This song was written by Four Seasons member and chief songwriter Bob Gaudio along with their producer, Bob Crewe. It was inspired by a line in the 1955 western Tennessee's Partner, starring John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Ronald Reagan. When Payne's character slaps the blonde bombshell played by Fleming, he asks her what she thinks about being slapped. She gets up, composes herself, and replies, "Big girls don't cry."
Crewe, who was half-asleep at the time, jotted down the line, fell asleep, and wrote the song the next day.
This was designed to sound similar to The Four Seasons first hit, "Sherry," which topped the charts for five weeks a month before "Big Girls Don't Cry" hit the top spot. Motown soon applied the same approach to its acts: if someone had a hit - especially an unexpected one - follow it up with something very similar. Like "Sherry," this spent five weeks at #1 in the US.
Nick Massi sang the bass vocals on this track, repeating the phrase "silly boy." Massi's vocals were a big part of the group's early success, but he left the Four Seasons in 1965 as they moved away from the bass sound.
This song plays in the opening scene of the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing (which is set in 1963), and also appears in the films The Main Event (1979) and Mermaids (1990).