6.5/10
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46 user 23 critic

Tin Men (1987)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 13 March 1987 (USA)
A minor car accident drives two rival aluminum-siding salesmen to the ridiculous extremes of man versus man in 1963 Baltimore.

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writer:

Barry Levinson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Bill 'BB' Babowsky
Danny DeVito ... Ernest Tilley
Barbara Hershey ... Nora Tilley
John Mahoney ... Moe Adams
Jackie Gayle Jackie Gayle ... Sam
Stanley Brock ... Gil
Seymour Cassel ... Cheese
Bruno Kirby ... Mouse
J.T. Walsh ... Wing
Richard Portnow ... Carly
Matt Craven ... Looney
Alan Blumenfeld ... Stanley
Brad Sullivan ... Masters
Michael Tucker ... Bagel
Deirdre O'Connell ... Nellie
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Storyline

One step short of larceny, the aluminum siding salesmen in this movie sell their wares, compete with each other, and engage in a lot of great dialog. Tin Men focuses on the rivalry between BB Babowsky and Ernest Tilley. At the same time, the end of small world of which they are kings looms near as a government probe investigates their industry. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Year - 1963. Selling the American Dream is a risky, funny business - you could wind up paying with your wife! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La guerra de los vendedores See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$187,381, 8 March 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$25,411,386
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

After becoming frustrated with professional performance in his 20s, Rodney Dangerfield quit comedy for several years, got married and moved to the suburbs where he claimed to have made a living as an aluminum siding salesman. According to "The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy" by Kliph Nesteroff, Dangerfield was, in fact, a real life "tin man" and was investigated by the FBI for unethical, fraudulent sales practices; which was even reported in the newspaper under his birth name (Jake Cohen) and initial stage name (Jack Roy). Although he avoided jail time or sentencing, Nesteroff speculates that his return to comedy and name change were both at least partially motivated to distance himself from the investigation. See more »

Goofs

Two of the "tin men" are waiting at a traffic light in a '59 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. However, when we switch to a view of the two guys through the windshield, the vehicle becomes a hardtop. Switching back to a longer shot, the car is again a ragtop. See more »

Quotes

Sam: 'Bonanza' is not an accurate depiction of the west.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of Barry Levinson (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Words by Hal David
Music by Burt Bacharach
Performed by Gene Pitney
Arranged by Chuck Sagle (uncredited)
Courtesy of CBS Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
...if they only had a heart
8 January 2011 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

Barry Levinson's attractively lopsided comedy marked his tentative return to Earth (to be more specific, the city of Baltimore circa 1963) after serving time on the Steven Spielberg assembly line (in 'Young Sherlock Holmes'). The idea of a film depicting the cutthroat antagonism between two aluminum siding salesmen must have been alarming to the people at Touchstone Pictures, who no doubt insisted on certain commercial concessions, including a strictly gratuitous appearance by the pop group Fine Young Cannibals (out of place in the early '60s setting), and the casting of two high-profile names in the title roles (an allusion to the heartless hero of Oz). Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss portray the disreputable rival salesmen who become mortal enemies after a minor fender bender dings their new Cadillacs. Both are reliable comic talents, but the highlights of the film are the lengthy digressions from the plot, with a (largely unknown) cast of supporting actors improvising loopy, crisscrossing conversation over coffee and donuts. Despite the effort Levinson may have put into his screenplay it's the unscripted banter that leaves the best impression, winning points for unpredictability in an original but otherwise uneven comedy.


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