An alcoholic drifter spends Halloween in his home town of Albany, NY after returning there for the first time in decades.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Jake Dengel ...
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Laura Esterman ...
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Hy Anzell ...
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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 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

12 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tallo de hierro  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,393,346 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source "Ironweed" (1983) novel by author William Kennedy is included in the "Western Canon of Harold Bloom". Bloom is an American critic, teacher and literary scholar who is well known for his studies on William Shakespeare and the 19th Century Romantic Poets. See more »

Goofs

When Francis rides with the rag man, one of the telephone poles has a 1970s era transformer. See more »

Quotes

Francis Phelan: Goddamn dead men, traveling around together.
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Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Homer the Moe (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

He's Me Pal
Performed by Meryl Streep
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User Reviews

 
They're my pals.
21 June 2002 | by See all my reviews

Never the timing for a movie had been so disastrous.Released in those "glorious " eighties when the success stories and the triumphalist heroes were the golden rule,"Ironweed" stood no chance at all.Two tramps did not fit well in the movie landscape of those "feel good" times.And two tramps played by two megastars ,it was unforgivable!

The cast is stellar,but it's Meryl Streep whom I will remember FOREVER.When she sings her little tune "he's me pal" she's so heart-wrenching that she will move you to tears."At least ,I didn't betray anybody" she said.Although it was a colossal flop,Streep would only approach such an emotion afterwards.(notably in "the bridges of Madison County")Nicholson was equally courageous to play such a demeaning part,and he gets strong support from Carroll Baker who proves here she can age gracefully and from Tom Waits ,ideally cast as a barfly.

"Ironweed" is very hard to see nowadays.One of these days ,it will be given the place it deserves.


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