An alcoholic drifter spends Halloween in his home town of Albany, New York after returning there for the first time in decades.

Director:

Hector Babenco

Writers:

William Kennedy (novel), William Kennedy (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Francis Phelan
Meryl Streep ... Helen
Carroll Baker ... Annie Phelan
Michael O'Keefe ... Billy
Diane Venora ... Peg
Fred Gwynne ... Oscar Reo
Margaret Whitton ... Katrina
Tom Waits ... Rudy
Jake Dengel Jake Dengel ... Pee Wee
Nathan Lane ... Harold Allen
James Gammon ... Reverend Chester
Will Zahrn ... Rowdy Dick
Laura Esterman Laura Esterman ... Nora
Joe Grifasi ... Jack
Hy Anzell ... Rosskam
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Storyline

Albany, New York, Halloween, 1938. Francis Phelan and Helen Archer are bums, back in their birth city. She was a singer on the radio, he a major league pitcher. Death surrounds them: she's sick, a pal has cancer, he digs graves at the cemetery and visits the grave of his infant son whom he dropped; visions of his past haunt him, including ghosts of two men he killed. That night, out drinking, Helen tries to sing at a bar. Next day, Fran visits his wife and children and meets a grandson. He could stay, but decides it's not for him. Helen gets their things out of storage and finds a hotel. Amidst their mistakes and dereliction, the film explores their code of fairness and loyalty. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source "Ironweed" (1983) novel by William Kennedy is the third book in Kennedy's eight book series, which is known as "The Albany Cycle". See more »

Goofs

When the vigilantes' cars approach the hobo camp, they are observed across the steel-ribbed top of a boxcar with no running board, impossible in 1938. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pee Wee: [gathered around a fire barrel] Oh God, it's too damn cold out here. Hey, Francis.
Francis Phelan: Hey, Pee Wee.
Pee Wee: Have you come back?
Francis Phelan: Yeah. You, uh, seen Helen around?
Pee Wee: No. I haven't seen her in a couple days.
Francis Phelan: Well, I'll catch up with her.
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Connections

References Midnight Cowboy (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Whe You Were Sweet Sixteen
Words and Music by James Thornton
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User Reviews

 
Depressing drama. Very good acting.
15 August 2000 | by michaelRokeefeSee all my reviews

Jack Nicholson usually relies on his quirky mannerisms and catch phrases; in this movie he shows his acting talents in a more serious manner. This movie is a brutal look at street people in the late 1930s. Meryl Streep immerses herself into her part as usual. This movie is harsh, cold and depressing. And the running time almost pushes two and a half hours long. I honestly don't know what they could have left out to make it shorter. Once is enough for this one. It will take a while for you to get your mind off of the abundance of hardship and sadness.

Nicholson and Streep are joined with a solid, diverse cast that includes Carroll Baker, Michael O'Keefe, Tom Waits, Nathan Lane and Fred Gwynne.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ironweed See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,973, 20 December 1987

Gross USA:

$7,393,346

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,393,346
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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