Michael has written a schollarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the film rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An undercover FBI agent falls in love with a recently widowed mafia wife seeking to start her life over after her husband's murder and who is also pursued by a libidinous mafia kingpin seeking to claim her for himself.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Alec Baldwin, Paul Lazar
Love Field (1992)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Dallas housewife Lurene Hallett's life revolves around the doings of Jacqueline Kennedy. She is devastated when President Kennedy is shot a few hours after she sees him arrive at Love Field... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Haysbert, Stephanie McFadden
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three middle-aged wealthy couples take vacations together in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Along the way we are treated to mid-life, marital, parental and other crises.

Director: Alan Alda
Stars: Alan Alda, Carol Burnett, Len Cariou
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ed Okin's life is somewhat out of control. He can't sleep, his wife betrays him and his job is dull. One night he starts to drive through Los Angeles and he finally ends in the parking ... See full summary »

Director: John Landis
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stacey Pickren
A New Life (1988)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After a middle-aged couple divorces, they must each enter the frightening but funny world of blind dates and new relationships.

Director: Alan Alda
Stars: Alan Alda, Ann-Margret, Hal Linden
Plaza Suite (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Three separate stories concerning relationship issues are presented, each largely taking place in suite 719 of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. In story one, suburban New Yorkers Sam and ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Walter Matthau, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Harry and Sue Lewis met in the 40es as teenagers living in the Bronx. He was an aspiring architect, she was the most beautiful girl in school, and both had a fondness for bran muffins. They... See full summary »

Director: Steven Paul
Stars: Elliott Gould, Susannah York, Michelle Pfeiffer
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play small clubs. They play schmaltzy music and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are becoming more difficult to ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Kloves
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges
Henry & June (1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1931 Paris, Anais Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Intrigued by them both, she begins expanding her sexual horizons with her husband Hugo as well as with Henry and others. June ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros
Castle Keep (1969)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Patrick O'Neal, Jean-Pierre Aumont
The Trench (1999)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A story about a group of soldiers' last days before the battle of the Somme in 1916, showing the conditions in the trenches during World War 1 and taking you into the minds of the soldiers.

Director: William Boyd
Stars: Paul Nicholls, Daniel Craig, Julian Rhind-Tutt
Rambling Rose (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Rose, is taken in by the Hillyer family to serve as a 1930s housemaid so that she can avoid falling into a life of prostitution. Rose's appearence and personality is such that all men fall ... See full summary »

Director: Martha Coolidge
Stars: Laura Dern, Robert Duvall, Diane Ladd
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Lise Hilboldt ...
...
...
...
...
...
Nurse (as Diane Agostini)
Antony Alda ...
Alvin Alexis ...
Christopher Bregman ...
...
Cynthia Burr ...
Edit

Storyline

Michael has written a schollarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the film rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, directors want to re-stage battles, and he becomes very infatuated with Faith who will play the female lead in the movie. At the same time, he is fighting with his crazy mother who thinks the Devil lives in her kitchen, and his girlfriend who is talking about commitment. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Michael Burgess wrote a book about the American Revolution. Now, Hollywood's come to his town to make a movie of it -- Plunging him into a summer of madness.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sweet Liberty - What a Liberty  »

Box Office

Gross:

$14,205,021 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of six feature films that have starred both Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine. The films include Blue Ice (1992), Last Orders (2001), Mona Lisa (1986), Sweet Liberty (1986), Beyond the Limit (1983) and for television, World War II: When Lions Roared (1994). See more »

Quotes

Michael Burgess: Hi Mom. I brought you your groceries
Cecelia Burgess: Put them on the TV.
Michael Burgess: Mom, why do you always put your groceries on the TV?
Cecelia Burgess: I always put them there and keep them there for a week. The radiation kills the poison that they put in them.
Michael Burgess: Mom, there's no poison in your groceries. Why don't you put them in the kitchen?
Cecelia Burgess: You know why.
[whispers]
Cecelia Burgess: Because "he's" in there.
Michael Burgess: Who, Mom? The Devil?
[Cecelia nods]
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

SOMETHING SPECIAL (IS GONNA HAPPEN TONIGHT)
Written by Howie Rice and Allan Rich
Performed by Patti La Belle
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Screw Historical Accuracy!"
26 December 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Michael, a history teacher in a small East Coast town, has written a scholarly book about the American Revolution. Hollywood has decided to turn it into a movie, and cast and crew are descending on Michael's hometown to shoot the location scenes. The author gets a shock when he sees how is work is being revamped for the big screen.

