The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  5 May 1975 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,077 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 14 critic

A suddenly unemployed ex-executive suffers a nervous breakdown.



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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:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story-line of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" is not dis-similar to the earlier play and movie The Out of Towners (1970) which also starred Jack Lemmon in its film version. 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 »


Harry Edison: You're 113 years old between the two of you, and neither one of you makes any sense.
See more »


Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

A Hearty Approval of a Wonderful Film
23 September 1999 | by (Greensboro, NC) – See all my reviews

Being a Jack Lemmon fan, I can't help but be biased when it comes to watching his films. But I have to say, even by Lemmon's standards, "Prisoner" is one of his finest performances. He displays a broad range of emotion as Mel Edison, a corporate exec who falls victim to the unemployment crisis of the seventies. Anne Bancroft is nicely cast as his wife, Edna--it's almost hard to believe watching this film that this is the same woman who played in "G.I. Jane" as a crooked senator. And, although another viewer here frowned upon the casting of Gene Saks' as Mel's brother Harry, I always enjoy seeing the director in front of the camera (Saks directed another of my faves, "The Odd Couple"). The direction is pretty tight, and the interludes between acts include humorous voice-overs from a fictional radio announcer (you'll have to listen closely to catch some of the jokes). Look for Sylvester Stallone in a cameo appearance. I heartily recommend this film to all Jack Lemmon fans, as well as to those who enjoy a good comedy that's not all slapstick and guffaws.

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