IMDb > American Swing (2008)
American Swing
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American Swing (2008) More at IMDbPro »

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American Swing -- The Seventies were sexy and sleazy. At the epicenter of it all was Plato's Retreat, the controversial, first-ever swingers club.  American Swing brings this enigmatic epic of excess to the screen for the first time.


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Down 36% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jon Hart (based on an article by)
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Release Date:
17 October 2009 (Japan) See more »
The rise and fall of 1970s New York City nightclub Plato's Retreat See more »
Chronicles the rise and fall of 1970s New York City nightclub Plato's Retreat. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
raw but intriguing look at sexual liberation See more (6 total) »


Bryce Britton ... Herself
Irwin Corey ... Himself (as Professor Irwin Corey)
William Davidson ... Himself
Dan Dorfman ... Himself
Donna Ferrato ... Herself
Joe Franklin ... Himself

Jamie Gillis ... Himself
Al Goldstein ... Himself
Dian Hanson ... Herself

Buck Henry ... Himself

Ron Jeremy ... Himself

Ed Koch ... Himself
Steve Kraus ... Himself
Larry Levenson ... Himself (archive footage)
Fred J. Lincoln ... Himself (as Fred Lincoln)
Robert L. McGinley ... Himself (as Dr. Robert McGinley)
Howard Smith ... Himself
Annie Sprinkle ... Herself

Melvin Van Peebles ... Himself
Alan Whicker ... Himself (archive footage)
Danny the Wonder Pony ... Himself
Honeysuckle Divine ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Abbie Hoffman ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Sharon Mitchell ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Marc Stevens ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Jon Hart 
Mathew Kaufman 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jon Hart  based on an article by

Produced by
Christian Hoagland .... producer
Jennifer B. Katz .... associate producer
Mathew Kaufman .... producer
Jason Kliot .... executive producer
Christopher Matson .... associate producer
Gretchen McGowan .... producer
Jack Siegel .... associate producer
Joana Vicente .... executive producer
Original Music by
Jim Coleman 
Cinematography by
Christian Hoagland 
Film Editing by
Keith Reamer 
Production Management
Virginia A. Williams .... post-production supervisor
Sound Department
Jeff Dittenber .... sound designer
Scott Gatteño .... sound re-recording mixer
Brian Yessian .... sound
Michael Yessian .... sound
Visual Effects by
Jared Damond Brown .... visual effects supervisor
Camera and Electrical Department
John Bell .... gaffer
Todd Csernecky .... gaffer: Los Angeles
Spencer Gillis .... camera utility
Brian Pruitt .... key grip: Florida (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Cedar Connor .... colorist
Niels Dachler .... supervising conform editor
Niels Dachler .... visual effects
Ethan Henerey .... assistant editor
Alexander Uhlmann .... post-production coordinator
Chris White .... post-production coordinator
Music Department
Marc Morris .... music supervisor
Keith Reamer .... music editor
Other crew
Steve Holmgren .... office manager
Matt Jordan .... office manager
Christopher Matson .... business affairs
Matthew Rasmussen .... assistant: J. Kliot and J. Vicente
Karen Shatzkin .... legal services

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:81 min | Canada:81 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Features "Las Vegas Gambit" (1972)See more »
Suburban RouletteSee more »


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29 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
raw but intriguing look at sexual liberation, 24 May 2009
Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States

Anyone who ventures into "American Swing" expecting to see a documentary on Benny Goodman is in for one hell of a rude awakening - and that's putting it mildly. For the "swing," in this case, actually refers to the "wife-swapping" phenomenon that swept through middle-class suburbia in the 1970s. And no figure did more to popularize that trend than Larry Levenson - the "King of Swing" as he came to be called - whose "live sex club," Plato's Retreat, located in Manhattan's Upper West Side, served as the epicenter for so much of the action.

Let it be stated right up front that this eye-opening documentary is not for the prudish or the easily offended, for its footage is graphic and its language raw, often akin in its look to crude 1970's porn. It takes us straight into the heart of a scene that became famous for its flagrant nudity, its unbridled group sex, and - if the eyewitness accounts are to be believed - its really bad food (apparently, the smorgasbord that kept bringing the people in was of quite a different kind!). Directed by Matthew Kaufman and Jon Hart, the film features interviews with many of the now-aging club regulars who happily regale us with tales of their personal escapades there. A number of celebrities who frequented the club, as well as certain reporters and broadcasters who covered the beat at the time are also interviewed.

"American Swing" is most interesting as a social document, showing how the "free love" ethos espoused by the hippies in the 1960's expanded into the mainstream a decade later. Suddenly, ordinary businessmen and housewives, truck drivers and longshoremen could partake in the life of the sexually liberated. In his own mind, Levenson sincerely believed that he was serving a salutary purpose with his club, providing couples who didn't want to be stuck in a monogamous relationship with a more honest alternative to "cheating."

It is not the intention of Kaufman and Hart to judge the people who took part in what Plato's Retreat had to offer, but neither is it their intention to shy away from some of the less savory consequences that eventually overtook many of them: principally, the diminution of romance, rampant drug abuse, and the spread of disease. In fact, it was the sudden appearance of AIDS in the early 1980s that brought the decade-long love-train to a screeching halt. That, along with Levenson's own troubles with the IRS (including time spent in prison for tax evasion) and possible dealings with the mob, is what eventually brought an end to the place - and to the era of licentiousness that helped to spawn it.

So, was Levenson a trailblazing sexual revolutionary who made it possible for otherwise ordinary middle-class people to live out their wildest fantasies? Or was he an emotionally stunted individual who cast away the mores of society in a bid to fulfill his own kinky desires and make a kingdom and a name for himself in the process? To their credit, Kaufman and Hart provide no easy answer to those questions, neither for the prigs in the audience nor for the libertines.

All same for the movie itself - for even though Levenson's life ends sadly, "American Swing" does not play out like the typical cautionary tale. For, in the end, we are left to reach our own conclusions as to whether Plato's Retreat was in reality a hedonistic paradise or merely a moral cesspool - or, indeed perhaps, a little of both.

The only thing you can really do is check out "American Swing" and make that determination for yourself.

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'Everybody gets laid here' chachadynamite
This documentary was very enlightening, anyone else agree? clarita2
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