29 user 22 critic

The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 9 May 1969 (Italy)
A naive Amish young woman runs away from her home in Pennsylvania to New York City where she hopes to act in religious stage plays but ends up performing in Burlesque theatre.


William Friedkin


Arnold Schulman (screenplay), Sidney Michaels (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Robards ... Raymond Paine
Britt Ekland ... Rachel Schpitendavel
Norman Wisdom ... Chick Williams
Forrest Tucker ... Trim Houlihan
Harry Andrews ... Jacob Schpitendavel
Joseph Wiseman ... Louis Minsky
Denholm Elliott ... Vance Fowler
Elliott Gould ... Billy Minsky
Jack Burns ... Candy Butcher
Bert Lahr ... Professor Spats
Gloria LeRoy Gloria LeRoy ... Mae Harris
Eddie Lawrence Eddie Lawrence ... Scratch
Dexter Maitland Dexter Maitland ... Duffy
Lillian Hayman Lillian Hayman ... Singer in Speakeasy
Richard Libertini ... Pockets (as Dick Libertini)


Rachel arrives in New York from her Amish community intent on becoming a dancer. Unfortunately Billy Minsky's Burlesque is hardly the place for her Dances From The Bible. But the show's comedian Raymond sees a way of wrong-footing the local do-gooders by announcing the new Paris sensation "Mme Fifi" and putting on Rachel's performance as the place is raided. All too complicated, the more so since her father is scouring the town for her and both Raymond and his straight-man Chick are falling for Rachel. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If You Can't Stand The Terrific Girls (10 Count 'Em 10) There's Always The Comics See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The opening scene shows Rachel Schpitendavel Britt Ekland riding the 'ell' (New York's elevated trains) in Manhattan to the lower east side area. As the last ell in Manhattan had been dismantled in the late 50's (the 3rd Avenue el), the scene was shot on what was (and is still) a integral part of NYC's subway system; the above-ground lines running through parts of Brooklyn. The only difference between what was once known as the els and the above-ground lines, is that the els were lines in and of themselves, whereas the above-ground tracks are parts of lines which travel underground (i.e. the 'sub' - in 'subway') as well. When the els in Manhattan's east side were taken down, it left the entire east side (north-south) only transferable by either buses or the Lexington Ave. lines the N°s. 4, 5 & 6 trains, because trying to dig a subway line - in a city where space is at a premium - so difficult, that it took almost 75 years since work actually began to complete only a minor portion of the much-delayed Second Ave. line (it opened January,2017). See more »


The film was set in 1925, but in the opening montage, a stock shot of Times Square shows a marquee with "All Quiet in the Western Front", which opened in New York on April 29, 1930. See more »


Jacob Schpitendavel: I do not know, Louis Minsky, if we pray to the same God.
Louis Minsky: We must. Only a God who could tolerate me, could possibly tolerate you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The words in the title flash on the screen individually in between shots of the raiding vice cops. See more »


Featured in Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016) See more »


You Rat You
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
See more »

User Reviews

A curiously innocent Mulligan stew of bawdy humor and music.
4 April 2000 | by armoscotSee all my reviews

This can be a wonderful guilty pleasure, as it mixes a little (and I mean a little) skin, music hall numbers, traditional burlesque routines, a slightly salacious backstage story, and film-style slapstick.

Jason Robards and Norman Wisdom are a very convincing comedy team, although Robards is a bit dark. Give the actor and the filmmakers credit for maintaining the character as a ruthless SOB and not trying to make this guy cute and lovable.

You'll also see Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion) in his last film performance, which had to be truncated as he died during production (his role would have been more important and added a touch of surrealism). Also on hand is Elliott Gould, in pre-"Bob, Carol, Ted & Alice" days as a sweet schnook (and the title character), as well as Forrest Tucker as a gangster, Jack Burns as a candy butcher (that's the guy who sells the crummy boxes of candy that MIGHT have a watch in them--and if you believe that...,) Denholm Elliott (Indiana Jones' friend) as the guy who conducts the raid, as well as some real burlesque dancers and comics from the old days.

Adams and Strouse, who wrote BYE BYE BIRDIE contribute a small group of peppy songs, including "From Head To Toe You're A Gentleman" a duet for Robards and Wisdom (the latter a beloved variety star in Britain) and the immortal production number, "Take Ten Terrific Girls But Only Nine Costumes And You're Cooking Up Something Grand."

Britt Ekland inadvertently invents the striptease (it's complicated, read the plot synopsis), but reliable rumor and legend is that the breasts on display belong to a double. Incidentally, the nudity here is about as extensive as in Titanic, so if your kids have already seen that, this will not corrupt them.

The fact is the whole thing is a curiously innocent Mulligan stew of comedy and music, given its subject matter.

Norman Lear wrote and produced in his pre-ALL IN THE FAMILY DAYS, and William Friedkin directed in his pre-FRENCH CONNECTION days. According to the book "WHEN THE SHOOTING'S DONE THE CUTTING BEGINS" by Ralph Rosenblum, the film's editor, Friedkin shot the film indifferently and left immediately. Rosenblum spent the best part of a year recutting the film with the blessing of United Artists production chief David Picker. Rosenblum uses a technique of editing in hokey old silent footage to indicate to the audience that no one is taking the story too seriously, which lifts the curse over some purple writing and acting. Also Rosenblum seems to have invented a trick of mixing authentic B&W archive footage with new footage printed in black and white, which suddenly switches to color. This is an exciting and startling effect the first couple of times, but it is a bit overplayed.

Anyway, this film is better than you probably think it is, and better than it needs to be. Give it a look, it couldn't hurt.

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Release Date:

9 May 1969 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night They Raided Minsky's See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White | Color (DeLuxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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