6.8/10
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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

The Fabulous Baker Boys, a Seattle-based duo piano lounge act performing cheesy jazz renditions of pop standards, is comprised of thirty-something brothers Frank and Jack Baker. Older Frank, married with two children, is the controlling business manager, front man and sole programmer of the playlist. Younger Jack is the carefree one without commitments to anything or anyone, including women, he who has had a long string of one night stands, most specifically with cocktail waitresses. Jack's strongest commitments are to his aging dog, Eddie, and to Nina, the lonely adolescent who lives in the apartment above his with her single, constantly dating mother. Jack's commitment to Nina is because of her unwavering commitment to him. The Baker Boys' act is becoming stale and outdated, and as such their ability to hold onto what gigs they are able to get is getting more difficult. So Frank comes up with the idea of hiring a singer to beef up the act. After thirty-seven failed auditions, they ... Written by Huggo

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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,823,529
See more on IMDbPro »

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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. See more »

Goofs

During the fight scene in the alley there is a crew member fully visible for a very short time. See more »

Quotes

Jack Baker: Who I fuck and who I don't fuck is none of your fucking business!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Makin' Whoopee
Performed by Michelle Pfeiffer
Written by Walter Donaldson & Gus Kahn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Finest, most important film ever made on the subject of Music
16 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

I consider Baker Boys the best film on music because it is one of the finest noir stories ever written on the subject. It is an important film because of the subject matter: an expose of musical art married to entertainment. It is a subject rarely revealed in American media.

Most people think of "musical art" as something found at the classical music concert or the college music department. The other stuff we hear is entertainment, right? Well, sometimes it just isn't that simple. Baker Boys is a story based on those cases of mixed marriage when the talented artist finds himself locked into an employment situation that hampers his artistic ability. It may come as a surprise to Jazz and commercial music lovers that such music artists really do exist beneath the glamorous facade of their favorite music acts (not to mention films). The story of Jack Baker means to reveal this dark underbelly of the entertainment business.

It is well for the public to understand how and why such musicians exist. The distribution of a film such as Baker Boys is but one step toward this end. While most people saw the film as a romance involving the swing music genre, what they didn't seem to recognize is the more important underlying contextual theme. This issue - of undiscovered musical talent - is not popular. Unfortunately the average layperson is not familiar enough with music to understand or care about why a musician would be unhappy with his job. It is easy to see why most people avoided this, the main theme of the film - it's too dark - and instead focused on the romance and the style.

In the end, Baker Boys is a story of one Jack Baker, an entertainer who was finally bold enough to make the transition to Jazz artist. It is a story of passive resistance to what Blake Edwards immortalized as that "other" part of the entertainment industry known behind the scenes as S.O.B. (Standard Operating Bullshit). It is but one fictional story that represents many, many similar true-life cases of successful failure.


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