City of Joy (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  17 April 1992 (USA)
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Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hazari Pal
Joan Bethel
Kamla H. Pal
Amrita H. Pal
Santu Chowdhury ...
Shambu H. Pal
Imran Badsah Khan ...
Manooj H. Pal
Ashok Ghatak
Nabil Shaban ...
Debatosh Ghosh ...
Ram Chander
Suneeta Sengupta ...
Mansi Upadhyay ...
Shyamanand Jalan ...
Ghatak - Godfather
Shyamal Sengupta ...
Gangooly - Con man
Rudraprasad Sengupta ...


Hazari Pal lives in a small village in Bihar, India, with his dad, mom, wife, Kamla, daughter, Amrita, and two sons, Shambhu and Manooj. As the Pal are unable to repay the loan they had taken years ago from a moneylender, their land and property are auctioned, and they are rendered homeless. Hazari and his family re-locate to Calcutta with hopes of starting life anew, save some money and go back to Bihar, as well as get Amrita married. Things do not go as planned, as they lose their entire savings to a con-man, Gangooly, who took their money as rent by pretending to be a landlord. Then Hazari gets an opportunity to take up driving a rickshaw manually through a local godfather, Ghatak. He gets to meet a American, Dr. Max Lowe, and together they strike up a friendship along with a local social worker, Joan Bethel. Misunderstandings crop up between Joan and the Godfather, resulting in the shutting down of their shanty medical clinic. When Hazari sides with Joan, his rickshaw is taken ... Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


True heroism lies in the quality of the struggle. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for scenes of brief strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 April 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La ciudad de la alegría  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)


$14,683,921 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last cinema feature of Sam Wanamaker. See more »


Hasari Pal: All that is not given is lost.
See more »


References Masters of the Universe (1987) See more »


Original folk score
Richard Blackford
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User Reviews

My favorite Patrick Swayze film
13 May 2003 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

I think City of Joy is one of those films you either do or don't connect with. It's a study of growth, of friendship, of acceptance. It's a coming-of-age film. It's a study of how similar humans everywhere are in spite of vast cultural differences. It's a well-shot location piece. It's a character study. It's an action film, in its own way. Patrick Swayze and Om Puri put their hearts into their roles. The supporting cast is interesting and effective. The script has drama and emotional depth.

Although the plot certainly can't claim absolute originality, director Joffé's nuanced look at the cultural milieu and the care with which he portrays the characters' relationships and internal struggles make this a worthwhile, enjoyable film.

"Roadhouse" and "Dirty Dancing" were both lots of fun, but for me this is Patrick Swayze's best performance, and one of my favorite films of its kind.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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