Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

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



(book), (book) (as Murray Silver) , 2 more credits »
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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 <>

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
See  »

Did You Know?


The original recording of the song "Honey Don't" by Carl Perkins is heard in this film and is a Sun Records label. See more »


There is a shot of The plane jerry is flying in from England to the US. It clearly shows a TWA logo, yet when the shot jumps to Jerry coming off the plane, the plane changes from white to silver and from TWA to American airlines. However, the plane he flew across the ocean (London to New York) would not be the plane on which he landed in Nashville; there were no direct London-Nashville flights in the 1950s. See more »


[last lines]
Jerry Lee: Well, if I'm going to hell, I'm going there playing the piano.
See more »


References The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1956) See more »


Big Legged Woman
Written by James Williams
Performed by Booker T. Jones
Produced by Joe Mulherin and Billy Swan
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User Reviews

The Good & Bad Of 'Great Balls Of Fire'
27 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Being a fan of Jerry Lee Lewis since he began rockin' way back in the 1950s, this movie is a bit of a disappointment overall. The "bad" outweighs the "good" in here, story-wise.

GOOD - The music - naturally! There is some great music in here, featuring Dennis Quaid as the entertaining rockabilly-rock-country singer who surely will go down as the one of the great entertainers of his generation. Quaid lip-syncs the songs, but that okay. They sound better with Lewis doing the singing. The movie is colorful, entertaining and fast-moving. Wynona Ryder looks really cute, too.

BAD - There is a little bit too much emphasis on Lewis' brother, Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin) and, of course, they make him look like some fanatical religious preacher. Hey, I'm not a "charismatic" follower but there was an obvious bias in here and it wasn't necessary. Also, the writers actually made Lewis look a sympathetic victim for the criticism he got marrying his 13-year-old cousin! Only in the film-making world do we see poor morals given the thumbs-up. Sorry, Jerry Lee, but marrying your 13-year-old cousin warrants a bit of criticism! I later discovered this movie was based on a book by that the same "girl," so it's no wonder it makes that relationship look "legitimate."

The ending was not appropriate, either. Most of the characters in this film were exaggerated to the degree that they all look cartoonish. This movie could have been so much better with a more objective look at Jerry Lee's life and people in it.

24 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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