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Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 30 June 1989 (USA)
The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

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(book), (book) (as Murray Silver) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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The story of the life and career of the early rock and roll singer, from his meteoric rise to stardom, to his marriage and untimely death.

Director: Steve Rash
Stars: Gary Busey, Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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J.W. Brown
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Jud Phillips
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...
...
Himself
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Lois Brown
Joshua Sheffield ...
Rusty Brown
Mojo Nixon ...
James Van Eaton
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Roland Janes
David Ferguson ...
Jack Clement
Robert Lesser ...
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Babe
Paula Person ...
Sam's Secratary
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Storyline

The story of Jerry Lee Lewis, arguably the greatest and certainly one of the wildest musicians of the 1950s. His arrogance, remarkable talent, and unconventional lifestyle often brought him into conflict with others in the industry, and even earned him the scorn and condemnation of the public. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jerry Lee Lewis: He Rocked The Nation... And Shocked The World. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

30 June 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Great Balls of Fire  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$13,741,060 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jerry Lee Lewis hated both this film and his ex-wife Myra Lewis' autobiographical book which was a source. Linda Gail Lewis, Jerry Lee Lewis' sister, also thought this film was a poor and unjustified version of the real Jerry. The book's co-author Murray Silver Jr. was outraged by the film which he thought departed from the book or the truth. Silver made several criticisms such as "The movie was phony." Director Jim McBride admitted that it was never his intention to tie his film to the facts, and stated "This movie does not represent itself in any way to be a historical documentary. We use the book as a jumping-off point." See more »

Goofs

When Jerry plays at the burning piano, he stops playing clearly before the piano-sound is gone. It keeps on a few more seconds, then it stops too. See more »

Quotes

Jimmy Swaggart: Thank you Jesus!
Jerry Lee: Well don't thank Jesus, thank Jerry Lee Lewis.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Raunchy
Written by Bill Justis and Sidney Merker
Performed by Bill Justis
Courtesy of Sun Records
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User Reviews

Dennis channels Jerry Lee
27 May 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

From some of the reviews here, I get the feeling many viewers of this film have never seen a Jerry Lee Lewis performance, much less have ever seen him offstage. Well, I can tell you, Dennis Quaid has the man down to pitch perfect. But it isn't just a great impersonation. Beneath every nuance and gesture is the frenzied heart and mind that probably would never have been able to function outside of the venue of rock and roll. Jerry Lee was the white man's Little Richard. He had rock and roll in his blood and he was BORN outrageous! He also made Elvis Presley look like a wind-up doll. `Great Balls of Fire' captures the essence of Jerry Lee's music, especially in the ‘musical' scene with the kids outside the high school. Rock and Roll breaks the rules, so why not have a film that breaks the rules by throwing in a musical number that obviously has no backup band? Those who have seen the high school rock and roll movies like `High School Confidential' and `Rock Rock Rock' will appreciate this spirited ode to them. Winona Ryder does a pretty good job for Winona Ryder, and it's fun to see John Doe (of the L.A. punk band `X') playing the somewhat stymied father of little Myra Gale. This film is not a biopic, it's a rock and roll movie, which is what the King of rock and roll (as far as I'm concerned) deserves. Is he a bad, bad man for marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin? Is it anyone's business? The marriage lasted longer then most marriages these days do. Even if it hadn't, I think people can be capable of respecting the artist and his music even if that artist's lifestyle offends them. That's this film's point of view, so no doubt, there will be viewers who will take offense. But to set the record straight, the whole world did not turn their back on Jerry Lee when the news got out about his marriage to his cousin. There were thousands of fans who actually embraced him more BECAUSE their parents and authorities hated him. And then there were just the fans (like myself) who will always love his music and audacious energy at the piano, and have decided to leave judgment of his personal life to whatever entity is in charge of such things.


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