MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 970 this week

Ironweed (1987)

 -  Drama  -  February 1988 (USA)
6.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,258 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 24 critic

A schizophrenic drifter spends Halloween in his home town after returning there for the first time in decades.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Exclusive Trailer

View the Foxcatcher Exclusive trailer with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 03 Oct 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 30 Dec 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 29 Mar 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 27 May 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 17 Jun 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Ironweed" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Ironweed (1987)

Ironweed (1987) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ironweed.

User Polls

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

People who liked this also liked... 

Heartburn (1986)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An autobiographical look at the breakup of Ephron's marriage to Carl "All the President's Men" Bernstein that was also a best-selling novel. The Ephron character, Rachel is a food writer at... See full summary »

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A professional hit man and hit woman fall in love.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mother, whose child was killed in a Dingo attack in outback Northern Territory, Australia, fights to prove her innocence.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Dale Reeves
The Border (1982)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A corrupted border agent decides to clean up his act when an impoverished woman's baby is put up for sale on the black market.

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Valerie Perrine
Reds (1981)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

Director: Warren Beatty
Stars: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann
Man Trouble (1992)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A sleazy but affable guard dog trainer is blackmailed to steal a manuscript for a tell-all book from one of his clients.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, Harry Dean Stanton
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Continuing the story of Aurora Greenway in her latter years. After the death of her daughter, Aurora struggled to keep her family together, but has one grandson in jail, a rebellious ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Harling
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Bill Paxton, Juliette Lewis
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man who has failed as a father and husband commits a heist to make money for his fledging business, but things become complicated when his wife interferes.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Stephen Dorff
Plenty (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young Englishwoman spends 20 years to make whatever kind of life for herself at the expense of others around her in post-World War 2 England.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Charles Dance
The Two Jakes (1990)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The sequel to Chinatown (1974) finds Jake Gittes investigating adultery and murder... and the money that comes from oil.

Director: Jack Nicholson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A career woman reassesses her parents' lives after she is forced to care for her cancer-stricken mother.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt
Silkwood (1983)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Jake Dengel ...
...
...
...
Laura Esterman ...
...
Hy Anzell ...
Edit

Storyline

Albany, New York, Halloween, 1938. Francis Phelan and Helen Archer are bums, back in their birth city. She was a singer on the radio, he a major league pitcher. Death surrounds them: she's sick, a pal has cancer, he digs graves at the cemetery and visits the grave of his infant son whom he dropped; visions of his past haunt him, including ghosts of two men he killed. That night, out drinking, Helen tries to sing at a bar. Next day, Fran visits his wife and children and meets a grandson. He could stay, but decides it's not for him. Helen gets their things out of storage and finds a hotel. Amidst their mistakes and dereliction, the film explores their code of fairness and loyalty. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tallo de hierro  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,393,346 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Nicholson's contract included a clause which allowed him to leave the shooting location to attend all Los Angeles Lakers basketball games. See more »

Goofs

When Francis returns to his wife's house, the kitchen floor has 12-inch vinyl composite tiles (VCT tiles). While VCT did exist in the 1930s, they were only in the 9 inch size. 12 inch VCTs were not made until the 1970s. See more »

Quotes

Francis Phelan: Goddamn dead men, traveling around together.
See more »


Soundtracks

He's Me Pal
Performed by Meryl Streep
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Being Down and Out in America Illustrates What America is Really All About
8 October 2006 | by (western US) – See all my reviews

"Ironweed" is a good movie and a scathing indictment of life in modern America. Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep effectively portray a pair of homeless bums on the cold late October streets of Albany, New York during the Great Depression. Their day to day existence revolves around simple survival in the most difficult of circumstances -- how to keep from going hungry, where to score a few hours work or a few drinks, and where to "flop" come nightfall in order to avoid being beaten and robbed or freezing to death. You don't have to be a bum to understand this list of priorities, although certainly, spending any time without a conventional home will clue you in like nothing else can. There are, you see, several levels of homelessness, street people of various kinds occupying the lowest tier. A level above that are the people who live in their cars, camping at the curb or crashing with friends, some of them duly employed while others are "between jobs." Then there are those who spend months or even years living in recreational vehicles of one sort or another and migrating with the seasons. These are the elite of the homeless crowd, ranging from truly adventurous souls who occasionally go without enough food to those with substantial bank accounts and second homes. Nonetheless, most if not all of them understand something about being kicked around and shown the door, just like the bums in this flick. Certainly, they all understand what its like on occasion not to know where you will end up spending the night, why authority figures are to be avoided, and why conventional people are nearly always the enemy, whether they know it or not.

"Ironweed" puts a human face on the kinds of people society scorns the most -- street people, who live in filth and seldom wash, who often abuse alcohol or drugs yet haven't enough to eat and may dig through garbage searching for an abandoned morsel. They often live this way for a reason and not only because they have no choice. Frank has a choice but he is convinced that to go home "won't work out." He's a luckier bum than his fellows, who seem to have no choice at all. Oddly, it's pride just as much as eccentricity, incipient insanity, or alcoholism that keeps them where they are. Helen was a successful singer before her life went on the skids. Too much wine, a slump in her career, and being robbed of her inheritance seemed to signal her inevitable slide into oblivion. Now she barks at passersby and sleeps with whomever will tolerate her presence -- at a price, of course. Sandra is a drunk, an ex-whore, and in terrible shape when the others discover her passed out against a lamppost in freezing weather. They get her a blanket and some hot soup and prop her against a wall, but obviously, she is not long for this world. Rudy's a good sport, a bum's true friend, and he just scored a new gray suit, but he's been given six months to live and soon enough his new threads are grimy and tattered, just like the old ones. And so goes it. Only the strongest survive. All the while the comfortable bourgeoisie look upon the suffering of these brave souls with contempt, disgust, and often, unbridled hostility, hoping to avoid them and occasionally making them pay dearly for the inconvenience. Although the bums seem to scurry at the margins of society like rats on the prowl for scraps, they are, in a way, truly living. For however unenviable their precarious lot may be, they are on the edge, so unlike the predictable, dull, and hypocritical existence of the conventional folk around them. At times, one either knows or suspects that the bums are being romanticized or their foibles somewhat exaggerated, but nonetheless, the story comes off as reasonably authentic. And the acting in it is superb. One criticism, however -- the soft focus effect throughout. I take it the director was attempting to blur further the distinction between fantasy and reality, posing as it did a continuing problem for the main characters, who often dreamed of some simple connection to dignity, comfort, and security while in the throes of their unrelenting misery. Nonetheless, I would have preferred a sharp focus. Otherwise, I found this flick to be very inspired.


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
After Meryl Sings 'He's Me Pal' cwa2011
Filming In Albany chickyfornia
The new Region 1 DVD from Lions Gate is not Wide Screen!!! neil57
copy djoepro
piano piece deltoscano
Coming out on DVD! molly-tobin
Discuss Ironweed (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page