Alan Alda wrote, directed and stars in this good-natured romantic comedy. We are in classic Alda terrain here, the unspectacular small-detail world of domestic discord and couples who feel compelled to analyse their love lives. "You buy dishes together," ventures Michael, "and you invite people over. Then you talk about them in the bathroom while you're brushing your teeth." This is the microsmic universe that Alda loves to explore.

Michael has three problems, all linked, which are currently exasperating him. Firstly, his aged mother (Lillian Gish) is very dotty and in need of care, something she steadfastly refuses to accept. Secondly, his lover Gretchen (Lise Hilboldt) won't cohabit unless he marries her. Thirdly, the Hollywood company which has come out east to make the film has desecrated his work by turning it into a lightweight (and historically worthless) love story. "I just wrote the book from which the movie has NOT been taken," fumes Michael.

Faith Healey (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a method actress and a very big star. When in costume she is in character, even to the point of talking in 'colonial' English offscreen. Michael and Faith become romantically entangled, until Michael realises his mistake. There is no person at the core of the actress - just a creature voracious for the period detail that only Michael can supply. She was playing the part of a lover in order to draw from him what she needed.

Elliott James is selfish and shallow, but incredibly charming and enormous fun to be around. A leading man who cares nothing for films, or even other people, he lives his life as one long party. Michael Caine parodies himself, and in the process turns in a commendable performance as the eternal matinee idol.

Alda can certainly write. His dialogue always flows beautifully, and his understated characters are utterly believable. When Michael's 'authentic' 18th-century dialogue is spoken, the venerable cadences are gorgeous.

Essentially, the film is about the artifice of movie-making. "Who really knows what happened a coupla hundred years ago?" asks the director (Saul Rubinek). The issue is, how far should film-makers go in disregarding historical truth in order to obtain audience approval? Films are, of necessity, separate and distinct from their source material - but in the trade-off between authenticity and popularity, where is the balance to be struck?

A New England community such as this one is fiercely proud of its heritage, and indeed very knowledgeable about it. The guys who stage War of Independence re-enactments know in minute detail about the manoeuvres, skirmishes, equipment and ammunition which constituted real events and which form their living culture. It is an affront to these people for ignorant West Coasters to play fast and loose with their sacred lore.

In a film about the artifice of film, Alda makes intelligent use of cinema tricks and conventions. Elliott insists on doing his own stunt work

  • and yet for his triumphant fall into the pond, Michael Caine is doubled by


a stunt man. The blizzard scene is shot in glorious New England sunshine. The steadycam revolve shot which marks the romantic climax of the 'film' film is repeated at the romantic climax of 'our' film.

With delicious malice, Alda satirises the internal dynamics of cast and crew. Bob Hoskins is the writer with no brains and no class who helps Michael understand the power struggles within the movie's little community, and how best to exploit these envies and vanities in order to get what he wants.

Sword fencing is a subtle metaphorical strain running through the film. When we see Michael and Gretchen fencing in the opening scene, the play-fight represents the involvement and the conflict inherent in their relationship. The 'audience' of fencing masks on the wall stands for the public attention to which they will shortly be exposed. Newly-arrived film crew members unload Scottish broadswords, showing from the outset that there will be brash disregard for authenticity. Elliott and Michael sublimate their clash of wills in a protracted sword duel.

We are told (and shown) that teenage cinema audiences expect three things in a movie: defiance of authority, destruction of property, and nudity. Alda's film complies with the formula, but also intelligently undermines it. Gretchen's quiet jealousy is excellent, as is Michael's stiff back, expressing vehement disapproval without moving a muscle. A film can stimulate eye, ear and intellect: it doesn't have to follow shallow formulae.

If the action climax is a little too smug and convenient, Alda can be forgiven. He is making smart, literate films for grown-ups. Long may he continue.


23 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
very reminiscent of State & Main Rheli
Discuss Sweet Liberty (1986) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page