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City of Joy (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  15 April 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 3,830 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 14 critic

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


He was a man who couldn't care less... until he met a man who couldn't care more. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Indian writer 'Sunil Gandopadhyay' - a former collaborator of Satyajit Ray - was brought on board to help with the script's authenticity. This also acted as a seal of approval for the Indian authorities who will only allow foreign productions to film on the continent if they contain significant Indian input. See more »


Hasari Pal: The gods have not made it easy to be a human being.
Max Lowe: No they haven't. But I guess that's why it feels so goddamn wonderful to beat the odds.
See more »


References Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) See more »


Original folk score
Richard Blackford
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Story - Uplifting Movie!
7 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

City of Joy is the story of an American Doctor (Patrick Swayze) who runs away from his life and unwittingly lands himself in an entirely different place. Through various actions he ends up helping a woman (Pauline Collins) who tries to help the very poor of Calcutta on a day-to-day basis. City of Joy also contains a story of a farmer (Om Puri) who has lost his farm to the "money lenders" and brings his family to Calcutta to find work so that he can support his family. How all these lives interact is interesting. The poverty and oppression is devastating to see - but worth watching. The story touches your heart and holds your interest throughout the movie.

Patrick Swayze is wonderful in this movie! He is expansive and portrays all of his emotions - anger, frustration, love of friends and joy poignantly! Dirty Dancing, Ghost and City of Joy should have mad Patrick Swayze a serious leading man in the category of Harrison Ford. In later movies you can see his emotions but it is as if the are locked inside his handsome clenched jaws. Nevertheless, Patrick Swayze is a handsome accomplished actor and this film is well worth the watch!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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