7.3/10
13,721
86 user 53 critic

Big Night (1996)

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

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ON DISC
9 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

20 September 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Night - italialainen ilta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$11,881,039 (USA) (21 February 1997)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

In the final scene of the "big night" dinner the wine bottles across the table and in the kitchen with Secondo all have the trademark pink DOCG label on the bottle stem. The DOCG pink label was released in Italy only in the 1990s; the movie is set in the 1950s. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 17 August 2016 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Buona Sera
Written by Carl Sigman and Peter De Rose
Performed by Louis Prima
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User Reviews

 
Cinematic poetry
30 September 2009 | by (Los Angeles, Calif.) – See all my reviews

This movie is like a good poem: it doesn't all make sense, but you love experiencing it, and after you're done you keep thinking about it for days and days.

"Big Night" tells of two Italian brothers trying to succeed as restaurateurs in the 1960s. The bulk of the movie revolves a single "big night" in which they unleash their finest dishes in a culinary extravaganza.

The leads, Shalhoub and Tucci, are joined by Ian Holm (depicting a rival restaurateur) in a really memorable set of performances. All the minor supporting characters are equally endearing and real-to-life. There is a lot of attention given to the food and to its preparation, and the cinematography used to actually depict the meal (and the music superimposed onto it) is fantastically enjoyable. It's like the dishes are actors or characters in the play! The movie's final scene is perhaps deserving of the all-time hall of fame. It plays out over several minutes of complete wordless silence, yet it makes such a lasting impression. Ultimately the scene shows that the movie is not about the food or the striving for success, but about the relationship between these brothers, and that the relationship will outlast any of the trials they are undergoing, no matter how severe.

If you insist on a tidy ending that resolves all the issues, don't look here because the ending is completely hanging. Yet somehow I found it satisfying nevertheless. You'll find yourself recalling scenes and lines from the film for weeks to come.


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