The date was Monday, August 4, 2003. It was a day much like any other midsummer day in New Bedford. But passions were high. Passion for Passionada.

Twenty years have passed since the worldwide premiere of the film Passionada at the now-defunct Flagship Cinemas on Kings Highway in New Bedford. The community was giddy.

Many scenes for Passionada, a film by Samuel Goldwyn Films, were shot in New Bedford, and that was an opportunity for local Hollywood wannabes to ham it up for the cameras.

20 Years Since "Passionada" Whipped New Bedford Into A Frenzy
Mary Serreze/Townsquare Media

Passionada opened nationally on August 15, 2003.

Passionada is a romantic comedy about a Portuguese widow, played by Sophia Milos, whose late husband, a fisherman, died at sea.

Trailer World via YouTube
Trailer World via YouTube
loading... says, "The widow's naive teenage daughter wants to be a professional gambler, and she convinces her mother to date a British man who's new in town." The site says, "The widow falls for the Brit, a professional gambler who pretends to be in the fishing business."

Trailer World via YouTube
Trailer World via YouTube

Passionada was written by David Bakalar, Jim Jermanok, and Steve Jermanok and directed by Dan Ireland. The film co-stars Jason Isaacs and Emmy Rossum.

Pasionada features many local landmarks, including the Neds Point Light and The Shawmut Diner, and gave many local folks a chance to be a film extra. My Uncle Bap was a fisherman in a scene, mumbling something while waving at the real stars.

Passionada was a hit locally but bombed everywhere else. The film, which opened in 74 theaters, took in only $123,568 on opening day, according to The site says Passionada grossed less than a million dollars.

The film is available to watch on Amazon.

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