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Liberty Heights (1999)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,354 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 63 user | 64 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Liberty Heights (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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:

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 November 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

When Nate goes to pick Ben up from Little Melvin the Key Bridge can be seen. The Key Bridge was not completed until 1977. See more »

Quotes

Ben Kurtzman: [voice-over at the end] Life is made up of a few big moments, and a lot of little ones. I still remember the first time I kissed Sylvia, or the last time I hugged my father before he died. And I still remember that white-bread sandwich and that blonde dancing girl with the cigarette pack on her thigh. But a lot of images fade, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get them back. I had a relative once who said that if I knew things would no longer be, I would have tried to remember better.
See more »

Connections

References Perry Mason (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Chonnie-on-Chon
Written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Nafloyd Scott & Wilbur Smith
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Polydor Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Changing Times
25 June 2001 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

A passable story about growing up Jewish in 1950's Baltimore, "Liberty Heights" lacks any consistent dramatic storyline, but deals with a variety of issues in a sensitive manner.

Seen largely through the eyes of two Jewish teenagers (Van and Ben Kurtzman, played by Adrien Brody and Ben Foster) and their father Nate (Joe Montegna) the movie deals with the social changes just beginning in the early 1950's. Nate owns a burlesque house long after burlesque has gone out of fashion, and runs a numbers game on the side, constantly risking charges. Meanwhile, Van and Ben deal with anti-Semitic feelings (swimming pools with signs that read "NO JEWS, DOGS OR COLOREDS ALLOWED), but at the same time also deal with the changes brought about by integration, making friends and making tentative steps toward romances with those of other ethnic groups. We get a sense throughout of the difficulty that people must have felt in being asked to give up long-standing social conditioning, and we see (perhaps unrealistically) that the young people are far more willing to break out of these restrictions than their parents.

The movie isn't all that exciting, but does provide an interesting slice-of-life perspective that makes it worth watching. I rated it as a 5/10.


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