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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.



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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


Hollywood Reel To Real 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
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Did You Know?


During the student awards dinner, after the Crossed Sabres of Truth is shown, Dan Schneider's line "...regrettably killed while filming" could be a reference to Vic Morrow, who was Jennifer Jason Leigh's father. She plays Lydia in the film. Even if not intended to be about him, it was how she lost her father. See more »


In Lydia's apartment she begins to raise her beer to her mouth in one shot, but in the next shot it's back by her side. See more »


Nick Chapman: I want you to be my friend again.
Emmet Sumner: Nick, I was always your friend.
Nick Chapman: No, I know. I, I mean, I wanna be your friend again.
See more »


Features Dirty Dancing (1987) See more »


Ballade N°1 en sol mineur opus 23
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

An early winner from genius Guest
10 July 2001 | by (St. Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Thank God for Christopher Guest. Anyone who loved him as Nigel Tufnel in Spinal Tap and has since appreciated his mockumentaries "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show" should take a look back at The Big Picture. As with his other films, the humor is subtle and a bit "inside," but the more you see it, the more you love it. Kevin Bacon and J.T. Walsh are perfect, and Martin Short steals every scene he's in. (Added bonus: the Pez People song at the end, obviously sung by Michael McKean, sounds like Spinal Tap with keyboards instead of guitars. Very funny.)

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