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The Cotton Club
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The Cotton Club (1984) More at IMDbPro »

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The Cotton Club -- Trailer


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Down 15% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Kennedy (screenplay) &
Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Cotton Club on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 December 1984 (USA) See more »
It was the jazz age. It was an era of elegance and violence. The action was gambling. The stakes were life and death. See more »
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
OK Movie with too much going on and too messy See more (79 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Gere ... Dixie Dwyer

Gregory Hines ... Sandman Williams

Diane Lane ... Vera Cicero

Lonette McKee ... Lila Rose Oliver

Bob Hoskins ... Owney Madden

James Remar ... Dutch Schultz

Nicolas Cage ... Vincent Dwyer

Allen Garfield ... Abbadabba Berman

Fred Gwynne ... Frenchy Demange

Gwen Verdon ... Tish Dwyer

Lisa Jane Persky ... Frances Flegenheimer
Maurice Hines ... Clay Williams

Julian Beck ... Sol Weinstein

Novella Nelson ... Madame St. Clair

Laurence Fishburne ... Bumpy Rhodes (as Larry Fishburne)

John P. Ryan ... Joe Flynn (as John Ryan)

Tom Waits ... Irving Stark

Ron Karabatsos ... Mike Best

Glenn Withrow ... Ed Popke

Jennifer Grey ... Patsy Dwyer
Wynonna Smith ... Winnie Williams
Thelma Carpenter ... Norma Williams
Charles 'Honi' Coles ... Suger Coates

Larry Marshall ... Cab Calloway

Joe Dallesandro ... Charles 'Lucky' Luciano

Ed O'Ross ... Monk
Frederick Downs Jr. ... Sullen Man

Diane Venora ... Gloria Swanson

Tucker Smallwood ... Kid Griffin

Woody Strode ... Holmes
Bill Graham ... J.W.
Dayton Allen ... Solly

Kim Chan ... Ling
Ed Rowan ... Messiah
Leonard Termo ... Danny

George Cantero ... Vince Hood

Brian Tarantina ... Vince Hood

Bruce MacVittie ... Vince Hood

James Russo ... Vince Hood

Giancarlo Esposito ... Bumpy Hood
Bruce Hubbard ... Bumpy Hood
Rony Clanton ... Caspar Holstein

Damien Leake ... Bub Jewett

Bill Cobbs ... Big Joe Ison
Joe Lynn ... Marcial Flores
Oscar Barnes ... Spanish Henry
Ed Zang ... Hotel Clerk (as Edward Zang)
Sandra Beall ... Myrtle Fay
Zane Mark ... Duke Ellington
Tom Signorelli ... Butch Murdock

Paul Herman ... Policeman #1

Randle Mell ... Policeman #2
Steve Vignari ... Trigger Mike Coppola
Susan Mechsner ... Gypsie
Gregory Rozakis ... Charlie Chaplin

Marc Coppola ... Ted Husing
Norma Jean Darden ... Elda Webb
Robert Earl Jones ... Stage Door Joe

Vincent Jerman-Jerosa ... James Cagney (as Vincent Jerosa)

Rosalind Harris ... Fanny Brice
Steve Cafiso ... Child in Street
John Cafiso ... Child in Street

Sofia Coppola ... Child in Street (as Domino)
Ninon Digiorgio ... Child in Street
Daria Hines ... Child in Street
Patricia LeTang ... Child in Street
Christopher Lewis ... Child in Street
Danielle Osborne ... Child in Street
Jason Papalardo ... Child in Street
Demetrius Pena ... Child in Street
Priscilla Baskerville ... 'Creole Love Call' sung by
Ethel Beatty ... Bandana Babies Lead Vocal / Dancer
Sydney Goldsmith ... Barbecue Bess sung by
James 'Buster' Brown ... Hoofer
Ralph Brown ... Hoofer
Harold Cromer ... Hoofer
Bubba Gaines ... Hoofer
George Hillman ... Hoofer
Henry Phace Roberts ... Hoofer (as Henry 'Phace' Roberts)
Howard 'Sandman' Sims ... Hoofer
Jimmy Slyde ... Hoofer (as Jimmy Slide)
Henry LeTang ... Hoofer
Charles Young ... Hoofer
Skip Cunningham ... Tip, Tap & Toe
Luther Fontaine ... Tip, Tap & Toe
Jan Mickens ... Tip, Tap & Toe
Lydia Abarca ... Dancer
Sarita Allen ... Dancer
Tracey Bass ... Dancer
Jacquelyn Bird ... Dancer
Shirley Black-Brown ... Dancer
Jhoe Breedlove ... Dancer
Leslie Caldwell ... Dancer
Melanie Caldwell ... Dancer
Benny Clorey ... Dancer (as Benny Clory)
Sheri Cowart ... Dancer (as Sherri Cowart)
Karen DiBianco ... Dancer
Cisco Drayton ... Dancer
Ann Duquesnay ... Dancer
Carla Earle ... Dancer
Wendy Edmead ... Dancer
Debbie Fitts ... Dancer
Ruddy L. Garner ... Dancer (as Ruddy Garner)
Ruthanna Graves ... Dancer
Terri Griffin ... Dancer
Robin Harmon ... Dancer

