of the film, the character of Angel Dupree (portrayed by 'Isaac Hayes (I)') states that "The story you're about to see... it's pretty much all true." In fact, the only resemblance the fictionalized account bears to the real story is that it involves a cop and waitress splitting the proceeds of a lottery ticket. In reality, the cop, Robert Cunningham, and the waitress, Phyllis Penzo, had been acquainted for fifteen years, as Cunningham was a regular customer in the restaurant where Penzo worked. One night, Cunningham jokingly offered half interest in the proceeds of his lottery ticket to Penzo, and each chose half the numbers; therefore, the waitress was actually responsible for half the winning numbers, making the lottery money legitimately half hers as opposed to the generous gift it is portrayed as in the film. There was also never a romance between the two; both Penzo and Cunningham were and continue to be happily married to other people, and Cunningham had his wife's full support in sharing the lottery proceeds. While some dramatic license is to be expected in a film adaptation of actual events, the story told in the film could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered "pretty much all true." See more »


Angel Dupree: [Narrating] Tonight, I had the opportunity to study grace and generosity under the direst of circumstances. Even in "their darkest hour", Officer Charlie Lang and the good-hearted Ms. Yvonne Biasi shared a bowl of soup with me. When I left, this good Samaritan gave me money from his own pocket, wishing it could be more.
See more »


Features Designing Women (1986) See more »


Round of Blues
Written by Shawn Colvin and Larry Klein
Performed by Shawn Colvin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An enjoyable piece of escapism
30 June 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

The question that probably everybody once asked to himself / herself and many others is: what would you do if you won the lottery? Well, I know what I would do with it. I wouldn't change much to my lifestyle, but for those who don't know what to expect, this movie gives a good idea of how gaining a lot of money in a short period of time can influence your entire life... But I don't watch movies to know what to do with my life and neither should other people. Movies are entertainment and this one certainly offers plenty of that.

When Charlie Lang, a New York cop with a heart of gold, can't give a tip to Yvonne, a waitress at a small diner, he promises her that he will come back the next day to give her the double of her money or, in case he wins anything, half of his share of the state lottery. Of course she doesn't believe him, but when he comes back the next day and offers her the chance to chose between the two options, she goes for the lottery option. Only than he tells her that he has won 4 million dollars and that she will get half of that. But there is only one problem: his wife Muriel. She gets greedy, certainly doesn't want to share her money with a waitress she doesn't know, but doesn't even want to share it with her own husband. As Charlie and Muriel grow apart, Charlie and Yvonne grow together and it doesn't take long before Muriel files for divorce, grabs all the money and leaves with a rich man by her side...

There are plenty of romantic comedies nowadays and it is very hard to find a really good one. Well, this might be one of the few. I really liked it and there are many reasons for that. One certainly is that, despite the fact that we live in a world full of greed and egoism, some writers still try to give us hope by showing that not everything in the world is bad. OK, that may sound incredibly naive, but I really am not that stupid as you might think. I'm a business man in heart and soul, but sometimes I can really enjoy this type of positive escapism.

The fact that Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda play an important role in this movie also helps of course. And it has to be said, they really played their roles well and very convincingly. But they weren't the only ones, because the same can be said about Rosie Perez. She's incredibly good as the money-hungry bitch and despite what many people might think, she doesn't exaggerate. I've known people to change into someone just like her character once they had a bit of money in their hands... Overall this is a nice, perhaps a bit naive movie with some good acting and an interesting story. I really liked what I saw and find this one of the better romantic comedies I've ever seen. I give it a score of at least 7.5/10, although I think that even an 8/10 isn't exaggerated.

30 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
who wouldnt be mad at their husband LilyViolet
He didn't have to give her $2m strangerfromuk
What would do you if you won $4 million? cmyklefty
little annoyance imagine85
What are they throwing at the end? lexie3787
Real life: Waitress gets Porsche as a tip! emenel
Discuss It Could Happen to You (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: