Hester Street (1975)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  6 August 1976 (Denmark)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 912 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 21 critic

It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (novel)
0Check in
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The emotional story of a young man in a mental institution for teens who begins to understand his psychosis in the environment of others with mental and emotional problems. He finds ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When the head of a large manufacturing firm dies suddenly from a stroke, his vice-presidents vie to see who will replace him.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A prostitute, sentenced to death for alleged murder, pleads her innocence.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent
Claudine (1974)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the 1970s Harlem, garbage collector Roop feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six on welfare.

Director: John Berry
Stars: Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The relationship between an aspiring dancer and a popular songstress provides a retrospective of the great African American entertainers of the early 1900s.

Director: Andrew L. Stone
Stars: Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Manhattan single meets a man through her Jewish grandmother's matchmaker.

Director: Joan Micklin Silver
Stars: Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Reizl Bozyk
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jane Froman (Susan Hayward), an aspiring songstress, lands a job in radio with help from pianist Don Ross (David Wayne), whom she later marries. Jane's popularity soars, and she leaves on a... See full summary »

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Susan Hayward, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A father will do anything to protect his family's reputation when his unmarried teenage daughter becomes pregnant because she was raped by her brother's friend.

Director: William Fruet
Stars: Carol Kane, Donald Pleasence, Doris Petrie
Accident (1967)
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Oxford professor of philosophy Stephen has two favorite pupils, the athletic aristocrat William and the Austrian Anna von Graz. Stephen is a frustrated man, with a negligent wife, ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker, Jacqueline Sassard
Isadora (1968)
Certificate: M Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, the 1920s dancer who forever changed people's ideas of ballet. Her nude, semi-nude, and pro-Soviet dance projects as well as her attitudes on free ... See full summary »

Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, James Fox, Jason Robards
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated negro woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished negro youths.

Director: Oscar Micheaux
Stars: Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin
Sex and the Married Woman (TV Movie 1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A suburban housewife writes a novel based on her neighbors' sex lives. It becomes a runaway best seller, but causes no end of trouble in her marriage and her relationships with her neighbors.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Barry Newman, Joanna Pettet, Keenan Wynn


Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats ...
Mel Howard ...
Dorrie Kavanaugh ...
Mrs. Kavarsky
Stephen Strimpell ...
Joe Peltner
Lauren Frost ...
Paul Freedman ...
Martin Garner ...
Leib Lensky ...
Zane Lasky ...
Zvee Scooler ...
Eda Reiss Merin ...
Rabbi's Wife
Robert Lesser ...
Jake's Landlady


It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. He has assimilated to American life, having learned English, anglicized his name to Jake, and shaved off his beard. He is working at a $12/week job as a seamster, the money earned to be able to bring his wife Gitl and his son Yossele to America from Russia. Regardless, he has fallen in love with another woman, a dancer named Mamie Fein. Nonetheless, he is excited when he learns that Gitl and Yossele are indeed coming to America. His happiness at their arrival is dampened when he sees that Gitl is not "American" looking like Mamie and has troubles assimilating as quickly as he would like. Except to Mamie, he tries to show a public façade that everything is fine at home with Gitl. But can their marriage survive these differences, and if not, will Gitl be able to manage in this new... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Goodbye O Lord, I'm Going To America!


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 August 1976 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Calle Hester, tierra de promisión  »

Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This low-budget film cost only US $400,000 to make but grossed around US $5 million in the USA alone. See more »


After Mamie leaves Jake's apartment after meeting Gitl for the first time, they're talking in the stairwell. Mamie's left earring falls off as they're talking and she leaves without it. See more »


Featured in The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) See more »


Music for Cornet
Composed by Herbert L. Clarke
Adapted by William Bolcom
Performed by Gerard Schwarz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Once Upon a Time On Hester Street
3 June 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Joan Micklin Silver's directorial debut is a lovely, funny, warm, and observant historical drama-comedy about Jewish immigrants who left the little shtetl in Russia in the end of the 19th century for the hopes of better life and success in America. The film tells the story of a young couple, Jake (Steven Keats) and Gitl (Carol Kane). The husband came to Lower East End of Manhattan five years before his family and has gladly accepted American way of life making transition from Yankel to a Yankee, losing his beard and side curls on a way to become a real American and falling in love with Mamie Fine, attractive and independent young woman, an immigrant herself. When his wife Gitl and their son Yossi (Joey) arrive from Russia and join him in the flat at Hester Street, Jake is torn between his desire "to live like educated people in an educated country" and his wife's quiet but firm holding on to the traditions of Old Country. More likely, their marriage was arranged by their families in Russia and they don't have much in common when they meet after having lived separately in two different worlds for five years. The film concentrates on Gitl, quiet, gentle, pious seemingly fragile and naive young woman with huge dark eyes who has to make very serious decisions about her new life and how to make sense of it.

Everything about this small independent movie is fine - its authentic look that was achieved by beautiful B/W cinematography, its soundtrack that uses the music by Herbert L. Clarke, a composer and famous cornet player; the dialogs in two languages, English and Yiddish, full of very unique humor that still shines. There are no villains in the story and no stereotypes. All characters have one thing in common - one day, they took a chance to start over, to leave their past behind, to movie to the absolutely new unknown world with the different language, customs, traditions, rhythm of life and to try to survive and succeed and not to lose their unique identity. Comic, moving, warm, lyrical, with the loving attention to the smallest details, with the love and understanding for its characters, "Hester street" is a perfect example of an independent art movie that was made on the shoe string budget, had difficulties to find distributors, but luckily did not get lost, found its way to the viewers, and brought Jewish ethnicity to the screen. One does not have to be an Art movie buff or an immigrant to enjoy "Hester Street". The simple story of a young traditional woman's transformation and coming to terms with her new life can be enjoyed by any viewer regardless their age, gender, or ethnic background.

Carol Cane is fantastic as Gitl and more than deserves her Academy Award nomination for the Best Leading Actress. Doris Roberts (Marie of "Everybody Loves Raymond") is equally good as Gitl's and Jake's neighbor, Mrs. Kavisnky who becomes Gitl's friend and adviser.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
7/10 dustin-jones
Hester Street logline glenysrowe
Sepia asoloway
Great movie CrossCountryDriver
Question heberald26
Deleted scenes ? dktenor
Discuss Hester Street (1975) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: