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Diner (1982)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  5 March 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 14,267 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 87 user | 42 critic | 10 from

A group of college-age buddies struggle with their imminent passage into adulthood in 1959 Baltimore.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William 'Billy' Howard (as Timothy Daly)
Kathryn Dowling ...
Michael Tucker ...
Jessica James ...
Mrs. Simmons
Colette Blonigan ...
Carol Heathrow
Kelle Kipp ...
John Aquino ...
Richard Pierson ...
David Frazer
Claudia Cron ...
Jane Chisholm


Early twenty-something Baltimoreans Eddie, Shrevie, Boogie, Billy, Fenwick and Modell have been friends since they were kids, where the center of their lives has been and still is the Fells Point Diner. It's the last week of 1959. Baltimore Colts fanatic Eddie is scheduled to get married to Elyse on New Year's Eve, but may call off the wedding if Elyse doesn't pass his Colts quiz which he will hold two days before the scheduled wedding. Inexperienced Eddie turns to the only other married one among the bunch, electronics salesman and music aficionado Shrevie, for advice, he who may not be the best person from who to ask advice on marriage since he doesn't yet realize that he probably got married to his wife Beth for the wrong reasons. Indeed, Beth, who has lost her sense of identity, is unhappy in their marriage, and contemplates having an affair with someone who provides what she believes is a sympathetic shoulder. Hairdresser and law school student Boogie is the player of the bunch, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Suddenly, life was more than french fries, gravy and girls. See more »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Diner  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$14,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Debut feature film directed by Barry Levinson. See more »


In the first diner scene with the roast beef sandwich, Shrevie takes the sandwich from Eddie but in the next camera cut, you can see Eddie has the sandwich back and is still eating it. See more »


Billy: I'll hit you so hard, I'll kill your whole family.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits run as we hear another diner conversation between the guys. See more »


References The Journey (1959) See more »


Dream Lover
Written and performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

Adolescence Goes Out with a Bang!!!
19 August 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Seldom does a film capture fond memories with a lovable ADULT!! immaturity...You will never find a more sensational cast, Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Tim Daly, Daniel Stern, Ellen Barkin, and Micheal Tucker!!!....This film has an astute portrayal of meaningless conversation being the key focal point for everyone and everything...The platonic bond in this film leaves room for immeasurable tolerance particularly on account of dedicated human affection and evokes an epitome of the pleasant camaraderie pertinent to the 1950's.. Friends are not friends by just saying nice things to each other, rather because they have shared their adolescent lives with one another, and the realization of adulthood sparks an indispensable fondness all of the major characters in the film mutually share!! At a glance, someone may perceive this film to be a movie version of "Happy Days"...but the intense and poignant performances of all the characters in the film (particularly Steve Guttenberg's) makes anyone who sees this movie wonder if maybe it would have been nice to live in Baltimore in 1959!!!

Usually, there is a pejorative interpretation of the term "IMMATURE", but in this film, it establishes a social cohesiveness that reflects the enviable naivety of the times!!!...Everybody recognizes everyone else's preventable flaws...The proverbial friendship safety net which perennially prevails throughout this entire film, makes them feel very fortunate because they know that their lives are not perfect!!!..Their precociousness resonates itself to a bittersweet comedy, and is advocated as such, since comedy is limitless, because so too is human error...Evaluating the actors in the movie, it is simply incredible!! Steve Guttenberg is Police Academy King!! Tim Daley in the hit show "Wings" He seemed to understand that role perfectly!! Kevin Bacon, the eighties icon including "Footloose" Daniel Stern, the director and voice in "Wonder Years" Mickey Rourke "9 1/2 Weeks" Every male between the ages of 42 and 50 is insanely jealous!! Ellen Barkin "The Big Easy" and a host of others!! and of course, Paul Reiser "Mad About You"...Acting talent of this copious quantity exudes a plethora of non disputable top notch Hollywood entertainment!! All of the actors in this film established a compilation of feelings that were genuine, for better or for worse (pun intended!!).. Memories were safeguarded to make the recognizable distinction between friends and acquaintances!! Life was irksome at times, but they always sought respite!! The boys/men knew they could attain refuge and solace at the Diner!! Be it from eating French Fries with gravy, expounding about first experiences, bickering over nothing whatsoever, and most significantly, thoroughly and completely understanding each other!!! No matter what happens they will always have the Diner!!

How many films put a realistically humorous spin on adversity!! How many films provide a humanistic heartfelt laughter about everything!! More importantly!! What films make you realize truly that people make all the difference in your life!! Diner was indeed such a film!! All of the actors in this movie have had tremendous careers, and this movie is testimony as to why!! When evaluating your life, you realize how trite imperfections are the only valid means of appreciating your precarious endeavors, and your concise perception of what adolescence transitioning into adulthood truly signifies!! It is a wonderful experience when a film far exceeds your expectations and puts an acute awareness on what matters in your life!! With the Rolls Royce of directors/writers Barry Levinson, (Natural, Rain Man & Good Morning Vietnam, to name but a few!!) and an absolutely fabulous cast, (if a director ever wants a young cast with a cop esthetically emerging potential like this one ever again, he will have to get it from the guy with the red horns!!!) this film is one of the finest!!!! Top 20 in my book and top 30 for comedies according to the critics of AFI!!!!

78 of 93 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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