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Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 30 June 1989 (USA)
1:08 | Trailer

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The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.



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



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


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


The true story of a legend. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 June 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Great Balls of Fire  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,741,060 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Martin Scorsese was going to make a Jerry Lee Lewis biopic starring Robert De Niro at one point. See more »


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 »


Jerry Lee: England can kiss my ass!
See more »


Referenced in L.A. Law: Great Balls Afire (1992) See more »


Rocket 88
Written and Performed by Jackie Brenston
Courtesy of Sun Records
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User Reviews

Immensely Entertaining & The Music Is Great
3 September 2001 | by (Durham Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

An excellent job by director Jim McBride of putting Myra Lewis's book about the life of legendary rock and roll star Jerry Lee Lewis (her husband) on film.

Dennis Quaid gives an over the top performance (sometimes a bit too over the top; but, then again, this is Jerry Lee Lewis) as Lewis, arrogant and child-like, trying to deal with sudden fame, having to deal with the consequences of having married his thirteen year old cousin (Myra, who authored the book). Quaid was truly excellent in this role. Yes, the lip-synching was perhaps a bit too obvious at times, but for the sake of hearing some great music performed by the real Jerry Lee Lewis, that was an irritant I could easily put up with. The relationship between Lewis and Myra (Winona Ryder) is developed sensitively and tastefully by McBride. Humour is added by exploring the complex love-hate relationship between Lewis and his cousin, the evangelist Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin). There is also great irony, given what ultimately happened to Swaggart, as we listen to him lecturing Lewis about the dangers of taking the "gold-paved streets of rock and roll."

I really enjoyed this movie. Perhaps it was guilty of portraying everyone in it as a bit of a caricature, but it still seemed to offer an entirely believable story of Lewis's life. Well worth the watching.


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