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Pennies from Heaven (1981)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,682 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 25 critic

During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

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Title: Pennies from Heaven (1981)

Pennies from Heaven (1981) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Vernel Bagneris ...
...
Mr. Warner
...
The Detective
Jay Garner ...
The Banker
Robert Fitch ...
Al
...
Ed
Eliska Krupka ...
The Blind Girl
...
Tom
...
The Bartender (as Frank McCarthy)
Raleigh Bond ...
Mr. Barrett
Gloria LeRoy ...
A Prostitute (as Gloria Leroy)
Nancy Parsons ...
The Old Whore
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Storyline

In Chicago during the 1930s depression, sheet music salesman Arthur Parker is trying to sell his products, but it's not easy to convince unwilling music store owners to buy them. Although he's already married to the somewhat drab Joan, when he meets school teacher Eileen in a music store, he falls in love with her. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's a world on both sides of the rainbow where songs come true and every time it rains, it rains...

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pennies from Heaven  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

("Follow the Fleet" dream sequence)| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About nine million copper colored coins were used for the musical sequence where pennies fall from heaven. See more »

Goofs

While the film is set in 1934, the characters watch Follow the Fleet (1936) in a movie theater - that film was released in 1936. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Arthur Parker: Joan... Joanie? Sugar? C'mon, Joan... sugar... wake up, baby.
Joan Parker: No, Arthur, don't.
Arthur Parker: Oh, baby... come on, sugar.
Joan Parker: No, it's too early, Arthur.
Arthur Parker: Oh, Joan.
Joan Parker: Arthur, there isn't time.
Arthur Parker: Oh, there's always time for this. Joan, come on.
Joan Parker: Stop it, Arthur! No, don't!
Joan Parker: [getting out of bed] No... I said no!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Serbian Film (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
(1931)
Music by Ray Henderson (uncredited)
Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva (uncredited) and Lew Brown (uncredited)
Performed by Walter S. Harrah (as Walt Harrah), Gene Merlino, Vern Rowe,
Robert Tebow and Al Vescovo
Mimed onscreen by Steve Martin (uncredited), Bernadette Peters (uncredited),
and Jessica Harper (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Ahead of its time
3 August 2004 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

When Herb Ross opened "Pennies From Heaven" during Christmas of 1981 it met with harsh press and public indifference. Many concluded the musical was dead.

But "Pennies," like Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz" released two years before, is a key transitional work that juxtaposed the cynicism of the '70s to the exhilaration and escapist fantasy of its buoyant Depression era score.

Steve Martin ran the risk of alienating his fan base by trading in the "Wild and Crazy" guy for the brooding, unfaithful Arthur Parker. But he's a revelation. And what a dancer!

It was no surprise when audiences stayed away.

By all means watch it today, particularly on the new widescreen DVD release. You'll walk away with a greater appreciation of Christopher Walken, Bernadette Peters and especially Steve Martin.

It makes it so much harder to watch this major talent wasting himself in such tripe as "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Bringing Down the House."


28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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