7.6/10
29,550
103 user 60 critic

Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

R | | Comedy, Drama | October 1984 (UK)
A New Yorker's life is thrown into a tailspin when his younger cousin surprise visits him, starting a strange, unpredictable adventure.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch

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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Lurie ... Willie
Eszter Balint ... Eva
Richard Edson ... Eddie
Cecillia Stark Cecillia Stark ... Aunt Lotte
Danny Rosen Danny Rosen ... Billy
Rammellzee Rammellzee ... Man with Money
Tom DiCillo ... Airline Agent
Richard Boes Richard Boes ... Factory Worker
Rockets Redglare Rockets Redglare ... Poker Player
Harvey Perr Harvey Perr ... Poker Player
Brian J. Burchill Brian J. Burchill ... Poker Player
Sara Driver ... Girl with Hat
Paul Sloane Paul Sloane ... Motel Owner
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Storyline

A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along with a friend, they eventually end up visiting their aunt in the wastelands of Cleveland and then proceed to Florida where they lose all their money gambling before unwittingly gaining a fortune. Written by J.Arnold Free <arnold@mayahtt.ca> and Brian McInnis

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Hungarian | Italian

Release Date:

October 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Extraños en el paraíso See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,436,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The car that Eddie borrows for their trip is a 1965 Dodge Coronet. See more »

Goofs

When Eddie and Willie are driving to Cleveland, the camera and camera operator can be seen in the reflection of the rear view mirror. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Willie: Yeah.
Aunt Lotte: [speaks indistinctly in Hungarian]
Willie: Oh, hello, Aunt Lotte.
Aunt Lotte: [replies indistinctly in Hungarian throughout conversation]
Willie: Don't speak to me in Hungarian, please. No, I haven't heard from him, not for ten years. Yeah, I got your letter. Speak English, please! Yeah, my little cousin Eva. Yeah, I know, she's come - coming here and she's gonna stay overnight, when's she coming? Today? Straight from Budapest today? Ah, no. No, I never agreed to that. I can't possibly babysit for her for...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Wanderlust (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

I Put a Spell on You
Written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (as Jay Hawkins)
Used by permission of CBS Unart Catalog, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Performed by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Courtesy of CBS Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absorbing Film By Jarmusch
16 November 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

An excellent example of why independent films are so invaluable, `Stranger Than Paradise,' written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, is a bare-bones production that never would have found the light of day in the mainstream. Essentially a character study, the story is a glimpse into the lives of three people: Willie (John Lurie); his cousin, Eva (Eszter Balint), recently arrived in New York from Hungary; and Willie's friend, Eddie (Richard Edson). After a couple of weeks in the Big Apple with Willie, Eva moves to Cleveland to live with their Aunt; a year later, Willie and Eddie are off to visit her. One thing leads to another, and the trio wind up in Florida (the designated paradise of the title). Watching this film is like spending time with some people you know; the characters are real people, so much so that watching them becomes almost voyeuristic, the camera somehow intrusive, exposing as it does the private lives of these individuals. It succinctly captures their lack of ambition, the ambiguity with which they approach life, and the fact that they seemingly have no prospects for the future beyond whatever a lucky day at the track affords them. The action, such as it is, is no more than what you would find in the average day of someone's life. The dialogue is what drives the film, though frankly, nothing they have to say is very interesting. And yet, this is an absolutely engrossing film; sometimes amusing, at times hilarious, but mesmerizing throughout. The performances are entirely credible, and again, you never have the sense that these are actors, but rather real people who happen to have had some moments from their lives filmed and presented to the audience for perusal. Jarmusch has an innate sense of capturing the essence of the everyday and transforming the most simplistic and mundane events into refreshingly documented, worthwhile viewing. It's an inspired piece of film making, helped to some extent by the stark black&white photography that adds to the realism of the overall proceedings. The use of brief blackouts during transitions works effectively, as well as providing the film with a unique signature. Original music is by Lurie, but the highlight is the use of the song `I Put A Spell On You,' by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, used recurringly throughout the movie, and which exemplifies that special touch Jarmusch brings to his projects. And there's a superb bit of irony at the end that really makes this gem sparkle. The supporting cast includes Cecillia Stark (Aunt Lotte), Danny Rosen (Billy), Tom DiCillo (Airline Agent), Richard Boes (Factory Worker) and Rockets Redglare, Harvey Perr and Brian J. Burchill (as the Poker players). `Stranger Than Paradise' may not be to everyone's liking, but to those seeking an alternative to the typical Hollywood big-budget fare available, it just may fit the bill and provide a satisfying, entertaining experience. I rate this one 8/10.


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