28 user 14 critic

The Idolmaker (1980)

Based on the life of rock promoter/producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered, among others, Frankie Avalon and Fabian.


Taylor Hackford

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Sharkey ... Vincent Vacarri
Tovah Feldshuh ... Brenda Roberts
Peter Gallagher ... Caesare
Paul Land ... Tommy Dee
Joe Pantoliano ... Gino Pilato
Maureen McCormick ... Ellen Fields
John Aprea ... Mario Vacarri
Richard Bright ... Uncle Tony
Olympia Dukakis ... Mrs. Vacarri
Steve Peck Steve Peck ... Mr. Frank Vacarri (as Steven Apostlee Peck)
Leonard Gaines Leonard Gaines ... Luchetti
Deney Terrio Deney Terrio ... Jerry Martin
Charles Guardino Charles Guardino ... Jesse
Michael Mislove ... Ed Sharp
Kenneth O'Brien Kenneth O'Brien ... Walt Bennett


Based on the life of rock promoter/producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered, among others, Frankie Avalon and Fabian.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He can do it for you... See more »


PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:






Release Date:

14 November 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Sombra de um Ídolo See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kirkwood,Koch Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to director Taylor Hackford, casting this picture involved casting calls in six American cities interviewing thousands of young men with screen tests for fifty. See more »


Caesare's rise to fame is charted through a montage of various magazine covers dated from May 1961 through October 1961. However, later in the film, Caesare arrives to play in Nashville and a banner reads March 17, 1961, before any of those magazines would have hit the stands. See more »


Vincent Vacarri: True sex comes from between your ears, not from between your legs.
See more »


It's Never Been Tonight Before
Music and Lyrics by Jeff Barry
Sung by Peter Gallagher
See more »

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User Reviews

Great All-Time Lost Treasure
27 February 2005 | by burgandymoonSee all my reviews

Tragically, released at a time when United Artists was busy going bankrupt making "Heaven's Gate" (see book FINAL CUT), this film was lost among a number of gems (Rich Kids; Pope of Greenwich Village; TrueRomance), "Idolmaker" is truly in a class by itself. Its acting is uniformly impeccable, direction, cinematography and both writing and song score--by the legendary Jeff Barry--of Barry and Cynthia Weil fame, the film is refreshingly bereft of dead spots,contrived moments and false notes (and I'm not just talking about the music).Ray Sharkey is at his volcanic best. JOE PANTOLIANO is cast against character as (no kidding) Sharkey's milquetoast songwriting partner--and acquits himself magnificently. Olympia Dukakis gives a FINE performance as Sharkey's mother--and Peter Gallagher does his own singing--while delivering the performance of a lifetime as the naive-turned-meglomaniacal Avalon character.Due to his heroin addiction, Sharkey's career floundered in years following this star-making role... lowering him to parts in the likes of "Hellhole" with Marjoe Gortner. He ended up flat broke, living with his mother in NYC.What followed was bittersweet and merits extra attention to a wonderful First Act scene: While watching the movie on TV, he was struck by scene where his mother urges him to swallow his pride and ask his estranged father to finance his start in show business.Seeing That one scene years later restored his self-esteem and inspired him to get clean and sober and get back into the game. He was barely out of rehab when he landed the role of Atlantic City mobster Sonny Steelgrave in TV's"Wiseguy"'s very first story arc. Those episodes remain cult classics,and are available on DVD. Loosely based on the career of Bob Marcucci, and his protégés Fabianand Frankie Avalon, this movie truly has it all: pathos, humor, an unflinching look at the free-for-all pre-Beatles Teen Idol gap that resulted from Elvis' stint in the Army.

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