37 user 24 critic

The Big Picture (1989)

Film school grad Nick Chapman thought his career was made after his award winning short film, but discovered Hollywood wasn't as easy as it seems.



(story), (story) | 3 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Three actors learn that their respective performances in the film "Home for Purim," a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, are generating award-season buzz.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Christopher Guest
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara
A Mighty Wind (2003)
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Mockumentary captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Dan and Lorie are journalists working in the same office. More often than not they have opposing view of the issue in question. Deciding that this is hot stuff, a television producer gives ... See full summary »

Directors: Ken Kwapis, Marisa Silver
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Perkins, Nathan Lane
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Jake and Kristy Briggs are newlyweds. Being young, they are perhaps a bit unprepared for the full reality of marriage and all that it (and their parents) expect from them. Do they want ... See full summary »

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth McGovern, Alec Baldwin
Best in Show (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A colorful array of characters compete at a national dog show.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Karchy (Brad Renfro) is a boy in school who has moved from Hungary to America in the 1960's. He is struggling in school and trying to adjust to America's culture. He then hears about a ... See full summary »

Director: Guy Ferland
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Brad Renfro, Maximilian Schell
Quicksilver (1986)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Jack Casey used to be a hot-shot stock market whiz kid. After a disastrous professional decision, his life in the fast lane is over. He loses his nerve and joins a speed delivery firm which... See full summary »

Director: Thomas Michael Donnelly
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Jami Gertz, Paul Rodriguez
Almost Heroes (1998)
Adventure | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A road comedy about 2 guys whose mission is to beat Lewis and Clark.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Chris Farley, Matthew Perry, Bokeem Woodbine
Deadly Nightmares (1983–1991)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Fictional stories are told in this television series by The Hitchhiker. Each story is usually a mysterious thriller.

Stars: Page Fletcher, Nicholas Campbell, Vincent Grass
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

On their 16th anniversary, a married couple's trip to a Beverly Hills mall becomes the stage for personal revelations and deceptions.

Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: Bette Midler, Woody Allen, Bill Irwin
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Joey owns a pizza parlor, and is married to Rosalee, and is a major womanizer. Rosalee goes to extremes when she finds he has been cheating.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, William Hurt


Cast overview, first billed only:
Emily Longstreth ...
Susan Rawlings
Allen Habel
Lydia Johnson
Emmet Sumner
Kim Miyori ...
Jenny Sumner
Jonathan Tristan-Bennet
Jason Gould ...
Carl Manknik
Tracy Brooks Swope ...
Lori Pressman
Todd Marvin
Gary Kroeger ...
Mrs. Chapman
Grant Owens ...
Mr. Chapman
Polo Habel


Nick Chapman graduates from film school, and his short film wins a special prize. This gives him a high enough profile that he can get Hollywood to back the film he has long dreamed of making. Studio exec Allen Habel is interested. But Nick soon is seduced by Hollywood and makes one concession after another until his original movie is lost altogether. Worse, Nick is lost, too, turning on girlfriend Susan and old buddy Emmet. Will he come to his sense before everything is lost? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Film School prepared Nick for everything... everything but Hollywood. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 December 1989 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

A Grande Comédia  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$117,463 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Martin Short regrets not appearing in the film's credits. The reason he is uncredited: He was considered an "extended cameo" only having 4 scenes totaling 7 minutes. In his autobiography he was so proud of the Neil Sussman character that he wished he'd asked for screen credit. See more »


A pointed piece of equipment moves up and out of frame as Lydia is talking to Nick in her apartment. See more »


Nick Chapman: What is it?
Emmet Sumner: It's this stupid movie. It's called "Coffins from Hell."
Nick Chapman: What is it about?
Emmet Sumner: Coffins from hell.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Queen Latifah (2004) See more »


The Whites of Their Eyes
Written by Christopher Guest and Michael McKean
Performed by PEZ® People
Sung by Michael McKean
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Nick Chapman - an indie-film pioneer?
3 April 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

THE BIG PICTURE is a breezy satire of the movie business from the mind of writer/director Christopher Guest (BEST IN SHOW, A MIGHTY WIND). It tells the story of Nick Chapman (Kevin Bacon), a young film director who gets put through the Hollywood wringer. Studio executives, agents, and starlets all prey on Nick's naivete and he eventually sells out, neglecting his girlfriend and best friend in the process.

What's interesting about THE BIG PICTURE is its grassroots portrayal of how Nick finally launches his Hollywood career - by starting small, doing his own thing, and involving his friends. Those are basically the tenets of independent film, which boomed in the decade following THE BIG PICTURE.

Nowadays, many of those indie directors - among them Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, and Christopher Nolan - are getting hired to do big-budget studio pictures. In fact, Soderbergh's "sex, lies, and videotape" was released the same year as this movie.

Was Nick Chapman's "Pez People" video responsible for the indie film movement? Not likely, but THE BIG PICTURE was certainly an advocate of its principles.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Big Picture res5com
"Pez People" Song Sudy_Nym
Martin Short Avalon123
Short Films headrec
How much is Jennifer Jason Leigh in this? Goranjake
What is the trumpet piece played in the last scene of the movie?? nprepelka
Discuss The Big Picture (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: