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Hester Street (1975)

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)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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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:

A Rua da Esperança  »

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?


The Hester Street in the film was not the real Hester Street in New York City's Manhattan. It was played by Morton Street in New York's Greenwich Village. See more »


Early scene at table with Gitl, her husband, son and boarder, one can see the mic in the upper right-hand corner. See more »


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

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User Reviews

Nice and quaint.
7 July 1999 | by (Marietta, GA, USA) – See all my reviews

With its black-and-white cinematography, soundtrack music, and Jewish characters, this film at times reminded me superficially of a Woody Allen movie. But writer/director Joan Micklin Silver made an original film here. If you like a movie that immerses you in a less-familiar culture you might give 'Hester Street' a try.

Steven Keats plays a Russian emigre who prides himself on the way he's molded himself into a real Yankee in the USA, though the world he lives in, New York's Lower East Side in the late 19th century, is almost exclusively populated by other Jewish immigrants. When his wife (Carol Kane) finally arrives in the New World, however, she has a lot of assimilating to do. This causes the tension which drives the movie along, though it maintains a fairly light atmosphere most of the time.

Keats and Kane do fine jobs in their roles; in fact, Kane was nominated for an Academy Award. Dorrie Kavanaugh and Doris Roberts are among the good supporting cast.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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