Roommates (1995)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  3 March 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,444 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 11 critic

An elderly yet young-at-heart man moves in with his grandson, and both their lives turn upside-down.



(short story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bolek Krupa
Joyce Reehling ...
Burt Shook
Michael at age 5
Lisa Davis ...
Rohn Thomas ...
Karl Mackey ...
Milan Postevic
Zygmund Szarnicki ...
Funeral Priest (as Reverend Zygmund Szarnicki)
Bully At Baseball Game (as Chance Marquez)
David Cutter ...
Peanut Vendor


Michael Holeczak has a most unusual roommate, his grandfather, Rocky. Now Rocky's a bit strange but loves Michael and only has his best interest. Michael would live with Rocky after his parents died. Michael would grow up go to school, become a doctor, Rocky would live alone abut when Rocky's about to be thrown out and placed in a retirement home, he refuses. Michael then takes him in. They would stay together even when Michael got married and had a family. And Rocky would always be there for Michael and Michael for him. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some people talk. Some people listen. When you're 107 and going strong, you do whatever you want.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some sensuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aprendiendo a vivir  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)


$12,100,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Peter Falk's makeup took four hours per day to apply and remove. See more »


Rocky Holzcek: Family takes care of Family!
See more »


Written by Ken Sheppard, Joe Patino, Jay Patino, Jeff Williamson and Steve Williamson
Performed by Twenty Mondays
Courtesy of Spindletop Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A "buddy" movie with a different kind of "buddy".
18 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you think about a "buddy" movie, it can take many forms. Women may see Bette Midler in "Beaches" comforting her friends or Susan Sarandon in "Thelma and Louise" shooting up the Southwest. On the other hand men have the "Lethal Weapon", "Beverly Hills Cop" series where dim witted detectives team up with fast thinking/street smart partners. The formulas are typical and boring. This movie sets the stage for a different type of "buddy" movie. The premise is set right away with Michael Holzcek being orphaned(mother died previously with an illness) when his father dies in Vietnam and no one will raise him except his grandfather Rocky played by Peter Falk who becomes his lifelong buddy/mentor. Rocky is a Polish American in Pittsburg and at the time well past 65 but still working hard as a baker while his contemporaries are retired or dead. He is told that he is too old to raise a kid but "whoa" this senior is on a mission and not done yet! Rocky has his own stubborn ways and the "my way or the highway" philosophy of life. The story unfolds with Rocky teaching Michael the values of family and life. Unfortunately, Michael picks up alot of Rocky's "say it like it is" habits. Along the way, Michael sets out to get his college degree and head off to medical school eventually interning in Columbus, Ohio. Of course, Rocky has to join him in a home shared with Chinese medical students. This part of the movie lends itself to many funny episodes with Rocky trying to "fit in" with the students. Michael's life seems to be in a rut-just work and of course no sleep because Rocky is a horrific snorer. Life stinks until he meets his future wife to be Beth. However, no one is good enough for Michael according to Rocky but eventually Rocky learns to "live and let live" and accept Beth. The marriage develops a number of new situations and it is Beth that teaches Michael the true key to becoming a good doctor,humanity and compassion. I really enjoyed the movie but it was Peter Falk that made the movie. He has an extensive movie history and although known for the extremely successful "Columbo" TV series,he has received many awards and got his first real recognition for the true life based movie "Murder Inc".

"Roomates" has a good story line but there are several "goofs" that prevent it from getting a top rating. Here are my observations.

Although it is an ethnic movie and he was Polish American, there was no hints of Polish culture like food, dance etc. It was like the story was a composite of traits of many ethnic groups and the writers just chose "Polish American" as a label. D.B. Sweeney was not a good choice as Michael, his boyish looks are hard to make him look older as the years advance in the movie. He is also ethnic looking alright-like right out of an Irish movie with his reddish hair. However, a real big "booboo" was when Rocky was doing the laundry at Michael's house,(at this point Michael was married with children and had completed his doctor residency of 8 years)and had to have been 35. Rocky at that point would have been 98 or 100. He was moving around quicker than most 25 year old guys in a boxing match. Also he was a baker all of his life-a grueling, on your feet, all day occupation yet no physical ailments or complaints in the storyline. Falk also had a plastic cap over his head to make him look bald and old but it looked so bad that it reminded you of a game show host from the 70's with a lousy hairpiece("rug"). I recommend this movie and had some of the details been attended to, it would have been outstanding. Perhaps this is the reason that this entertaining film was probably not released in theaters.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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