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Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 30 June 1989 (USA)
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The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director:

Jim McBride

Writers:

Myra Lewis (book), Murray Silver Jr. (book) (as Murray Silver) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Quaid ... Jerry Lee Lewis
Winona Ryder ... Myra Gale Brown
John Doe ... J.W. Brown
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Jud Phillips
Trey Wilson ... Sam Phillips
Alec Baldwin ... Jimmy Swaggart
Steve Allen ... Himself
Lisa Blount ... Lois Brown
Joshua Sheffield Joshua Sheffield ... Rusty Brown
Mojo Nixon Mojo Nixon ... James Van Eaton
Jimmie Vaughan ... Roland Janes
David Ferguson David Ferguson ... Jack Clement
Robert Lesser ... Alan Freed
Lisa Jane Persky ... Babe
Paula Person Paula Person ... Sam's Secratary
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Storyline

The story of Jerry Lee Lewis, arguably the greatest and certainly one of the wildest musicians of the 1950s. His arrogance, remarkable talent, and unconventional lifestyle often brought him into conflict with others in the industry, and even earned him the scorn and condemnation of the public. In 1956, Louisiana bad boy Jerry Lee Lewis moves to Memphis, determined to dethrone Elvis Presley with his ferocious, God-given talent. When Jerry Lee bangs out the chorus with his feet, huge fans howl out for more. When he finishes his performance by setting his piano ablaze, they mob the stage. But when he marries his 13-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown...the scandal nearly destroys the Killer's career. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a legend. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Great Balls of Fire! See more »

Filming Locations:

Somerville, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,807,986, 2 July 1989

Gross USA:

$13,741,060

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,741,060
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The song "Great Balls of Fire" in the soundtrack has an extra, extended piano solo which builds up to a vocal climax missing from the original Sun record version. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Jerry is picking Myra up at school, while singing "High School Confidential", she had a red ribbon in her hair. But in the next scene, which is supposed to be right after he's picked her up, the ribbon in her hair is grey with trombones on. See more »

Quotes

Myra Gale Brown: I don't even know what hydrogen is.
See more »


Soundtracks

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Written by Johnny Marks
Performed by Joe Nettles
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shake My Nerves, Rattle My Brains
21 March 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Great Balls Of Fire is the title song of the greatest hit by legendary rock and roller Jerry Lee Lewis who couldn't quite handle the sudden fame and wealth thrust into his hands. It serves as a singularly appropriate title for a film about his life.

Jerry Lee is played by Dennis Quaid and the role is quite a stretch for him. I'm used to seeing an older and more mature Quaid in films like Swimmer and The Express. Still he does do very well capturing the essence of Lewis as I remember him as a lad.

The key to understanding Jerry Lee Lewis is in remembering that what he did in marrying those child brides was quite normal behavior from where he came from. Young girls in the more rural sections of the south frequently got married at 13 to 15 and the success rate wasn't any better or worse than in the more sophisticated parts of the country. I do well remember the scandalous stories back in the late Fifties that put a halt to Lewis's meteoric career.

Lewis came back and of course never got quite the same success, but music trends change in any event. He's still doing well on the nostalgic circuit, playing more for the love of it than the need for money. Playing that honky tonk piano and singing meant more to him than the trappings of success.

Winona Ryder got a big break in her career playing Lewis's notorious child bride Myra. Interestingly enough at the same time Lewis's stories were in the news, Errol Flynn at 48 escorting young adolescent Beverly Aadland was also making headlines. And Flynn was still married to Patrice Wymore.

Great Balls Of Fire is a good film, but really without an ending because Jerry Lee is still making music. May he continue to make it.


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