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Promised Land (1987)

R | | Drama | 22 January 1988 (USA)
This gritty drama follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film ... See full summary »




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3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Rivers
Circle K Clerk
Herta Ware ...
Mrs. Higgins
Logan Field ...
High School Coach (as Walt Logan Field)
Kelly Ausland ...
Schroeder / Ashville Basketball Player #1
Todd Anderson ...
Pat Rivers
Dave Valenza ...
Theron Read ...


This gritty drama follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film Festival, it portrays the other half of the American dream, as Hancock and his cheerleader girlfriend Mary wander to a middle-class mediocrity out itself out of reach for Danny and his psychotic wife Bev. Written by Owen F. Lipsett <lipsetto@tcd.ie>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

22 January 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Hearts  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Referenced in Lawernce Kasdan's "Dream Catcher." See more »


[waking up the "morning after"]
Bev: Where's the cat?
Danny: What cat?
Bev: The cat that shit in my mouth.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Best Dog ... Cheetah See more »


Referenced in Dreamcatcher (2003) See more »


O Magnum Mysterium
Written by Giovanni Palestrina
Performed by Choir of Kings College Cambridge (as King's College Choir, Cambridge)
Conducted by Philip Ledger
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited, 30 Gloucester Place, London W1A IES
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User Reviews

Tragedy is often not well received
8 September 2000 | by See all my reviews

I can't believe anyone referred to this as fluff;hate it, but no way is this fluff. It was almost creepy to me how this non-didactic near masterpiece captured a lot of what the 80's were about for most Americans by telling this seemingly simple tale of disaffected young people in some small burg in the Midwest. Of the four principles, two want to get out (only one can articulate to what, and she's hasn't convinced herself), one needs to stay because his only real defining moments were there, and the fourth is a near sociopathic drifter, who meets up with the clueless one who leave smallburg because he doesn't know what else to do. Even this character, Bev (Meg Ryan actually showing range instead of getting rich off Nora Ephron fluff she can walk thru), needs "home" in some way, and convinces clueless Danny to marry her (a great wedding scene; gives new meaning to the word "downscale") and take her to meet his folks. Former star HS athlete Hancock (Jason Gedrick), the one who couldn't leave, has become a cop and is trying to convince ex HS sweetheart Mary (Tracy Pollan) to come back and stay, and she IS conflicted, but ultimately knows she has to get away. It sounds somewhat pedestrian, but it's played to expose more than human frailty, but how we can destroy ourselves and others without ill will. It also, probably unconsciously, shows us a piece of the majority of USA that wasn't getting rich in the 80's, and in fact was struggling with diminished expectations and an increasing gap between the haves and have nots. Tom Wolfe gave us the smarmy pseudo-satire "Bonfires of the Vanities", Michael Hoffman got us a peek at what was and, to some extent, what was to be. The slowly spiralling paths of the characters in Promised Land eventually collide with tragic results. There is no salvation or redemption.-- The End Oh, you want to see Meg Ryan take another chance and come up winners, check out "Hurlyburly" and her small but memorable role in this actors' movie adapted from David Rabe's play.

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