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Liberty Heights (1999)

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Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and ... See full summary »

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Yussel
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Charlie, Nate's Assistant
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Pete, Nate's Assistant
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Frania Rubinek ...
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Storyline

Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and rock and roll is pushing the Four Lads off the Hit Parade. Ben, a high school senior, and his older brother Van are exploring "the other": in Ben's case, it's friendship with Sylvia, a Black student; with Van, it's a party in the WASP part of town and falling for a debutante, Dubbie. Sylvia gives Ben tickets to a James Brown concert; Dubbie invites Van to a motel: new worlds open. Meanwhile, their dad Nate, who runs a numbers game, loses big to a small-time pusher, Little Melvin; a partnership ensues. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're only young once, but you remember forever.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for crude language and sex-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

31 December 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dometi slobode  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$95,247 (USA) (19 November 1999)

Gross:

$3,732,398 (USA) (31 March 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barry Levinson: [Ralph Tabakin] (Phil, Spotlight Man at the Gaitey) has appeared in every Levinson picture from Diner (1982) to Liberty Heights (1999). See more »

Goofs

In Nate Kurtzman's office, Little Melvin refers to someone as the "Pillsbury Jew-boy," a slur obviously derived from the Pillsbury Doughboy. But Pillsbury's famous advertising icon didn't appear until 1965. See more »

Quotes

Ada Kurtzman: [about Ben's Halloween costume dressed as Hitler] Your father says you're not going out dressed that way.
Ben Kurtzman: And I'm not changing.
Ada Kurtzman: He says he's not changing.
Nate Kurtzman: I wanna talk to Hitler.
Ada Kurtzman: He has a swastika on his arm and big black boots! He's wearing big black boots! He came down the stairs in them with swastikas all over!
Nate Kurtzman: Put the Führer on the phone!
Ada Kurtzman: Your father wants to talk to you. Sorry!
Ben Kurtzman: [to his friends] You guys can go without me. Yeah, I'm having Halloween here.
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Connections

References The Amos 'n Andy Show (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Annie Had a Baby
Written by Henry Glover & Lois Mann
Performed by The Midnighters
Courtesy of Global Licensing, Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I am neither Jewish nor Baltimorian (?), but . . .
4 July 2003 | by (Lowell, Mich. U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

this was a fine film, if not anything to blow one's hair back, leave one humming, or slipping into the dialogue. The story was set in the mid-1950s, accurately looks the part, and is actually three tales involving the three males in a middle class family.

Yes, there is the treatment of racism and the self-consciousness that it spawns on both sides, and yes, the death throes of anti-semitism (at least among decent people). A middle-aged man finds he has outlived the world in which he came to prosper, and does not know what to do. There is something else: the "grass is always greener" hypothesis in ethnic/social class mixing. One of the protagonists meets his "shiksa goddess" and her lot, longs to cross a divide he does his best to bridge -- and finds his betters have feet of clay for all their poise and social standing.

LIBERTY HEIGHTS is in the best sense a North American story. Leaving one's ghetto, the benefits of learning to do so, and creation of a better world. Note how toward the end, the flawed and even cruel W.A.S.P. society boy becomes better for having accepted the hand of friendship of someone his father might have avoided.


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