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The Rat Pack (1998)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  22 August 1998 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,249 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 5 critic

A look at the famous "Rat Pack" of the '60s, and how their glamorous alliances and carefree sophistication created a mythical lifestyle.

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Title: The Rat Pack (TV Movie 1998)

The Rat Pack (TV Movie 1998) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Bobby Slayton ...
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Rocky Cooper
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Judy Campbell
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Storyline

In the 1950's and 1960's Frank Sinatra was the head of the infamous "Rat Pack". He, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop worked and played together. This film dramatizes their volatile relationships with each other and the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, mobster Sam Giancano, Judith Cambell and the FBI. Sinatra helps John Kennedy get elected in 1960 with a little help from Giancano. Lawford, married to a Kennedy, is an unhappy go-between. Davis is fighting racism and insecurity. Cambell is sleeping with both Giancano and JFK who is also sleeping with Monroe. Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@keyflux.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It was their world. We just lived in it. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

22 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El clan Sinatra  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Liotta, along with the usual preparation of watching Frank Sinatra's performances and films, also watched Nixon (1995) starring Anthony Hopkins. Liotta was inspired by Hopkins because Hopkins did not resemble Richard Nixon but convincingly portrayed him. See more »

Goofs

On election night, Frank Sinatra is talking on a phone. The receiver is clearly connected to the phone wire with an RJ-11 jack. That kind of connection is common now but did not exist in 1960. See more »

Quotes

Frank Sinatra: [to Mia Farrow] You walk out that door baby, you walk out of my life!
See more »

Connections

References Ocean's 11 (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't That A Kick in the Head
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (as James Van Heusen)
Performed by Warren Wiebe
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User Reviews

Surprisingly entertaining, a couple flawless performances, history slightly askew...
21 July 2000 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

THE RAT PACK is surprisingly entertaining. The performances are all excellent, with Joe Mantegna (Dean Martin), Don Cheadle (Sammy Davis, Jr.), Bobby Slayton (Joey Bishop) and Angus Macfadyn (Peter Lawford) delivering completely flawless work. The music is great. The settings and cinematography are just fabulous. The story has punch, covering a stretch of American history that is shrouded in the Camelot illusion while delivering a couple of very involving personal stories.

And that's the big problem with THE RAT PACK -- the title suggests that it's an ensemble film, but really only three of the Rat Pack members live dramatically interesting lives and become the focus of the film. The Joey Bishop character is sadly ignored, despite the excellent work of Bobby Slayton. Dean Martin is a man without conflict -- although flawlessly played by Joe Mantegna, Dean was a man without any great ambition, having reached the top of the heap and looking at his "success" with an ironic and jaded eye. He's left to wander the scenes making wry comments, but his character goes nowhere.

THE RAT PACK boils down to the story of Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr. (more so) and (most of all) Frank Sinatra. Their stories are very involving. But it's just not enough to make the film complete.

Ray Liotta, as Sinatra, has most of the screen time. Unfortunately, he's the weakest member of the cast. His work is serviceable, but never reaches the pitch of his co-stars. He captures Sinatra's fascination and thirst for power, but never actually convinces you that he is anyone other than Ray Liotta.

Certain of the scenes lack the production values and staging of a feature film, descending momentarily to movie-of-the-week quality.

William Peterson is excellent as JFK, and Zelko Ivanek is good as RFK. Unfortunately, the film presents them (especially late in the story) as being just as party-happy as the Rat Packers, which diminishes their characters. The JFK and RFK of THE RAT PACK would never have had either the guts or the brains to face down Kruschev in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The ice cream scene late in the film is ridiculous.

But, overall, THE RAT PACK is very entertaining.


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