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The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

The lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ellie Raab ...
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Lloyd
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Charlie
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Ray
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Henry
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Girl in Bed
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Vince Nancy
Bradford English ...
Earl
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Kid at Vet
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Theo
Gregory James ...
Hotel Masseuse (as Jeffrey J. Nowinski)
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Laughing Bar Patron
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Storyline

Frank and Jack Baker are professional musicians who play in small clubs. They perform cover tunes of music standards and have never needed a day job. Times are changing and dates are becoming more difficult to get so they interview female singers. They finally decide on Susie Diamond, a former 'escort' who needs some refinement, but the act begins to take off again. While the act is now successful, both Frank and Jack have problems with their life on the road. Susie becomes the agent that makes them re-evaluate where they are going, and how honest they have been with each other. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For 31 years it's been just the Fabulous Baker Boys... but times change.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys  »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$16,823,529 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Brothers Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges, who portray the characters of Jack Baker and Frank Baker respectively, who are also brothers. See more »

Goofs

When Jack goes to Frank's house, he is dropped off by a cab from the "Bay City Cab Co." However, the movie takes place in Seattle, not San Francisco (the Bay City). See more »

Quotes

Frank Baker: I'm sorry. I'm a bit wound up.
Jack Baker: Frank, you're a fucking alarm clock.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: The Fabulous Baker Boy (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Up, Up and Away
Performed by D.D. Howard
Written by Jimmy Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable story, thinly plotted but very well made.
25 December 2003 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Jeff and Beau Bridges - brothers in real life - are here united to play brothers on the screen. It's not the first time real-life brothers have played fictitious brothers in a movie (in fact, in The Long Riders several famous siblings paired up to similar effect). However, The Fabulous Baker Boys really benefits from the pairing. The sibling rivalry that runs through this film feels very credible and very convincing, possibly because Jeff and Beau aren't really acting but are simply using their real-life love/hate brotherly attitudes to fuel their performances in front of the cameras.

It's a fairly thin story, but well told. Jack Baker (Jeff B.) and Frank Baker (Beau B.) have spent years working together as stage pianists in various bars, hotels and night-clubs around Seattle. Their long-running act begins to run out of steam and they find themselves playing to empty rooms.... even their more established employers begin to express doubts about their ability to pull in the big crowds. They decide to hire a female vocalist to spice up the appeal of their show and, after over thirty awful applicants, they finally unearth a winner in the shape of Suzy Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer). Initially, Suzy provides them with a turn in their fortunes, but the future of the trio becomes cloudy when she and Jack develop sexual yearnings for each other. The problems don't stop there, with Frank and Jack slowly becoming more and more distant with each other as their views on how best to market their musical talents are revealed to be very different.

The Fabulous Baker Boys is extremely well-acted throughout, with Pfeiffer in particular giving an outstanding performance (she even sang most of her own songs). The main themes of sibling rivalry and unfulfilled talent are generally engrossing, and help to paper over the thinness of the story. Jeff acts rather moodily for much of the time and is very believable as a man working in the lower ranks of his trade when he could've reached the top. Beau is also in fine form as a performer who does what he does simply because it puts money in the family kitty. It's a hard film to describe, because it's not really about very much, but if you can adjust to the relaxed pace and just enjoy the leisurely development of the three main characters then you will come away from the film feeling thoroughly satisfied.


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