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The Front (1976)

PG | | Drama | January 1977 (Austria)
In 1953, a cashier poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand.


Martin Ritt
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Allen ... Howard Prince
Zero Mostel ... Hecky Brown
Herschel Bernardi ... Phil Sussman
Michael Murphy ... Alfred Miller
Andrea Marcovicci ... Florence Barrett
Remak Ramsay Remak Ramsay ... Francis X. Hennessey
Marvin Lichterman Marvin Lichterman ... Myer Prince
Lloyd Gough ... Herbert Delaney
David Margulies ... William Phelps
Joshua Shelley Joshua Shelley ... Sam - Resort Operator
Norman Rose Norman Rose ... Howard's Attorney
Charles Kimbrough ... Committee Counselor
Josef Sommer ... Committee Chairman (as M. Josef Sommer)
Danny Aiello ... Danny LaGattuta
Georgann Johnson ... T.V. Interviewer


In the early 1950s Howard Prince, who works in a restaurant, helps out a black-listed writer friend by selling a TV station a script under his own name. The money is useful in paying off gambling debts, so he takes on three more such clients. Howard is politically pretty innocent, but involvement with Florence - who quits TV in disgust over things - and friendship with the show's ex-star - now himself blacklisted - make him start to think about what is really going on. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What if there were a list? A list that said: Our finest actors weren't allowed to act. Our best writers weren't allowed to write. What would it be like if there were such a list. It would be like America in 1953. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Star Billing: Woody Allen (1st), Zero Mostel (2nd), Herschel Bernardi (3rd), Michael Murphy (4th) and Andrea Marcovicci (5th). See more »


When Howard and Florence kiss in the park, the bi-level George Washington Bridge can be seen in the background. In c. 1953 when this movie takes place, the bridge only had one level. See more »


Hecky Brown: I'm an actor. What do I know about politics? My whole life has been acting.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits the people involved with the movie who were blacklisted are listed along with the year they were blacklisted. See more »


Referenced in Manhattan (1979) See more »


Anything for a Laugh
Music by Cary Hoffman
Lyrics by Ira Gasman
Performed by Zero Mostel
See more »

User Reviews

Woody Allen Blacklisted!
25 September 2012 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the 50's, in New York City, the screenplay writer Alfred Miller (Michael Murphy) meets his apolitical friend, the cashier of restaurant and smalltime bookmaker Howard Prince (Woody Allen) and tells him that he can not work anymore since he is blacklisted. Prince offers to sell his scripts to the producer of a TV station using his own name and Alfred offers a 10% commission to Prince.

Prince uses the money to pay his debts and improve his life and soon he offers his name to two other blacklisted writers. Meanwhile he dates the TV screenplay editor Florence Barrett (Andrea Marcovicci). When the veteran actor Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel) is blacklisted and fired by the producer Phil Sussman (Herschel Bernardi), the idealistic Florence quits her job. But when Hecky Brown commits suicide, Prince takes a stand against the unjust system.

Today I have just watched "The Front" on VHS maybe for the third or fourth time (last time was on 31 May 2002). This fairytale about the dark period of the North America history known as McCarthyism is wrongly categorized as "comedy" and is actually one of the most important and a serious movie by Woody Allen that perfectly works with the situation of a figurehead that realizes the damage caused by the Powers that Be to the careers and lives of his compatriots and decides to react against them.

Another attraction is that the director Martin Ritt; the writer Walter Bernstein and the stars Zero Mostel, Herschel Bernardi and Lloyd Gough had been blacklisted in the 50's. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Testa de Ferro por Acaso" ("Figurehead by Chance")

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Release Date:

January 1977 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

The Front See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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