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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 & 11 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

Country:

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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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michelle Pfeiffer hadn't sung in a year when she got the part of Susie Diamond. She had to practice for ten hours a day in the studio, and then took the tapes home with her to study them. For her most famous scene, singing 'Making Whoopee' on Jeff Bridges' grand piano, it took six hours to shoot it. She only had one choreography lesson, and wore knee and elbow pads during rehearsals. See more »

Goofs

After Jack leaves the restaurant in the early morning, Jack returns home and tries to console Nina on the roof of their apartment. The sun, however, is not rising early in the morning, it is setting, since the view is looking to the north along First Avenue and the setting sun is to the west. See more »

Quotes

Frank Baker: Jesus, when was the last time we played the Mallory?
Jack Baker: '78, November.
Frank Baker: Right, it was someone's birthday... Halloran?
Jack Baker: He had a daughter, sweet sixteen.
Frank Baker: Oh Christ! How could I forget? What a nightmare!
Jack Baker: She asked for it!
Frank Baker: I told Halloran we didn't do vocals, and he said, "What my Sissy wants..."
Jack Baker: "My Sissy gets!"
Jack Baker: [Leering] She got it, all right!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Home and Away: Episode #1.722 (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm So Excited
Performed by Krisie Spear and Martina Finch and Vickilyn Reynolds and Karen Hartman
Written by Anita Pointer, June Pointer, Ruth Pointer & Trevor Lawrence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Real Seattle Sound
24 July 2000 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

Written and directed by Steve Kloves, `The Fabulous Baker Boys' is a tale of music and brotherly love set in Seattle. The Baker boys are Jack and Frank (real life brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges), who eke out a living playing piano together at various venues throughout the Emerald City, a basic lounge act they've been doing for fifteen years. Frank is the responsible one, because he has to be; he has a wife, kids and a home in the suburbs. He manages their business, secures the bookings and is content to stick with a formula that works. For him, it's not about the music, it's about keeping food on the table for those who depend on him. Jack, on the other hand, is unattached and could care less about the business end of the partnership. As long as it affords him a modicum of security as well as dignity, he is more than willing to just go along for the ride.

For Jack, though, underneath it all, it is about the music; it's about jazz. On off nights he will steal away alone to some small club to play, and deep down inside he knows that this is not only what he really wants, but needs. And he knows he could be great, if only he'd let himself go. The trouble is, he's been with Frank his whole life, and as long as the act is working he just can't make the break. Unless something happens, his dreams are destined to remain suppressed and unrealized. It is only when one of their regular clubs balks at rescheduling them that the brothers begin to realize that perhaps their act is getting a bit stale. So they decide to try adding a singer to the act. After a memorable scene in which a number of young hopefuls are auditioned, Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) enters their life. She joins the act on a trial basis, and after an amusing and somewhat tentative beginning, infuses it with new life, though Frank continues to adamantly resist too much of a departure from their original show. (`Does anyone really want to hear ‘Feelings' again?' she asks him at one point). Ultimately, however, Suzie becomes the impetus for change that Jack has needed all along, and the stage is set for the decisive moment, which comes when the dignity of the brothers is compromised due to an incident on Frank's part of uncharacteristic carelessness. When Jack tells Frank, `We've never been clowns before–' you know exactly how deep it has cut. Kloves has fashioned an entertaining study of relationships, change, and the effects of complacent loyalty and self-denial; and the importance of following your own heart. When Jack sits down alone at the piano in that smoke-filled club, we know that this is where he is meant to be. Filmed on location in and around Seattle, with a terrific score by Dave Grusin,a supporting cast that includes Jennifer Tilly (Monica) and Ellie Raab (Nina), and a classic scene in which Suzie Diamond croons `Makin' Whoopee' atop a piano, `The Fabulous Baker Boys' is an absolute gem you do not want to miss. I rate this one 10/10.


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