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Punchline (1988)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  7 October 1988 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 5,611 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 15 critic

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The ... See full summary »

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Title: Punchline (1988)

Punchline (1988) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Romeo
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Madeline Urie
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Arnold
Pam Matteson ...
Utica Blake
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Singing Nun (as George Michael McGrath)
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Albert Emperato
Barry Neikrug ...
Krug
Ángel Salazar ...
Rico (as Angel Salazar)
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Percy
Joycee Katz ...
Joycee
Mac Robbins ...
Billy Lane
Max Alexander ...
Mister Ball
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Storyline

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The wages are lousy and everybody hopes for the big break. Lilah Krytsick is housewife with an ambition to be a stand-up comedian, however she doesnt seem to have the talent. Steven takes her under his wings and teaches her the art of comedy and humour. But when a TV station arranges a comedy evening at the club, Steve sees his opportunity for fame and stardom. Their friendship seems quickly forgotten and now it's every man and woman for him- or herself! Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It only hurts when you LAUGH! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Punchline  »

Box Office

Gross:

$21,032,267 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Seltzer first wrote the script in 1979 based on his experiences frequenting comedy clubs. Howard Zieff was attached to direct. When Zieff dropped out, the project was forgotten. In 1986, Daniel Melnick found the screenplay in a Columbia Pictures vault and wanted to revive the project. It was originally intended to be a small budget film with no stars but the studio sent the script to Sally Field. When she agreed to star in and produce the film, the budget was raised and Tom Hanks was cast. See more »

Quotes

Stand-Up Comic: [doing an impression of Ghandi's mother] Please, sweetheart... just a sandwich?
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Soundtracks

Saber Dance
(uncredited)
(from ballet "Gayaneh")
Music by Aram Khachaturyan
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Forgotten Gem in the Career of Tom Hanks...
1 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the best and also most overlooked films of Tom Hanks'career was the 1988 comedy PUNCHLINE, in which Hanks plays Steven Gold, a struggling stand up comedian who uses his comedy to work out his own inner demons, a lot of which stem from his childhood and his twisted and unresolved relationship with his father. Hanks walks the fine line of comedy and tragedy so effectively in this movie. One scene where he is excited to perform because a big agent is in the audience and is shattered when he learns it's really his father out there and he literally has a breakdown onstage is absolutely heartbreaking. He is also laugh out loud funny when he performs a stand up routine for a group of patients at a Brooklyn hospital and then two minutes later is looking at the chart of a terminally ill child. Steven Gold is a character so desperate to be loved that he thinks himself into believing that he is in love with a married woman (Sally Field) who also wants to do stand-up. Another great scene is when he pours his heart out to her and when she rejects him, he storms out in the rain and starts out doing Gene Kelly, but the dance in the rain turns into a brief descent into madness. Standup comics, for the most part, are not happy people, and Hanks conveys this so beautifully in this film. His final set at the film's climax reeks of his brilliance and he gets strong support from Field and John Goodman as Field's husband. If you somehow missed this early sleeper in Hanks' career, check it out.. definitely worth renting and repeated viewings.


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