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The Front (1976)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  17 September 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,055 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 40 critic

A cashier poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herschel Bernardi ...
Phil Sussman
Alfred Miller
Remak Ramsay ...
Marvin Lichterman ...
Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough ...
Joshua Shelley ...
Norman Rose ...
Howard's Attorney
Committee Counselor
Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer)
Danny LaGattuta
T. V. Interviewer


In the early 1950s Howard Prince, who works in a restaurant, helps out a black-listed writer friend by selling a TV station a script under his own name. The money is useful in paying off gambling debts, so he takes on three more such clients. Howard is politically pretty innocent, but involvement with Florence - who quits TV in disgust over things - and friendship with the show's ex-star - now himself blacklisted - make him start to think about what is really going on. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


America's Most Unlikely Hero.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 September 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El testaferro  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film opens with a selection of black-and-white film clips from the early 1950s. These include, according to the "McCarthyism and the Movies" website, "Senator Joe B. McCarthy's wedding, bombing raids on Korea and a family entering a backyard air raid shelter". See more »


An establishing shot up the Bowery to the Peter Cooper statue (before the script exchange) doesn't include the El tracks, which would have still been present until the Third Avenue El made its last run in May 1955. See more »


Howard Prince: [to Sam] I - I still don't see why we can't fix it. You know what I me...? Pay somebody off 'cau - 'cause how much cou-could it cost, you know, 'cause they're just Congressmen?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits the people involved with the movie who were blacklisted are listed along with the year they were blacklisted. See more »


Referenced in Manhattan (1979) See more »


Young at Heart
Sung by Frank Sinatra
Music by Johnny Richards
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
See more »

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User Reviews

Not funny but a great movie
2 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fictionalized look about the 1950s blacklist. Woody Allen (in a rare dramatic role) plays a man who sells the scripts of blacklisted writers under his name. He splits the proceeds with the writers. He's apolitical--he's just doing it to help friends. Then he starts to see how horrible the blacklist is and how it's destroying people and careers. He wants to take a stand--but how can he?

This is often mentioned as being a comedy. In that respect, it fails. There was nothing funny about the blacklist. But, as a drama with light moments, it works. It moves quickly, is well written (by a former blacklisted writer), well-directed (by another blacklisted man) and stars two blacklisted actors! Basically these people know what happened so that actually helps. Allen is surprisingly good in a dramatic role--who knew he had it in him? He tones down all his mannerisms and delivers a very controlled, nicely done job. Andrea Marcovicci (whatever happened to her?) is also good playing his girlfriend. And Michael Murphy is excellent as one of the blacklisted writers. And Zero Mostel is just superb as a blacklisted actor. The pain and confusion shows plainly on his face. This was also one of his last films---he died 2 years later of a heart attack. Also look for Danny Aiello in a small role. The 1950s era is captured beautifully, the film looks great and they have Frank Sinatra singing (ironically) "Young at Heart" at the beginning and end of the film. Great final line too.

But I'm only giving this a 9. The script is good but a little too simplistic and painted in very broad strokes. The bad guys are evil to the core and all the blacklisted people are shown as being victims. That's NOT how it was. They were probably writing down to appeal to a mainstream audience but went too far.

This bombed badly back in 1976--it's easy to see why. The subject matter is too strong for most audiences and the movie company (I heard) was completely at a loss on how to deal with this. Just a year before an entire blacklisting sequence was cut from "The Way We Were". Sadly Hollywood was STILL touchy about this subject in the 1970s.

This should be seen by more people--it really deserves to be discovered. A lot of people don't even KNOW about the blacklist. Well worth seeing.

40 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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