6.5/10
4,718
58 user 40 critic

Pennies from Heaven (1981)

Trailer
3:06 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writers:

Dennis Potter (written for the screen by), Dennis Potter (based on original material by)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A writer for a greeting card company learns the true meaning of loneliness when he comes home to find his girlfriend in bed with another man.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Steve Martin, Charles Grodin, Judith Ivey
All of Me (1984)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A dying millionaire has her soul transferred into a younger, willing woman. However, something goes wrong, and she finds herself in her lawyer's body - together with the lawyer.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Alan Ladd
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A brain surgeon marries a femme fatale, causing his life to turn upside down. Things go more awry when he falls in love with a talking brain.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Kathleen Turner, David Warner
L.A. Story (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant
Pennies from Heaven (TV Mini-Series 1978)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »

Stars: Cheryl Campbell, Bob Hoskins, Gemma Craven
The Jerk (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Martin ... Arthur
Bernadette Peters ... Eileen
Jessica Harper ... Joan
Vernel Bagneris ... The Accordion Man
John McMartin ... Mr. Warner
John Karlen ... The Detective
Jay Garner Jay Garner ... The Banker
Robert Fitch Robert Fitch ... Al
Tommy Rall ... Ed
Eliska Krupka Eliska Krupka ... The Blind Girl
Christopher Walken ... Tom
Francis X. McCarthy ... The Bartender (as Frank McCarthy)
Raleigh Bond Raleigh Bond ... Mr. Barrett
Gloria LeRoy Gloria LeRoy ... A Prostitute (as Gloria Leroy)
Nancy Parsons ... The Old Whore
Edit

Storyline

In Chicago during the 1930s depression, sheet music salesman Arthur Parker is trying to sell his products, but it's not easy to convince unwilling music store owners to buy them. Although he's already married to the somewhat drab Joan, when he meets school teacher Eileen in a music store, he falls in love with her. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's a world on both sides of the rainbow where songs come true and every time it rains, it rains...

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 January 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dinheiro do Céu See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,179,289
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White ("Follow the Fleet" dream sequence)| Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In his memoir, Born Standing Up, Steve Martin recounted that listening to 1930's period music on his cassette player in preparation for the movie was his only solace while being on the road for what would be his final year of doing stand-up comedy before retiring to focus solely on making movies. See more »

Goofs

In the classroom, a modern Canadian flag can be seen. It wasn't designed until 1964. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Arthur Parker: Joan... Joanie? Sugar? C'mon, Joan... sugar... wake up, baby.
Joan Parker: No, Arthur, don't.
Arthur Parker: Oh, baby... come on, sugar.
Joan Parker: No, it's too early, Arthur.
Arthur Parker: Oh, Joan.
Joan Parker: Arthur, there isn't time.
Arthur Parker: Oh, there's always time for this. Joan, come on.
Joan Parker: Stop it, Arthur! No, don't!
Joan Parker: [getting out of bed] No... I said no!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Empty Screen or the Metaphysics of Movies (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is Good for Anything That Ails You
(1937)
Written by Cliff Friend (uncredited) and Matty Malneck (uncredited)
Performed by Phyllis Robins (as Phyllis Robbins) with Orlando and His Orchestra
Courtesy of EMI Records
Mimed onscreen and Danced by Bernadette Peters (uncredited) and school children
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Ahead of its time
3 August 2004 | by djfosterSee all my reviews

When Herb Ross opened "Pennies From Heaven" during Christmas of 1981 it met with harsh press and public indifference. Many concluded the musical was dead.

But "Pennies," like Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz" released two years before, is a key transitional work that juxtaposed the cynicism of the '70s to the exhilaration and escapist fantasy of its buoyant Depression era score.

Steve Martin ran the risk of alienating his fan base by trading in the "Wild and Crazy" guy for the brooding, unfaithful Arthur Parker. But he's a revelation. And what a dancer!

It was no surprise when audiences stayed away.

By all means watch it today, particularly on the new widescreen DVD release. You'll walk away with a greater appreciation of Christopher Walken, Bernadette Peters and especially Steve Martin.

It makes it so much harder to watch this major talent wasting himself in such tripe as "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Bringing Down the House."


37 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 58 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed