6.5/10
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Tin Men (1987)

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:

Les filous 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

Actor Michael Tucker played the same character of Bagel that he had portrayed in Barry Levinson's earlier film Diner (1982) around five years earlier. See more »

Goofs

In this Baltimore-based story, during a scene in the bar, there is a Busch promotional light on the wall. The movie is set in the 1960s, but Busch beer was not licensed for sale in Maryland until the late 1970s. See more »

Quotes

Sam: You notice Little Joe never says "Hey Pa, I'm gonna go into town to get a piece of ass"?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Life's Too Short
Written by Phil Huth and Lee Bonner
Performed by The Lafayettes
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

'Tin Men' is the most underrated comedy in film history!
29 October 2004 | by info-3270See all my reviews

'Tin Men' is the most underrated comedy in film history. How's that for a bold statement? I'm sure you've heard of this movie. Many of you probably saw it. Then turned it off, and said, 'That was cute.' In fact, most will remember it more for launching the brief career of the Fine Young Cannibals. (A couple of their songs were featured in the film) I very well might have been one of you, if it hadn't been for my father's devotion to this film. It was because of him I saw it a half dozen times growing up, and much like 'The Big Lebowski' and 'Sherlock Jr.', the more I saw this film, the more I fell in love with it. 'Tin Men' is about two aluminum siding salesmen (working for competing companies) who get into a car accident, and both believing the other is to blame, decide to get revenge on one another. Richard Dreyfuss and Danny Devito (two of the more underrated actors around) deliver some of the funniest scenes you'll ever see. Things get complicated when Dreyfuss attempts to infuriate Devito by sleeping with his wife, only to fall in love with her. DeVito plays an emotional and financial disaster, struggling to keep his head above water, while tidal waves are crashing down all around him. (And does so, with the efficiency of a Third World sweatshop) Dreyfuss, a slick, fast- talking 'nickel and dime' hustler, whose ideas about life and love change when he discovers the truth about himself and his business through his own vindictive behavior. If you actors out there are wondering how to play 'quiet desperation' funny, rent this movie. 'Tin Men' uses a clever vernacular. Including several seemingly unnecessary dialogue driven scenes done way before dialogue driven scenes became commonplace. (See, Pulp Fiction 1994, and pretty much every movie to follow) With topics ranging from 'Bonanza' not being an accurate depiction of the West, to finding God at the smorgasborg. It also displays a devotion to detail, unparralleled by any big-budget movie of today. Everything feels real. The people, the conversation, the decor, everything.

When I watched this movie again recently I came up with an hypothesis regarding its lack of real success, or longevity. It's quite simple, and when you first say it, feels lame. But the more I think about it, I believe it may be true: Like most great movies that are under-appreciated, they aren't trying to impress us. They don't have to.


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