Jackée Harry ... Dancer
Sonya Hensley ... Dancer
Dave Jackson ... Dancer
Gail Kendricks ... Dancer
Christina Kumi Kimball ... Dancer
Mary Beth Kurdock ... Dancer
Alde Lewis ... Dancer
Paula Lynn ... Dancer
Bernard Manners ... Dancer
Bernard Marsh ... Dancer
David McHarris ... Dancer
Delores McHarris ... Dancer
Vody Najac ... Dancer
Vya Negromonte ... Dancer (as Viewma Negromonte)
Alice Anne Oates ... Dancer (as Alice Anne Oakes)
Anne Palmer ... Dancer
Julie Pars ... Dancer
Antonia Pettiford ... Dancer

Valarie Pettiford ... Dancer
Janet Powell ... Dancer
Renee Rodriguez ... Dancer

Tracey Ross ... Dancer
Kiki Shepard ... Dancer
Gary Thomas ... Dancer

Mario Van Peebles ... Dancer
Rima Vetter ... Dancer
Karen Wadkins ... Dancer
Ivery Wheeler ... Dancer
Donald Williams ... Dancer
Alexis Wilson ... Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Gillen ... (voice)
Bella Jarrett

George Coutoupis ... Gangster (uncredited)
Scott Crawford ... Gangster (uncredited)

Kimberly Dorsey ... Joan Blondell (uncredited)

Nicholas J. Giangiulio ... Screen Test Thug (uncredited)
Suzanne Kaaren ... The Duchess of Park Avenue (uncredited)

Mark Margolis ... Charlie Workman (uncredited)

Naylon Mitchell ... Busboy (uncredited)

Kirk Taylor ... Cotton Club Waiter (uncredited)
Stan Tracy ... Legs Diamond's Bodyguard (uncredited)

Rick Washburn ... Hitman (uncredited)

Directed by
Francis Ford Coppola  (as Francis Coppola)
Writing credits
William Kennedy (screenplay) &
Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay) (as Francis Coppola)

William Kennedy (story) &
Francis Ford Coppola (story) (as Francis Coppola) and
Mario Puzo (story)

Jim Haskins (pictorial history "The Cotton Club") (suggestion) (as James Haskins)

