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Unstrung Heroes (1995)

Steven Lidz, unhappy with his home life since his mother got sick, goes and lives with his two crazy Uncles. There he changes and gets closer to his Uncles, but his parents want him home ... See full summary »



(book), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Selma Lidz
Sid Lidz
Danny Lidz
Arthur Lidz
Nathan Watt ...
Steven / Franz Lidz
Joanie (as Candy Azzara)
Sandy Lidz
Ash (as Joey Andrews)
Lillian Adams ...
Aunt Estelle
Uncle Melvin
Sumer Stamper ...
Nancy Oppenheim
Sean P. Donahue ...
Ralph Crispi (as Sean Donahue)


Steven Lidz, unhappy with his home life since his mother got sick, goes and lives with his two crazy Uncles. There he changes and gets closer to his Uncles, but his parents want him home even though he is finally happy and popular. Written by Todd Weiser <nceppjrw@pop.flash.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes you find your heroes in the most unlikely places.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Entfesselte Helden  »

Box Office


$7,929,241 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Henry Winkler auditioned for the role of Danny Lidz. He arrived in character and in full costume. See more »


Danny Lidz: We've angered them. There's going to be repercussions.
See more »


Written by Pierre Degeyter and Eugène Pottier (as Eugene Pottier)
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User Reviews

It feels true
15 June 2004 | by (Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

Based on Steven Lidz's memoir of his childhood in New York. His father is (we are told) a brilliant inventor; Steven adores his mother and is adored in return. Steven's relatives include two genially crazy uncles, Danny and Arthur, who live together in an apartment across town. Precise diagnoses are never discussed and their behavior is seen from the point of view of a boy, but they both appear to have variants of schizophrenia, Danny being paranoid and Arthur more undifferentiated. Steven's almost blissful family life is cruelly interrupted when his mother becomes ill with cancer. Unhappy with his home life after the change, he 'runs away' to live with his uncles. Their apartment is a crowded archive of their mental illness. Steven is alternately fascinated and mortified by their bizarre behavior, but by sharing their world, he becomes a better person. This movie has no real plot or payoff, but it is captivating and moving. My upbringing was completely different from Steven's, but as a member of a Jewish family that has produced both some very bright people and some very crazy people, I can say that the film conveys the accuracy of 'felt life'. It is the antithesis of today's usual deadly conformist, formulaic and violence-ridden Hollywood films.

Nathan Watt does a very good job as Steven. John Turturro as his father is part of the long and distinguished tradition in American film and television of Italians playing Jews (and vice versa); he's done it at least once before ("Barton Fink"). You can't help but see a bit of Cosmo Kramer in Michael Richards's performance as Danny. Best of all was Arthur as played by that shambling, rumpled Canadian bear Maury Chaikin. Most of the IMDb reviews rave about Andie MacDowell, but this Jewish reviewer feels that in fact she was woefully miscast as Steven's mother Selma; in her looks, her speech, her mannerisms, her body language, and her demeanor, she totally fails to convince as a New York Jewish woman. This was the sort of role that should have gone to someone like Lisa Edelstein, Bette Midler, Tovah Feldshuh or Debra Winger.

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