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The Prince of Pennsylvania
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Prince of Pennsylvania More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Clasic rebellious youth comedy

10/10
Author: anonymous from California
8 March 1999

This movie has to be the best movie that no one has ever heard of. It has an all-star cast, great acting, and an entertaining story line. For anyone whose parents didn't understand why you didn't "fit in"... This movie is for you.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Where has this movie been hiding?

10/10
Author: anonymous
2 May 1999

What a great movie. Great find at the video store. Keanu Reeves is tremendous and so is Fred Ward. Why do kids rebel. See this and you'll laugh about it. Though 10years old it feels current. Where has this movie been hiding.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Probably one of the best of Keanu Reeves' unknown movies..

8/10
Author: KnatLouie from Copenhagen, Denmark
20 December 2008

Back in 1988, before anybody had even *thought* of "The Matrix", "Speed", or even "Bill & Ted", a 23-year old Keanu Reeves got one of his first major parts in a studio movie, and in this Pittsburgh-shot production, he gives what could be one of his best performances ever (certainly better than a lot of the stuff he's been doing lately).

The troubled teen (or "post-teen") Rupert is having problems at home, where his controlling father Gary (Fred Ward, "Tremors") is ruining the family-life with his narrow minded approach to everything has already destroyed his own marriage, leading his wife Pam (Bonnie Bedelia, "Die Hard") to have an affair with Gary's best friend Jack (Jeff Hayenga).

Rupert wants his mother to have a happy life, and therefore decides to kidnap his father, in order to get him to sell some land he had inherited, and thus get enough money to provide for both himself and his mother (and his younger brother Roger), when they escape the dead-end that is their current home (in Pennsylvania).

Rupert has an affair with an older woman (Amy Madigan, "Streets of Fire"), much to the annoyance of her ex-husband Joe (Jay O. Sanders, "The Day After Tomorrow"), who wants Rupert to shape up and clean his act. But Rupert doesn't want to grow up and become a miner like his dad, and tries everything he can to escape being stuck in nowhere.. one of these things being kidnapping his dad.. but who can/will pay the ransom? You'll have to see it to find out..

This is a very touching movie, kinda like "Feeling Minnesota"/"My Own Private Idaho", but different.. at least Reeves has a weird haircut in this one, which looks pretty funny.. I give it 8/10, because it's an underrated gem, which really deserves to be seen before it fades into oblivion.

P.S: I found my copy on an old used VHS-cassette, but I'm sure there's a decent DVD-release somewhere in the world..

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Sweet and funny

8/10
Author: Luxn
4 January 2007

Watched this for the first time today. Not sure how I managed to miss it all this time.

The film doesn't suffer from the passage of time. Rupert's dress sense is so way out that it doesn't date it. The others in the film dress pretty conservatively (befitting their lifestyles) so you really cant tell by looking that this is a mid-80's movie.

I found this film to be thoroughly enjoyable. VERY funny in some parts and poignant in others. Keanu is absolutely adorable (and gorgeous) and very convincing as the weird but charmingly brilliant misfit.

Fred Ward's performance also stands out.

This film will make you laugh out loud. The story is not too deep and I do worry it will make Keanu bashers think this is the only type of role he can play (as he does it so well). He has every right to be proud of this movie.

Great cast, great fun.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

family ties

7/10
Author: Michael Neumann from United States
27 December 2010

This unlikely sleeper poses an essential question for disenchanted teenagers: is quality time with your family better than being chained to the door of a refrigerator? For coal-miner's son Keanu Reeves the answer is a no-brainer: his father is a Vietnam War veteran turned ultra-conservative; his feisty mother is having an affair with dad's best buddy; and his only friend is a socially marginalized, die-hard hippie. Meanwhile everyone thinks Reeves has problems, but he's only trying to avoid conforming to Middle America's messy ideas about normality. And since a rebel in the 1980s needs some sort of cause, he invents one: kidnapping his own father and holding him hostage. There's more than one contrivance in the otherwise original and unpredictable screenplay: the young protagonist's mechanical aptitude and closet intellect (he likens himself to Socrates, who was killed for daring to tell the truth) don't fit his delinquent image, and the kidnapping scheme carries the plot too far into fantasy. But if nothing else the film is an offbeat satire of modern domestic friction, and a refreshing change of pace from the usual condescending screen treatments of adolescent angst.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Kidnapping in the Coal Mine