Produced by
Joseph Cusumano .... line producer
Robert Evans .... producer
Dyson Lovell .... executive producer
Barrie M. Osborne .... line producer
Melissa Prophet .... associate producer
Fred Roos .... co-producer
Sylvio Tabet .... co-producer
Original Music by
John Barry 
Cinematography by
Stephen Goldblatt (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert Q. Lovett 
Barry Malkin 
Casting by
Lois Planco 
Gretchen Rennell 
Production Design by
Richard Sylbert 
Art Direction by
Gregory Bolton 
David Chapman 
Set Decoration by
Leslie Bloom  (as Les Bloom)
George Gaines 
Costume Design by
Milena Canonero 
Makeup Department
John Caglione Jr. .... key prosthetics makeup
Verne Caruso .... hair stylist
Alan D'Angerio .... hair department head
Richard Dean .... makeup artist
C. Romania Ford .... makeup artist (as Romania Ford)
Frances A. Kolar .... makeup artist (as Francis Kolar)
Craig Lyman .... key makeup artist
Tony Marrero .... hair stylist
Lyndell Quiyou .... key hair stylist
Bert Reo Anderson .... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
Jay Cannistraci .... additional makeup artist (uncredited)
Doug Drexler .... makeup lab (uncredited)
Production Management
Grace Blake .... executive production supervisor
Christopher Cronyn .... unit production manager
David Golden .... unit production manager
Margaret B. Hunnewell .... unit production manager (as Meg Hunnewell)
Kerry Orent .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paula Brody .... dga trainee
Henry Bronchtein .... second assistant director
Gian-Carlo Coppola .... second unit director
Louis D'Esposito .... second assistant director
Robert V. Girolami .... first assistant director
Joseph P. Reidy .... first assistant director: montage and second unit (as Joseph Reidy)
Amy Sayers .... additional second assistant director
Art Department
Billy Bishop .... assistant property master (as William Bishop)
James Halligan .... key construction grip
Beth Kuhn .... assistant art director
Sharmagne Leland-St. John .... assistant to production designer
Herbert F. Mulligan .... head set dresser (as Herbert Mulligan)
Jimmy Raitt .... property master
Bruno Robotti .... scenic supervisor
Edward Swanson .... key carpenter
Polly Wood-Holland .... scenic artist (as Polly Wood Holland)
Linda Conaway-Parsloe .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Carl Landi .... carpenter (uncredited)
John Peter Melendez .... set dresser (uncredited)
Harold Michelson .... illustrator (uncredited)
Sound Department
James Austin .... sound re-recording mixer (as Jim Austin)
Richard Beggs .... supervising re-recording mixer
Tom Bellfort .... adr editor
Louis Bertini .... assistant sound editor
Edward Beyer .... supervising sound editor
Nathan Boxer .... boom operator
David Carroll .... supervising mix engineer
Laura Civiello .... assistant sound editor
Lee Dichter .... sound re-recording mixer
Harriet Fidlow .... adr editor
Jack C. Jacobsen .... sound mixer (as Jack Jacobsen)
Michael Kirchberger .... sound editor
Kevin Lee .... sound editor
Michael Minkler .... sound re-recording mixer (as Mike Minkler)
Barbara Minor .... assistant sound editor
Laurie Mullen .... assistant sound editor
Mark Rathaus .... sound editor
Louise Rubacky .... assistant sound editor (as Mary-Louise Rubacky)
Maurice Schell .... sound editor
Paul Trejo .... sound editor
Steven Visscher .... assistant sound editor
John Clavin .... sound engineer (uncredited)
Richard Friedlander .... apprentice sound editor (uncredited)
James Perdue .... sound (uncredited)
Maurice Schell .... adr crowd (uncredited)
Maurice Schell .... foley artist (uncredited)
Mel Zelniker .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Connie Brink .... special effects (as Conrad Brink)
James 'Packy' Dolan .... gaffer: special effects unit
Lewis Gould .... special effects unit second assistant director
Michael Haley .... special effects unit first assistant director
William Kane .... special effects property master
Stan Parks .... special effects coordinator
Tony Parmelee .... special effects
Michael Rauch .... special effects unit production manager
William H. Burton Jr. .... stunt coordinator: special effects (as Bill Burton)
Victor Magnotta .... stunt coordinator (as Vic Magnotta)
Scott Leva .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph F. Coffey .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Joseph Coffey)
Adger W. Cowans .... still photographer (as Adger Cowans)
Angelo Di Giacomo .... second assistant camera (as Angelo DiGiacomo)
Peter Girolami .... electrician
Kenneth Goss .... key grip
Vincent Guarriello .... best boy (as Vince Guarriello)
Vincent Guarriello .... dolly grip (as Vince Guarriello)
Tim Guinness .... best boy
Charles K. Mattson .... best boy
George Patsos .... key grip: special effects unit
Steve Scanlon .... playback operator
