Gleason (2002)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama, Family  |  13 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 356 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

The story begins at the height of Gleason's career. He has it all: women, wealth, and extraordinary power. But he is haunted by memories of his childhood. Gleason spends his formative years... See full summary »


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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
George 'Bullets' Durgom
Genevieve Halford
Danny Wells ...
Jack L. Warner (as Jack Daniel Wells)
Sammy Birch
Sol Friedman
Jack Philbin - Gleason's manager
Marilyn Taylor
Mae Gleason
Jack Langedijk ...
Herb Gleason
Jake Brockman ...


The story begins at the height of Gleason's career. He has it all: women, wealth, and extraordinary power. But he is haunted by memories of his childhood. Gleason spends his formative years entering amateur contests, performing in sleazy night spots. Along the way, he steals gags from the best comics in town and finds love with Genevieve, a dancer whom he marries. But Gleason isn't the ideal husband or even a responsible father as he abandons his family to answer the call of Hollywood. Brash, arrogant, and egotistical, he alienates his directors and the man who discovers him. When he ends up back in New York, Gleason gets one of those rare second chances in the new medium of television, creating some of its most unforgettable characters. But even as Gleason becomes the talk of the tube, his life - ruled by demons of rage, booze, and insecurity - unravels. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

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He made more than television. He made history. See more »


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Release Date:

13 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gleason: The Jackie Gleason Story  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Brad Garrettat a smidge over 6'8", is about nine inches taller than Jackie Gleason was. To compensate, other actors who shared scenes with Garrett wore platform shoes that would make everyone seem proportionate. See more »


Gleason is shown being fired from Navy Blues in 1949 or 1950. In real life, the film premiered in 1941 and he was not fired. Also, Cavalcade of Stars was not his TV debut. He starred in the short-lived series The Life of Riley. See more »


Features The Honeymooners (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Fine Performances Undercut By The Script
17 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Garrett did a fine job recreating Gleason, including his voice -- although his one attempt at singing as Gleason missed the mark. As biopics go, this one was well shot, but loses points for it's chaotic structure (with far too many jarring flashbacks), key storyline omissions and factual errors. Among the omissions: Gleason's film work (all the way back to the '40s and on to the year before his death), his first TV sitcom ("The Life Of Riley" was a 1949-50 Emmy winner!) and what happened to him between 1956 (when the last non-interview scene supposedly takes place) and his death 30 years later (!). Among the goofs: the wrong cue music (his most-used TV theme was also a hit single for him in 1953, "Melancholy Serenade"; after introducing his variety shows, Jackie'd leave the stage to the strains of "That's A-Plenty", etc.) I was surprised to discover halfway through the film that he was still working the more-or-less small-time; too much screen time was devoted to his early years, which could have been greatly condensed. I also agree with another reviewer that the comedy monologues were uniformly terrible; one wonders why ANY of the audiences shown were laughing at all (except during the "Honeymooners" sequences). It's unfortunate that the producers chose to present Gleason in such a relentlessly negative light. Maybe their view was, "Hey, he's dead. He can't answer back and defend himself. He's from another era than we are so who cares? Let's just trash him." Gleason wouldn't have had the career he did is he was really so hopelessly bad and untalented. If he did have any redeeming qualities, the writers of this film chose to leave them out.

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