Today marks the 20th birthday of 'Pretty Woman,' released in theaters on March 23, 1990. Wow, 20 years... that's old enough to drive a borrowed Lotus Esprit, but not to drink. It's also just a year younger than Julia Roberts was when she shot the movie alongside 40-year-old love interest Richard Gere.

A romantic comedy about a hooker, based on a bleak script, starring a relatively unknown actress and an over-the-hill leading man, 'Pretty Woman' should have flopped. (Today's New York Post has all the behind-the-scenes history of this unlikely film.) Instead, it was an enormous worldwide hit, launching Julia Roberts to megastardom, reviving Gere's career, providing a dignified swan song for Ralph Bellamy (a Hollywood mainstay for more than half a century, he made his final screen appearance as the shipping mogul who inspires Gere's corporate raider to stop being a parasite) and setting trends in Hollywood for decades to come. Even now, filmmakers are still taking its lessons to heart. Such as:
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