Frank Schulz .... gaffer
Michael Stone .... camera operator
Donald Sweeney .... director of photography: second unit
David Wagreich .... first assistant camera
Andrew D. Schwartz .... still photographer: re-shoots (uncredited)
Casting Department
Aleta Chappelle .... extras casting assistant (as Aleta Wood-Chappelle)
Nina Fineman .... casting assistant
Janet Hirshenson .... casting: Los Angeles
Julie Hughes .... music & dance casting
Jane Jenkins .... casting: Los Angeles
Barry Moss .... music & dance casting
Pippo Pisciotto .... extras casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mark Burchard .... wardrobe
Al Craine .... key wardrobe (as Alfred Craine)
Beverly Cycon .... key wardrobe
Margarita Delgado .... assistant costume designer
Dougie Hawkes .... costumier
John Helgerson .... assistant costume designer
Maureen Hogan .... costume assistant
Judianna Makovsky .... assistant costume designer
Elizabeth Shelton .... assistant costume designer
Richard Shissler .... assistant costume designer
Rosamary Panzo .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Barnaby Smith .... set costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Debra Bard .... assistant film editor
John David Coles .... assistant film editor
Gian-Carlo Coppola .... montage
Dorian Harris .... assistant film editor
Donald Sweeney .... montage
Michael Berenbaum .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
Music Department
John Barry .... conductor
John Barry .... music supervisor
Emile Charlap .... musician contractor
Clarence Gaskill .... composer: song "Minnie the Moocher"
Richard Gere .... musician: cornet solos
Norman Hollyn .... music editor
Jack Jeffers .... sideline musician contractor
Sy Johnson .... associate music supervisor
Sy Johnson .... music arranger
Sy Johnson .... orchestrator
Tom Jung .... music recording engineer
Jeff Kliment .... music editor
Patrick Mullins .... assistant music editor
Zane Weiner .... musical production coordinator
Jerry Wexler .... music consultant
Bob Wilber .... music re-creation
Albert Woodbury .... additional orchestrator (as Al Woodbury)
Transportation Department
Patrick Hogan .... transportation captain: second unit
Other crew
Claudia Asbury .... choreographer
Jane Bartelme .... assistant to producer
B.J. Bjorkman .... additional script supervisor
Dominique Bruballa .... production accountant
Lisa Burnett .... assistant production coordinator
Nelson Cabrera .... production staff
Cathleen Clarke .... assistant: Robert Evans
Antony Clavet .... visual consultant
Ralph Cooper .... special consultant
Ralph Cooper .... associate consultant
Celia D. Costas .... location manager: special effects unit (as Celia Costas)
Norma Jean Darden .... research consultant
Loolee DeLeon .... office coordinator: San Francisco (as Loolee Deleon)
Ed Dessisso .... location manager
Michael Dick .... production assistant
Tony Dingman .... liaison: New York and San Francisco
George Faison .... choreographer
Patrick J. Feerick .... teamster (as P.J. Feerick)
Milton Forman .... producer consultant
Robert Gach .... assistant: Richard Gere
Maurice Hines Sr. .... research consultant
Gregory Hines .... tap improvography
Howard Johnson .... research consultant
Murdo Laird .... chief engineer: Electronic Cinema
Michael Lavin .... engineer: Electronic Cinema
Henry LeTang .... tap choreographer (as Henry Le Tang)
Gaetano Lisi .... location manager
Lynn Lewis Lovett .... continuity
Gine Lui .... production assistant
Michael Meacham .... choreographer
Tom Miller .... unit publicist
Arthur Mitchell .... choreographer
Anahid Nazarian .... systems librarian: Electronic Cinema
Edward V. Padula .... production consultant
Janet Pett Davies .... assistant: Robert Evans (as Janet Pett)
Lillian Pyles .... assistant production coordinator
Grant Harper Reid .... production assistant (as Grant Reid)
Thomas Reilly .... teamster captain (as Tommy Reilly)
James W. Skotchdopole .... production assistant
Michael Smuin .... principal choreographer
Sara Ström .... secretary: Francis Coppola
Daniel R. Suhart .... dialogue coach (as Dan Suhart)
Victoria Turnwell .... assistant: Robert Evans
Kurt Woolner .... film finances representative
Mitchell Amundsen .... production assistant (uncredited)
Tommy Burns .... production assistant (uncredited)
Justin Cooke .... production assistant (uncredited)
Ellie LeTang .... assistant choreographer (uncredited)
Charles Miller .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Jane Paul .... set production assistant (uncredited)
Maurice Schell .... adr loop group (uncredited)
Tony Trimarco .... assistant accountant (uncredited)
Rick Washburn .... weapons coordinator (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
127 min | Germany:123 min (video version)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby (35 mm prints)

