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The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  5 May 1975 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,045 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 14 critic

A suddenly unemployed ex-executive suffers a nervous breakdown.



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The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edna Edison
Gene Saks ...
Harry Edison
Belle Edison
Mr. Jacobi
Gene Blakely ...
Ivor Francis ...
Stack Pierce ...
Patricia Marshall ...
Mrs. Jacobi
Dee Carroll ...
Ketty Lester ...
Unemployment Clerk
Taxi Driver


The story of Mel and Edna (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft), a middle-class, middle-aged, middle-happy couple living in a Manhattan high rise apartment building. Mel loses his job, the apartment is robbed, Edna gets a job, Mel loses his mind, Edna loses her job . . . to say nothing of the more minor tribulations of nosy neighbors, helpful relatives and exact bus fares. The couple suffers indignity after indignity (some self-inflicted) and when they seem on the verge of surrender, they thumb their noses defiantly and dig the trenches for battle. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...and you think you've got problems.




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1975 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Második utca foglyai  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Third of four appearances by Jack Lemmon in a film written by Neil Simon. The others were The Odd Couple (1968) and The Out of Towners (1970) with The Odd Couple II (1998) being the last. See more »


(at around 1h 12 mins) Harry's hands jump from being neatly interlaced on his lap to sprawled out on the chair arms. See more »


Mel: Oh am I gonna get that guy Jacoby! I know exactly what time he comes home.
See more »

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User Reviews

Pertinent Prisoner
6 August 2008 | by (Silicon Valley) – See all my reviews

I've always thought of Neil Simon as being the one playwright consistently able to capture the genuine flavor of New York as a backdrop to the realistic personalities of his characters. Not being a New Yorker - Silicon Valley is about as far away as you can get - I'm afraid I have not been drawn to movies of his plays as strongly as to other comedies.

But Prisoner of Second Avenue is an exception. Maybe it's because I am indeed in Silicon Valley, where layoffs are something we all get to experience. But this movie captured so aptly the craziness of being laid off, staying home all day - seeing only the one you love (but starting to hate him/her too as an extension of your own self-hatred). Making petty grievances huge, and trying to pretend the truly huge issues no longer exist. And worrying about the bills, and the clothes, and how silly the family behaves when money gets involved. And how the bad luck seems to snowball. And how "therapy" sessions seem so futile.

The acting is superb - but I don't know of a movie where Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft have ever given us any less. Bancroft, in particular, when she makes the transition to anger, is perfect. Thankfully we're not handed any sop at the end either.

The subject is so realistic that I don't find it funny at all - but that's a failing of the times we live in, not the movie. A great flick.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Censored on TCM? yakikorosu
Can someone tell me what this film is actually about? bullsch
what a classic film....Jack Lemmon was great!!! eric_rosenberg7
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This movie reminds me of another... jawebster2000
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