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Big Night (1996)

R  |   |  Drama  |  20 September 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,356 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 82 user | 52 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business.

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9 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Block ...
Man in Restaurant
Woman in Restaurant
Andre Belgrader ...
Stash (as Andrei Belgrader)
Loan Officer
Pasquale Cajano ...
Alberto N. Pisani
Woman Singer


Primo and Secondo are two brothers who have emigrated from Italy to open an Italian restaurant in America. Primo is the irascible and gifted chef, brilliant in his culinary genius, but determined not to squander his talent on making the routine dishes that customers expect. Secondo is the smooth front-man, trying to keep the restaurant financially afloat, despite few patrons other than a poor artist who pays with his paintings. The owner of the nearby Pascal's restaurant, enormously successful (despite its mediocre fare), offers a solution - he will call his friend, a big-time jazz musician, to play a special benefit at their restaurant. Primo begins to prepare his masterpiece, a feast of a lifetime, for the brothers' big night... Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In love and life, one big night can change everything.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Night - italialainen ilta  »

Box Office


$4,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$185,942 (USA) (20 September 1996)


ITL 763,505,000 (Italy) (11 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stanley Tucci co-wrote the film because he wanted a decent part for himself. See more »


When Ann arrives at the restaurant and is standing at the bar, she is wearing black heels. Then, as she walks over to look at the paintings with Primo, she is wearing flat white shoes. When she later dances with Primo, she is wearing black heels again. See more »


[first lines]
Primo: [offers a taste asking opinion in Italian]
Secondo: What?
Primo: More Salt?
Secondo: No.
[continues chopping]
Primo: Not too fine, eh? Sometimes you cut it too fine, then all you taste is the garlic!
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #28.176 (2012) See more »


Giordani, Caro Mio Ben
Performed by Ezio Pinza
See more »

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User Reviews

A truly great "small" film...
27 January 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

I can't even begin to explain how much I love this film. First, it may be one of the great "food movies" of all time. Anyone who considers him/herself a lover of good food and doesn't drool over the "timpano" alone should check their pulse... And the performances are remarkably restrained, yet lively. Stanley Tucci is sublime, Tony Shalhoub is, as always, a marvel. Truly interesting camerawork that draws one in, yet doesn't detract (or distract) from the story or the characters. Because, at its heart, this is a character-driven piece -- about the love and mutual respect shared by two strong-willed siblings. Someday I will take part in a feast like that shared by the characters in this film, and on that day, I will be an extraordinarily happy man. Until then, I'll watch this movie again and again.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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