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Sea of Love (1989) Poster

(1989)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (2) | Spoilers (3)
According to the DVD documentary, included in the final cut of the film, is a scene where Al Pacino's character gets rudely bumped into on 5th Avenue, while trying to court Ellen Barkin's character. According to Director Harold Becker, this was an unscripted moment caused by a real New Yorker, and not an extra. Pacino incorporates the moment into his performance, and continues without missing a beat.
The apprehension of criminals by arranging a "Meet the Yankees" breakfast was based on an actual event.
Novelist Richard Price originally wrote the screenplay for Dustin Hoffman, but he wanted too many re-writes, so Al Pacino took over the role.
Fourth of five cinema movie collaborations of Al Pacino and Producer Martin Bregman. The films are Serpico (1973), Scarface (1983), Sea of Love (1989), Carlito's Way (1993), and Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Al Pacino's first movie in four years. Pacino's last film at the time had been Revolution (1985).
When Frank Keller is trying to convince his Lieutenant to let him try the restaurant sting operation without wearing a wire, he says "What is she gonna do, confess? Shoot me? We're in a restaurant!!" Al Pacino famously played Michael Corleone in a scene where he shot a cop in a restaurant, which was also supposed to be improbable.
Sea of Love (1989) is often credited as the film that pulled Al Pacino out of a slump of failures he'd starred in throughout the 1980s.
Michael Rooker got cast in this movie based on his title role performance in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986).
There are two renditions of the 1950s song "Sea of Love" heard in the movie. This included the original 1959 recording performed by Phil Phillips with the Twilights and a then new 1980s end title version performed by Tom Waits.
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Ellen Barkin, in a 2011 interview with Chicago's Huffington Post, said that this movie was not her best work, didn't think Harold Becker liked her, but the picture did make her a household name. The article states that Barkin says that "she was forced into doing the sensual grocery store scene, where she caresses yellow peppers while wearing little under her raincoat other than a sly thigh to entice co-star Al Pacino. Barkin said she had a big fight with Becker over it, since she really didn't want to do it. Pacino was 'brilliant' and 'very generous' to work with, but the reason it's hard for her to watch, is when she views Sea of Love (1989) what the audience sees as 'attitude' on her part, is really a 'tenseness'. But through her training in method acting at the Actors Studio, she made her tenseness in that scene work for her in front of the camera. It was her first role where she was cast as 'an object of desire'."
Al Pacino and John Goodman would later play buddies in You Don't Know Jack (2010).
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Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin also appeared in Ocean's Thirteen (2007).
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The film represented the end and the start of a four year hiatus for Al Pacino and Harold Becker respectively. Pacino had not made a film for four years since Revolution (1985), while Harold Becker would not direct another feature film for four years until Malice (1993).
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Scenes with Lorraine Bracco as Pacino's ex-wife were filmed, but cut from the final product. They've been restored for television viewings of this movie.
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The interiors and sound stage set sequences, for this New York City-set movie, were filmed in Toronto, instead of the Big Apple. The exteriors were still shot in New York City, with most of them being filmed in the city's Upper West Side.
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The movie was filmed between May and September 1988.
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Breakthrough film role of Ellen Barkin.
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The fall from the ninth story window scene was performed by Stuntman and Stunt Coordinator Dick Ziker at West 84th Street in New York City.
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The only film Al Pacino made in the 80s that wasn't nominated for a Razzie.
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In addition to the deleted scenes from the DVD, and the Lorraine Bracco scenes from the television premiere, the theatrical trailer features a glimpse at yet another scene not in the final cut. In it, a guy recognizes Keller and draws a gun on him, to which Keller does the same and says "Don't you move!"
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Ellen Barkin and John Goodman appeared in The Big Easy (1986). Goodman played a Police Officer in both movies.
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Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Calderon later appeared in Pulp Fiction (1994). In fact, both actors auditioned for the same role in Tarantino's film, the role of Jules Winnfield, but Jackson was the chosen one.
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This can't be coincidental. Al Pacino plays Frank Keller, Jr. Ellen Barkin plays Helen. When they get married, her name would be Helen Keller.
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At 1:22:59, in the restaurant scene, the violinist is playing "Strangers in the Night". The song was also used in Al Pacino's Scarface (1983), during the shootout scene.
