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29th Street
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Reviews & Ratings for
29th Street More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

"The Blue Grass of Kentucky"

Author: mikeygoodlife ( from Staten Island, NY
29 October 2004

29th Street is a cult hit and one of the most underrated films of all time. It is the touching story about a nice Italian guy who is at the same time blessed and cursed with good fortune. The acting in this film is 1st rate. Everyone nails their role down. Danny Aiello, Robert Forster, Lani Kazan are magnificent, but the actor who steals the show is Anthony LaPaglia.

The film combines Old School Italian-American humor with traces of mob genre films to tell the story about the 1st ever New York State Lottery winner in 1976 Frank Pesce(LaPaglia). The script is 1st rate, George Gallo's directing is excellent, the music is perfect for the film.

Pay attention to the scene when Frank and his pals go to the draft physical in order to apply to the Vietnam war. IT IS SO FUNNY!!

This is the type of film that you can watch over and over again. My buddies and I continuously quote this film. Enjoy and you will feel a lump in your throat @ the end of the film.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

"WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!"

Author: Sarah Humphrey from Toronto, Canada
2 November 2004

My whole family from young to old have LOVED this movie. It is always a tradition in our household to watch 29th street at Christmas time, although it can be watched at any time of year. I just love it when people tell me they haven't seen this movie, and I get to show it to them...because it has the best ending ever! Just thinking about it now, gives me goosebumps. It is one of the best "feel good" endings I have ever seen. Don't worry I won't say what happens! Danny Aiello is wonderful as the father who is cursed with bad luck and Anthony LaPaglia is the best I've ever seen him as the son who is cursed with good luck. Some scenes are hilarious and others will break your heart. Just writing this out makes me want to watch it, and I just think I might!

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:


Author: filmnd from United States
23 December 2004

Although not highly rated by critics, this film has a great story with both poignant and funny moments. An excellent cast, I would recommend it to anyone. If you're an East coast born and bred Italian American, you'll especially love the ethnic comedy that many of us have seen or lived through. Danny Aiellos' portrayal of the out-of luck father is one of his better performances in this "based on a true story" tale. It will finally be available on DVD in 2005, and is great to watch around the holidays since the main storyline occurs at Christmas. The tag line on the packaging is right on stating it's "Goodfellas meets It's A Wonderful Life." This movie proves that the critics aren't always right!!

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Why haven't more of you seen this?!?!?!?????

Author: vulture from Rochester, NY
13 October 1998

One of the reasons I was so excited about this site when I first found it was the fact that the top ten movies and my top ten were so close. I continually find that the users here are very discerning (at least to what I think is good). This said, I can not believe so few of you have seen this film.

If you need a finely crafted, well acted rental some night, you probably can't do better. Danny Aiello is superbly cast, and Anthony Lapaglia has rarely been better.

See this film!!!!!!!!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Miracle on...

Author: janet-55 from United Kingdom
22 August 2005

When I first saw this film many years ago I had no idea it was based on the true story of how Frank Pesce Jr. won the lottery, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I bought the DVD a couple of weeks ago and found out that it was. It's a lovely, funny, poignant film about the relationship between father(Aiello) and youngest offspring (LaPaglia). As a seasoned film actor Aiello puts in a solid performance. More interestingly LaPaglia who must have been approx 34 and hadn't yet made those many films up to this point is staggeringly good at portraying Frank Pesce from age 16 to mid twenties. This is definitely one of his classier performances. I particularly liked the running joke about the father's pizzas. Also of interest is that the real life Frank Pesce plays his own older brother!! All in all the film is a little miracle.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

29th Street

Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
29 June 1999

First rate drama-comedy that is delivered beautifully to us like a Valentine in the performances of Aiello and Lapaglia, who are brilliant as father and son who dream of dreams and hope for anything to come along. Their dreams start to become reality when Lapaglia has a shot at winning big on the lottery. Based on the true exploits of Frank Pesce, who has a role in the film, this is moving portrait about family, love and that little thing called luck.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One lucky decision....

Author: gusmcrae from Maryland Heights, Missouri
25 December 2002

Well here it is Christmas Day and I was just flipping through the channels. We don't have cable, so there wasn't much to choose from. I happened to stop on the end of a showing of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and by chance I decided to see the next movie that was showing-29th STREET.

This is a great movie, 10 out of 10. I have to say that first of all. I'm assuming this isn't the most well known of movies because it's not something I've ever heard of. I recommend it though. Despite some rough language (which was edited out of the tv viewing I got to see), it is a great family film. Did you like MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING? This film manages to capture that same ethnic family feeling, though in this film it is Italian, not Greek. The family, with Danny Aiello as the father, is charming in all it's quirkiness. I laughed a lot at the subtle humor that came out of the daily lives of the Pesce family.