Did You Know?

Robert Evans wanted to cast his friend Alain Delon in a two-scene role as Lucky Luciano but this did not eventuate.See more »
Continuity: When Dixie goes to ransom Frenchy there is a different amount of shaving cream on Mad Dog's face in every shot.See more »
Vera:You've got about as much style as a bowl of turnips.See more »
Truckin'See more »


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42 out of 60 people found the following review useful.
OK Movie with too much going on and too messy, 27 July 2005
Author: marbleann from Houston

I saw this movie when it first came out and I thought it was a mess. Now years later while I have the luxury of sitting in my house watching the various showings on cable, I like a better. Why because this movie is IMO 3 different movies going on at once. I Now I am able to concentrate on one aspect of the movie more then the whole.

I will start with movie #1... The Cotton club, the nightclub where everything converges and what is the common denominator that brings ALL of the characters together. It is almost set up like a Plantation in Mississippi. The white gangster own the place and the black people work there and have no say about anything that goes on. Black people were not even able to go to the club as a customer. All of the women who worked there were light skin almost passing for white. In the movie they do show how the set up was but the place was no as large as it was in the movie and on a side bar. Larry Fishburn who plays a numbers runner (the same role he played in a later movie, Hoodlum) shows interest in a brown skin singer performer in the club and her mother is very upset because she is the first "dark skin" woman working at the club. I liked that they added that in. I know this because my neighbor use to play with Louis Armstrong that the women in question is in fact Louis Amstrongs future wife. A little tidbit. I like the music and the performances which took place in the club. To me this was the most enjoying part of the movie. I feel a movie just about the Club without all the other foolishness it would be very interesting in the right hands. Which brings me to movie 2

THe gangsters or the white people. Owey Madden was a thug and a very nasty man. In this movie Bob Hoskin (who was very good) and Fred Gwynn who I loved played like they were Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. In the right hands we would of seen the real Madden. Remember this is the man who kept black people out of his club. And did battle with other NY gangsters. Then we have Dutch Schultz. I wonder why we did not see more of Lucky Luciano because it was those 2 who were causing havoc in NYC during the 20's with Luciano winning. I think James Remer did the best portrayal of Schulz. Years later Tim Roth played him in the movie Hoodlum and he was good, but Remer was scarier. And according to all reports he was a psychopath. Then we have the George Raft(Dixie Dwyer) character played by Richard Gere If people are not familiar with the actor George Raft it was known he hung around the mob and had big time mob connections..who actually got him a job in movies. Richard Gere even mentions at one time that he use to be a dancer. I am sure that is reference and acknowledgment of George Raft, who was a dancer before he went to Hollywood. George Raft was actually a pretty good actor. Gere even looks like him. I feel that is the real reason they cast him in this movie. Look at this movie as Gere playing Raft and not playing Dixie Dwyer and the part works.

The last movie is the Harlem story. The Larry Fishburne character was a real person. He was lifetime criminal who spent most of his life in jail. He was not the voice of righteousness we see in the movie or the movie Hoodlum. What was interesting was the scene when he and the woman who was running the numbers racket in Harlem were offered a deal. I like they put that in the movie, that was true. The woman who was the real boss of the numbers racket came from the West Indies and started the whole thing on her own. A very tough cookie who went to jail because she would not give in to the mob. The mob was politically connected and they put her in jail for a long time. I like the the Hines bothers in the movie. They were feuding in real life and this movie was a way they starting talking again. They actually showed that in the movie. ALso the Vonnetta McGee character was interesting. I am a very light skin black women who could pas for white. WhICH I WOULD NEVER DO. But I don't know about living back in the early part of the century. The scene when she and Sandman goes to the hotel and the clerk tries to deny them a room actually happened to me and a boyfriend of mine years ago. So that scene really hit me. I would of liked if they explored Harlem life more, but the movie had too much going on already.

Nicholas Cage...nephew of Cappolla was good playing the violent brother of the Richard Gere character. I would like to have seen him in more parts like that instead of the garbage he has been wasting himself in the last few years. Diane Lane was the miscast. She was playing a real character too, but she came nowhere near the woman she was playing, Texas Guinon(I think that was her last name) A big boozy tough blonde. To me that is the major miscast of the movie. I like her though, but not in this movie. This is a movie I feel has to be seen around 5 times to get the whole feeling of it. A good movie but just too messy and too much.

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Had potential... shaolinsoldier99
Help with a song? vinland6
Meant to be so over the top? Treeman222
Richard Gere on Cornet bnbailey-2
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Greatest scene I've seen in a long time. bsbdzu902
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