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Promised Land (1987)

This gritty drama follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film ... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Hoffman

Writer:

Michael Hoffman
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Gedrick ... Davey Hancock
Tracy Pollan ... Mary Daley
Kiefer Sutherland ... Danny 'Senator' Rivers
Meg Ryan ... Beverly 'Bev' Sykes
Googy Gress ... Baines
Deborah Richter ... Pammie
Oscar Rowland ... Mr. Rivers
Sandra Seacat ... Mrs. Rivers
Jay Underwood ... Circle K Clerk
Herta Ware Herta Ware ... Mrs. Higgins
Logan Field Logan Field ... High School Coach (as Walt Logan Field)
Kelly Ausland Kelly Ausland ... Schroeder / Ashville Basketball Player #1
Todd Anderson Todd Anderson ... Pat Rivers
Dave Valenza Dave Valenza ... Glenn
Theron Read Theron Read ... Harting
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Storyline

This gritty drama follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film Festival, it portrays the other half of the American dream, as Hancock and his cheerleader girlfriend Mary wander to a middle-class mediocrity out itself out of reach for Danny and his psychotic wife Bev. Written by Owen F. Lipsett <lipsetto@tcd.ie>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Young Hearts See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$316,199
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

Referenced in Lawernce Kasdan's "Dream Catcher." See more »

Quotes

[waking up the "morning after"]
Bev: Where's the cat?
Danny: What cat?
Bev: The cat that shit in my mouth.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Best Dog ... Cheetah See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dreamcatcher (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Will the Wolf Survive
Written by David Hidalgo (uncredited) and Louie Perez (uncredited)
Performed by Los Lobos
Courtesy of Slash Records/Warner Brothers Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Missing Something
25 September 2014 | by dansviewSee all my reviews

I do believe these characters: A cheerleader/good girl, a jock who is less of a jerk than most jocks, a totally ineffectual loser, and a trashy drifter floozy. But I still need to hear a little more in depth dialog about why they are who they are, or what they want out of life.

Other reviewers have mentioned a couple Reagan speeches in the background or some kind of political message about disappointment in the Reagan years. I see that the "lefty" Robert Redford produced this film, but I did not pick up on the whole Reagan-bashing vibe. There is one scene where the jock throws a tantrum and says, "you lied to me," but I'm not sure to whom he was talking or referring.

I was a lost soul in the 80's, but it never occurred to me to blame Reagan. My problems were entirely a combination of genes and my own decisions. The same goes for these characters.

I couldn't stand the Meg Ryan character, and I couldn't see anything to respect or like about the Sutherland character, so during their sequences, it was more like a documentary about losers. I felt no sympathy. Those two are so off-putting and ugly,they ruin the whole film.

What I did like was the gorgeous scenery and the accurate portrayal of the angst of small town youth. Growing up is scary and there's no place like home. The characters conveyed this well.

Why make it in Utah? I know that Redford lives there, but wouldn't you have to include some references to Mormonism? There was a steelmaker union sign on the main street. Were there steel mills in Utah back in the day? It was supposed to represent a generic working class small town, but nothing in Utah is generic. It's a unique place.

Tracy Pollan is five years older than Jason Gedrick and Meg Ryan is several years older than Keifer Sutherland. But I can't say that I really noticed that. I do think they were weird casting choices. A Jewish girl from Long Island as a small town Utah cheerleader? A Connecticut beauty queen type as a thief and a whore? I have faith that the jock and cheerleader will make a nice couple. She clearly has no direction in college and will find something worthwhile to do back home. He will continue as a cop. They will have a double income and produce a nice middle class life amongst their friends and family. What else is there anyways?

One thing though: Another reviewer mentioned that they should have made more than two years pass by. I agree,because two years is nothing. 20 years old is not the time to panic about your future. You can always go back to school or work for a while. Nothing at 20 needs to be forever.

The film may have made much better sense if they were all 25.


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