7.5/10
43,322
227 user 183 critic

American Splendor (2003)

An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.

Writers:

(comic book series American Splendor), (comic book series Our Cancer Year) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 49 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Ambrose ...
Joey Krajcar ...
...
Cameron Carter ...
...
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Housewife
...
...
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Interviewer (voice)
Larry John Meyers ...
Throat Doctor (as Larry John Myers)
Vivienne Benesch ...
Lana
...
Nurse
...
Mr. Boats
...
Marty
...
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Storyline

Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esplendor americano  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$159,705 (USA) (15 August 2003)

Gross:

$6,003,587 (USA) (28 November 2003)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One scene features a reconstruction of Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti ) appearing on Late Night with David Letterman (1982), criticizing NBC while wearing a T-shirt with "On Strike Against NBC" written on it. Giamatti previously played an NBC executive in Private Parts (1997) and in one scene watches in dismay as Howard Stern criticizes the network while appearing on the same show, wearing a T-shirt with the same words written on it. See more »

Goofs

When the real Harvey Pekar is recording his voice-over, someone fills his "orange soda" to the top of his glass. When he picks it up, there is less than half a glass of soda. See more »

Quotes

Real Toby: So, how do you cope with loneliness, Harvey?
Real Harvey: Uh, did I say I watch television?
Real Toby: Yeah. You mentioned you watch TV, you listen to your jazz records, you read, you write. You do your stick figures so you could plan for your next comic book.
Real Harvey: Yeah.
Real Toby: 'Cause I've seen many of your stick figures and that seems to be pretty interesting.
Real Harvey: Yeah.
Real Toby: [looks at a jellybean tray] Mmm, chocolate jelly beans. I'm going to have to try one.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Raise Your Voice (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Stardust
(1929)
(Published as "Star Dust")
Music by Hoagy Carmichael
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Performed by Dizzy Gillespie
Courtesy of Savoy Records and June St Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A True Super-Hero!
30 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Throughout the years, people have read dozens of comic books: Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, The Green Latern, X-Men, Hulk, etc., looking for escape from reality, but at the same time, looking for a relation from those books. With "American Splendor" on the other hand, it's quite a different comic book. What makes it so special? It's depicting real life where it shows the character Harvey Pekar in different situations.

"American Splendor" is a comic/drama biography about the life of Harvey Pekar(Played by Paul Giamatti) in which the film plays like a comic book showing scenes that are real and fiction. Even the real Harvey makes appearances quite often in the film to talk about his life, his wife(Joyce) and everything that sort of made him the person who he is today.

Harvey Pekar can be described as one of those characters who don't seem to give a damn about the world. The reason that I root for this character is that he's the type person that lives in his own world, from not giving a crap about the incidents in the world, to not having a formal college education, to working at a dead end job where in the future, people are still laughing at him. And yet, I don't blame him. I am reminded of two other movies that had losers, but made an impact on male society: "The Big Lebowski" and "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" in which both male characters didn't have to worry about anything or go out on dates, or even pleasing society(shame on you, people).

All in All, American Splendor is a great movie. Though the film's target audience are for guys, I still encourage people to see this movie. The film also stars, Hope Davis portraying Harvey's wife, Joyce.

One of the Best Films!


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