The acting in the film is terrific. The characters are well developed in the writing and the actors used this to the fullest in bringing them to life. I was amazed to see that Frank Pesce actually plays in the movie in a fairly large role as the brother Vito. He does a good job. Anthony LaPaglia is excellent too. You'd think he'd really grown up in NYC with that accent of his.

If you happen to catch this on tv or see it at a movie rental place, don't pass it up. The story is simple-the world's luckiest man as he grows up. The ending runs high with emotion as you come to see the results of the decisions that this lucky man and his family makes. In the end though, it's a great holiday film, showing the true love that families have. It's great to see men (fathers) with lots of love and emotion for their families!

Check this out :D

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Story

Author: Tasos Tz. from London, England
30 May 2002

This is the story of the luckiest man alive. It's as interesting as it sounds. An undiscovered gem, with great acting and great actors, namely Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia.

Do yourself a favor and watch this movie. You won't regret it.


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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Loved this movie!!!

Author: barb57 from United States
12 February 2005

I just happened to catch this movie on cable last night and watched it all the way through (until 3AM) as it held my attention all the way. 29th street is entertaining and funny. Being Italian I could really relate as I saw many of my own family members portrayed quite accurately by the actors. Of course, Danny Aiello is the best as always and a joy to watch. He can knock on my door anytime! I wish we could see more movies starring this fine actor. The lottery ticket theme held this movie together quite nicely with a few twists and turns. We all share this win the lottery... which makes the viewer eager to see the outcome. I found myself wishing I were the one holding that ticket and living out that dream of being "the big winner". The love between the father and son created a beautiful ending to a charming movie.

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A fairy-tale story about a lottery that saved a dysfunctional family

Author: SimonJack from United States
12 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank Pesce did not win $6.2 million in the 1976 Empire Stakes lottery in New York. He didn't win a penny because there wasn't such a lottery or drawing on that date. New York launched its Empire Stakes game in January 1977. But, scenes in "29th Street" clearly show a drawing for such a lottery on Christmas Eve of 1976. So much for this film being "based on a true story," as the IMDb storyline reads, and as the movie implies and so many reviewers seem to believe.

People in general, and movie buffs especially, should be wary of a claim that a film is "based on a true story." That can mean anything. "Based on" might mean no more than keeping the title of a novel. Or, it might mean a thorough and accurate rendering of a book. Most often, it means something in between. Perhaps a story that has been altered in time, with events, with fictitious characters or accounts, and/or absent some events and people. In "29th Street." the only resemblance to reality may be some of the interplay in the Pesce family. But even that must be suspect. Newspaper articles in 1991 (L.A. Times and N.Y. Times) discussed this film and its origin with skepticism. After all, Pesce, who is a character actor, has given no personal details about himself or his family. The IMDb Web site doesn't even have his place and date of birth.

So, the accuracy of the film build-up aside, how does this movie stand on its own? While the plot and premise of this story are strange and hard to believe, the script is good and the acting is very good. This is a story about a family that is dysfunctional, yet strongly bound in love. That is its endearing aspect. No matter what the situations, and no matter what the mistakes of one or more members, in the end they are bound by love. This is shown most often in the relationship between Frank Pesce senior and Frank junior, played by Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia, respectively. Their frequent arguments are laced with humor at times.

Lainie Kazan is excellent as Mrs. Pesce, and Frank Pesce (the real Frank Pesce?) plays the older brother, Vito Pesce. The movie has considerable profanity and dodges all around questionable legal activities. It has something of a fairy-tale atmosphere about it. The idea for the story and film was concocted by Frank Pesce and his friend, actor James Franciscus. It was supposed to resemble Pesce's family when he grew up in a tough New York neighborhood of Italian and other ethnic families. Newspaper articles of the time liken parts of it to other films and sitcoms of the past.

For a comparison of films based on real incidents, watch "It Could Happen to You" of 1994. That movie is about a New York cop who splits his winnings from a lottery ticket with a waitress. When he didn't have enough money to leave a tip, he gave her a choice of half his lottery ticket if he should win or double the tip when he comes back the next day. The film promotion says it was "inspired by" a real event or true story. And, it had a good basis. The real-life incident was in 1984 when New York policeman Robert Cunningham asked a waitress friend, Phyllis Penzo, to split a lottery ticket with him, in lieu of his leaving her a tip. Each picked three numbers and when Cunningham learned that his ticket had won $6 million, he honored his deal and split the money evenly with Penzo.

Many reviewers enjoyed "29th Street" for its family depictions and nostalgic connections to growing up in similar neighborhoods. I can appreciate that. Some wondered why this movie hasn't had more play or isn't better known. Could it be because it was almost all fiction but seemed to imply and continues to be tagged as though it is based on real events?

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