6.8/10
2,552
44 user 16 critic

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)

A suddenly-unemployed executive suffers a nervous breakdown.

Director:

Melvin Frank

Writers:

Neil Simon (play), Neil Simon (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lemmon ... Mel Edison
Anne Bancroft ... Edna Edison
Gene Saks ... Harry Edison
Elizabeth Wilson ... Pauline
Florence Stanley ... Pearl
Maxine Stuart ... Belle
Ed Peck ... Man Upstairs
Gene Blakely Gene Blakely ... Charlie
Ivor Francis ... Psychiatrist
Stack Pierce Stack Pierce ... Detective
Patricia Marshall Patricia Marshall ... Woman Upstairs
Dee Carroll Dee Carroll ... Helen
Ketty Lester Ketty Lester ... Unemployment Clerk
M. Emmet Walsh ... Joe - Doorman
F. Murray Abraham ... Taxi Driver
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Storyline

The story of Mel and Edna (Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft), a middle-class, middle-aged, middle-happy couple living in a Manhattan high rise apartment building. Mel loses his job, the apartment is robbed, Edna gets a job, Mel loses his mind, Edna loses her job . . . to say nothing of the more minor tribulations of nosy neighbors, helpful relatives, and exact bus fares. The couple suffers indignity after indignity (some self-inflicted), and when they seem on the verge of surrender, they thumb their noses defiantly and dig the trenches for battle. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and you think you've got problems.

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1975 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

A Második utca foglyai See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jack Lemmon, Anne Bancroft and F. Murray Abraham; and one Oscar nominee: Sylvester Stallone. See more »

Goofs

The apartment building's supposed address, 385 East 88th Street, is actually nearer to First Avenue than to Second. See more »

Quotes

Pearl: Maybe it's not even a nervous breakdown. Doctors can be wrong, too. They took out all my top teeth... then found out it was kidney stones.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harry O: Street Games (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Caustic but funny
29 January 2009 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Mel Edison (Jack Lemmon) and his loving wife Edna (Anne Bancroft) live on Second Avenue in NYC. Mel hates the city and his job and complains nonstop. Edna tries to calm him down. Then Mel is laid off from his job and has a complete nervous breakdown.

Sounds like a drama but it's not. It's an adaptation of a Neil Simon play (adapted by Simon himself) and it's more or less a comedy with a very serious edge. The script itself manages to switch gears from comedy to drama pretty effortlessly and great acting by Lemmon and Bancroft keeps it going. There are quite a few people who hate Simons plays. They say the one liners are old and the characters are stale but I'm not one of those people. I happen to think his jokes are quite funny and finds he writes three-dimensional, believable characters. But, if you don't like Simon, this movie won't change your mind. Some people might accuse this of being dated--there was a huge recession going on in the mid 1970s and that is worked in to the plot. But, seeing as we're in another one at the moment, this is very timely. My only complaint is the ending is way too pat to be believable but that's minor. I give it a 7. Look for F. Murray Abraham as a cab driver and Sylvester Stallone.


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