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Al Pacino was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama at the 1990 Golden Globe Awards for this movie, but lost out to Tom Cruise for Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
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Principal photography on this picture was a "long shoot" according to Martin Bregman. It ran from start to finish for a period of about four to five months.
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Harold Becker replaced Gregory Hoblit as director.
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The scene where Al Pacino and John Goodman are undercover in a restaurant, was filmed in New York City restaurant O'Neal's. Located at 49 West 64th Street in Manhattan (near Lincoln Center), and owned by actor Patrick O'Neal for many years, the restaurant closed in 1993, not long before O'Neal's death in 1994.
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John Spencer also played a Lieutenant in Black Rain (1989).
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One of four films featuring Samuel L. Jackson and written by Richard Price. The other three are: Kiss of Death (1995), Shaft (2000), and Freedomland (2006).
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The nickname of the serial killer was "The Shooter".
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Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin are method actors.
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The Lonely Hearts advertisement in the singles magazine, that the NYPD took out, was a poem by Frank Keller, Jr.'s (Al Pacino's) mother, written in 1934 while she was in high school. The ad read: "Lady - I live alone within myself like a hut within the woods. I keep my heart high upon a shelf barren of other goods. I need another's touch and smile to fill my hut with songs. I remain; a single, white, male, 42. NYW POB 233".
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This New York City-set picture, filmed its location exteriors there, featured such locales in Queens, The Bronx, Broadway in the 70s, the Taft House in East Harlem, Eighth Avenue, O'Neal's Balloon near the Lincoln Center, East 57th Street, West End Avenue, West 84th Street, Amsterdam Avenue, and the 59th Street Bridge.
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A short fourteen minute behind-the-scenes making-of video documentary was made about this movie in 2003. Titled, The Creation of: 'Sea of Love' (2003), it is available on some of the DVDs for this film.
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Star Billing: Al Pacino (first), Ellen Barkin (second), and John Goodman (third).
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One of two 1989 movies starring Ellen Barkin. The other was Johnny Handsome (1989).
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Harold Becker had previously directed two police dramas, both adaptations of Joseph Wambaugh novels, they being The Onion Field (1979) and The Black Marble (1980).
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First of two collaborations of Al Pacino and Harold Becker. The second movie was City Hall (1996).
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Due to interiors being shot in Toronto, and exteriors being filmed in New York City, much attention to detail needed to be made for continuity, to make sure that portions of shots relating to the same sequences actually matched.
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Samuel L. Jackson and John Spencer would later appear in The Negotiator (1998).
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The city of Toronto was selected quite early on during the pre-production period of this movie, for shooting of scenes which were interiors, and would be shot inside on studio sound stages.
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One of two late 1980s Hollywood thrillers with a title based on a famous song. The other was Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me (1987). Both movies were set in New York City, and both pictures prominently feature their famous tunes in each's film.
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One of two 1989 movies starring John Goodman. The other film was Always (1989).
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First major sex symbol role of Ellen Barkin.
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The meaning and relevance of this movie's "Sea of Love" title refers to the pool of murdered male victims, that have resulted from a series of one night stands, derived from lonely hearts advertisements in a New York City singles magazine.
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This film involved a considerable amount of filming at night.
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The film was released a year after Irish rock band The Adventurers had released in 1988 an unrelated album called "The Sea of Love".
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Ellen Barkin played Helen Cruger, who had a first name that rhymed with her own.
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First cop movie directed by Harold Becker, that was not an adaptation of a novel by Joseph Wambaugh.
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The movie's title is derived from the classic 1950s song of the same "Sea of Love" name. According to Wikipedia, the 1959 tune was the subject of this movie and was "written by John Phillip Baptiste (a.k.a. Phil Phillips) and George Khoury. Phillips' 1959 recording of the song peaked at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, and number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100". The cover, made by The Honeydrippers, reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1985.
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Al Pacino; and three Oscar nominees: Richard Jenkins, William Hickey, and Samuel L. Jackson, count reaching four if you include Lorraine Bracco, whose scenes were deleted.
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Film debut of Gene Canfield.
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Cameo 

Samuel L. Jackson: As a Black Guy. Jackson was billed in the credits as this.
William Hickey: As Al Pacino's father Frank Keller, Sr.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the final scene, when Frank and Helen are walking down the street, some of the passersby glance at Pacino, obviously recognizing him.
The identity of "The Shooter" was the ex-husband of Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), that being Terry Cruger (Michael Rooker).
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Body count: four.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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