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Insignificance (1985)

R  |   |  Drama, Comedy  |  2 August 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,256 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 22 critic

Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Emil ...
The Ballplayer
Elevator Attendant
Ian O'Connell ...
Assistant Director
George Holmes ...
Richard M. Davidson ...
Director of Photography (as Richard Davidson)
Mitchell Greenberg ...
Autograph Hunter
Lou Hirsch ...
Ray Charleson ...
Joel Cutrara ...
Bar Drunk


Four 1950's cultural icons (Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy) who conceivably could have met and probably didn't, fictionally do in this modern fable of post-WWII America. Visually intriguing, the film has a fluid progression of flash-backs and flash-forwards centering on the fictional Einstein's current observations, childhood memories and apprehensions for the future. Written by Jeanne Baker <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She had the one figure he needed to complete the equation. See more »


Drama | Comedy


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Insignificancia  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Professor's pocket watch always shows the time at being 8:15 which was the time of the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. See more »


The movie takes place in 1954. In one scene, a man is in a bar watching the World Series. The TV announcer for the game starts talking about "Campanella, Hodges, and Berra" being involved in a play. In 1954 those 3 players played for Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Yankees, however the 1954 World Series was between the Cleveland Indians and NY Giants, therefore none of those 3 even played. See more »


[last lines]
The Actress: [smiling and waving to the Professor] Bye!
See more »


References The Seven Year Itch (1955) See more »


Wild Hearts
Words & Music by Will Jennings, Roy Orbison
Sung by Roy Orbison
Produced by David Briggs, Roy Orbison
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyment, like space-time, is relative
24 May 2004 | by (Adelaide, South Australia) – See all my reviews

Nicolas Roeg's projects are variable to say the least, but are never less than interesting. "Insignificance" is obviously, first and foremost, an adapted stageplay: it's wordy and pretty-much 'room-bound'. BUT, it pays to view this film more than once: the underlying themes are not overtly presented and, what's more, it takes a while to adjust to the juxtaposition and role-reversals of the four protagonists: Einstein, McCarthy, Munroe, and DiMaggio.

Einstein is wracked by guilt over Hiroshima yet fancies the simplicity of a sexual liaison with Munro; Munro is sick of being seen as a bimbo and craves intellectual credence; Senator McCarthy is at the height of his witch-hunting powers but is an impotent sleazebag; DiMaggio is insecure about his celebrity, self-obsessed, and prone to violence. Each of them contains the seeds of their own destruction. Each character has a troubled, abused/abusive past and a questionable future. Gradually, we see that obsession itself is the central theme. America's obsession with its postwar cultural icons and mores; the obsessions of the protagonists for something none can have: peace-of-mind and/or happiness.

Compared with the theory of relativity, a proposed unified-field theory and, indeed, the cosmos itself, all the aspirations and interactions of Roeg's protagonists seem insignificant. Yet these aspects of the physical universe (it's all quantum, trust me!) affect us when they are applied to the development of the means to destroy us. Monroe's mention of the principle behind the neutron-bomb (without naming it as such) is not an anachronism per se, but can only be understood by a contemporary audience. Indeed, ALL the references within the script are only accessible to a knowledgeable viewer: one au fait with '50s occurrences/personality cults and how they affect us in the 21st century.

This film and its screenplay are either very, very clever, or extremely opaque and pretentious. Ultimately, however, probably insignificant.

live long and prosper :)

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