7.4/10
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27 user 35 critic

Mikey and Nicky (1976)

In Philadelphia, a small-time bookie who stole mob money is in hiding and he begs a childhood friend to help him evade the hit-man who's on his trail.

Director:

Elaine May

Writer:

Elaine May
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Mikey
John Cassavetes ... Nicky Godalin
Ned Beatty ... Kinney
Rose Arrick Rose Arrick ... Annie
Carol Grace Carol Grace ... Nellie
William Hickey ... Sid Fine
Sanford Meisner Sanford Meisner ... Dave Resnick
Joyce Van Patten ... Jan
M. Emmet Walsh ... Bus Driver
Sy Travers Sy Travers ... Hotel Clerk
Peter R. Scoppa ... Counter Man
Virginia Smith Virginia Smith ... Jan's Mother
Jean Shevlin Jean Shevlin ... Lady on Bus
Danny Klein Danny Klein ... Harry
Martin Wolfson ... Candy Store Man
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Storyline

Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives, Nick won't let him in: his moods swing. So begins a long night as Mike tries to take care of Nick, calm him down and get him out of town. Their sojourn - on foot and in a city bus - takes them to a bar, a club, toward a movie theater, to the cemetery where Nick's mom is buried, and to Nick's girlfriend's apartment. Tempers fray and the friendship is tested. Meanwhile, a hit man who's getting information from someone is indeed looking for Nick. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

one night | friend | city bus | club | bar | See All (60) »

Taglines:

Honor - and betrayal - among thugs. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

21 December 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jogo Mortal See more »

Filming Locations:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (TVC)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elaine May shot over one million feet of film for the production-a two hour feature is just under 11,000 See more »

Goofs

Nellie bites Mikey on his bottom lip, left side. Later, when Mikey is home with his wife Jan, the partly healed sore is on his right side of the lower lip. See more »

Quotes

Nicky: It's very hard to talk to a dead person. I have nothing in common.
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Connections

References Xin du bi dao (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Beer Barrel Polka
by Wladimir A. Timm (as W. A. Timm), Vasek Zeman (as V. Zeman), Jaromir Vejvoda (as J. Vejvoda) and Lew Brown (as L. Brown)
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

A review of a ten star film
19 August 2000 | by stephen nizSee all my reviews

A list of best films-you-didn't see from the seventies and eighties could not be complete without a host of John Cassavetes films: THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (1976 - given thumbs down on release, lauded as a classic now), and LOVE STREAMS (1984) are just two overlooked gems. Likewise, the only reason you can make for anybody not seeing MIKEY AND NICKY (Cassavetes starred, but didn't write/direct) is that nobody heard of it.

I assume you have one of two reasons for reading this review. Either (a) you love the film and are looking for like-minded opinion; or (b) you stumbled upon it accidentally, in which case I shall put it as simple as possible: you gotta see it.

Mikey (John Cassavetes) sits in a shoebox hotel room, a price now on his head, scared stiff. In desperation he calls his gangster childhood pal Nicky (Peter Falk) to help him get out of town.

A synopsis doesn't cover the density of the film. Two fragile male egos rebound off each other as the leads recall just why they love and hate each other so much. I cannot think of a better casting move than coupling Cassavetes and Falk. Good friends in real life, and frequent collaborators, they bring an intimacy to the film rarely seen elsewhere.

Within the first half-hour it dawns on the audience that engrossing as the story is, the outcome is not the most important aspect. Director Elaine May draws strength from the honesty of the characters. Her handling is at once compassionate and even-handed. The result: the characters are likeable for all their flaws.

It resonates more and more every time you watch it, enough for me personally to consider it will be a major influence on anything I might have the chance to film in the future.

The passing of Cassavetes was heartbreaking, the casual neglect of his output just as much so. If you don't know much about the man who took Scorsese under his wing, take the time today to investigate. Elaine May went on to make ISHTAR. Sadly, she hasn't directed since.

MIKEY AND NICKY is one of the greatest American films ever made.


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