5/10
Author: wes-connors from Earth
16 August 2009

High school drop-out Keanu Reeves (as Rupert) gets a weird haircut (long on the left side, short on the right). A biker dude, slash aspiring poet, Mr. Reeves works with conservative father Fred Ward for a coal-mining company. But, Reeves does not want to follow in his father's sooty footsteps. After tailing busty mother Bonnie Bedelia, Reeves confirms she has a sex buddy. Soon, Reeves has one too; it's ex-hippie ice-cream trailer owner Amy Madigan (as Carla). The couple decide to kidnap Mr. Ward, for money…

The potentially interesting father/son dynamic never really amounts to much. Instead of working on its own, you're liable to flesh it out by thinking of how well the theme worked in other films. Writer/director Ron Nyswaner includes the intriguing potential for a one woman/two man familial relationship; not with Reeves' parents, of course, but in the proposition he receives near the film's end. The Pennsylvania locations are refreshing (check out the IGA), and Mr. Nyswaner gets good performances from his cast.

***** The Prince of Pennsylvania (5/15/88) Ron Nyswaner ~ Keanu Reeves, Fred Ward, Amy Madigan, Bonnie Bedelia

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A seriously funny movie

8/10
Author: star-womack from United States
17 May 2009

I have never been a fan of Keanu Reeves. I decided to watch this movie because of the rest of the cast. Fred Ward, Bonnie Bedelia, Amy Madigan & J.O. Sanders are some of my favorite actor). So I figured I couldn't go wrong. I spent my time laughing out-loud for the better part of the show. I had never seen Fred Ward in a farcical comedy before but he was really good. Amy Madigan drew quite a few laughs, too. Even J.O. Sanders, who usually plays heavy parts came in for some chuckles. Bonnie Bedelia is always a joy to see. Keanu really surprised me. He was truly good in the part. There are quite a few tender moments but for the most part this is a seriously funny movie. 8 out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

25 years ago now.

10/10
Author: JuiceZee from United States
30 December 2012

It is fun from first moment til last. Reeves is in nearly every scene in all his pre belly scar youthfulness. The story is preposterous but we have seen how he is on board for that over the years. It's LOL funny in some scenes. Well cast. Filmed in the writer/directors hometown in, get this...Pennsylvania. Rupert is smart and adorable and the cinematographers were savvy enough to get plenty of closeups. The love story is what dreams are made of as well as the intimate moments, one in particular that involves an erotic, in the moment, and sensually sloppy kiss. Over all it was a wonderful way to tell a story about small town issues, the 80's, teenaged angst, and intimacy problems. Of course, and it is right and good, that Rupert/Keanu solves all the personal problems in the end. I am seeing a lot of Henry's Crime here but that's just me. It made no sense that Bonnie Bedelia & Amy Madigan were nominated for Indie Spirit awards and Keanu was not, as it was clearly his movie. I will say no more. Make every effort to see it. Enjoy the wayback machine for 87 minutes.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

film flew so low under radar that landing gear left a wake in water!!

8/10
Author: lincoln302-1 from United States s.Philly, PA
30 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i was 21 yrs old when this film released.never heard of it....on TV,commercial,trailer,TV guide,magazine,editorial,grapevine.whoever was the p.r. firm for this picture should be incarcerated.to this day,(20 years later)i still cant find anyone who has heard of or seen this flick. it's almost as if someone sabotaged its release!!!!!on a snowy Sunday,i flicked on an encore channel(avail thru direct TV sat.)and got lucky.i am male and not a fan of reeves or anyone in film.i love real filming locations, and especially ones in penn.we have the most diverse and beautiful state in the country.from huge cities(pitts&philly)to flat farm land, to mountains(Appalachian,Poconos,blue,Allegheny).my maternal side is from Pitts and I've driven right by that high school on I-79.the plot was comical and the movie was well acted and directed.it held my attn. for entire flick.mining was a big part of my life as a child(my g-pop,uncle m.,uncle Mitch.,all coal miners) i need to buy a copy of this movie for my mom.she was born and raised in pitts.well worth seeing,even if you have to buy it.coal and steel still rule!!!in my mind,at least.i am a little angry that i almost might have died w/out seeing this movie.?????why the 007 on advertising it?mmmmmm.......

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"I used to be a prince"

9/10
Author: taifunu from the Earth
1 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I looked for this movie for a long time. Took me two years to finally get my own copy and see it for the first time. And all my searching was rewarded. A beautiful bitter-sweet comedy. as another poster put it, it might be one of the best movies that no one has ever heard of. A story about rebel and misfit teenagers , messed-up adults, radical solutions , and finding out one's way in life..sort of.. the "prince" that becomes a "free man" ...An eighties' movie about teenagers, but witty, sarcastic and real, and in the same time funny and entertaining... Great acting, by all the actors involved.

Too bad this movie isn't more known to the public.

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