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Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 30 June 1989 (USA)
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1:08 | Trailer

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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 »
Reviews
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 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:

Jerry Lee Lewis. His music rocked the nation. His story shocked the world. 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

Gross USA:

$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

Martin Scorsese was going to make a Jerry Lee Lewis biopic starring Robert De Niro at one point. 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

Jimmy Swaggart: Thank you Jesus!
Jerry Lee Lewis: Well don't thank Jesus, thank Jerry Lee Lewis.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Muppets Tonight: Dennis Quaid (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Crazy Arms
Written by Ralph Mooney and Chuck Seals (as Charles Seals)
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

Dennis channels Jerry Lee
27 May 2003 | by Zen BonesSee all my reviews

From some of the reviews here, I get the feeling many viewers of this film have never seen a Jerry Lee Lewis performance, much less have ever seen him offstage. Well, I can tell you, Dennis Quaid has the man down to pitch perfect. But it isn't just a great impersonation. Beneath every nuance and gesture is the frenzied heart and mind that probably would never have been able to function outside of the venue of rock and roll. Jerry Lee was the white man's Little Richard. He had rock and roll in his blood and he was BORN outrageous! He also made Elvis Presley look like a wind-up doll. `Great Balls of Fire' captures the essence of Jerry Lee's music, especially in the ‘musical' scene with the kids outside the high school. Rock and Roll breaks the rules, so why not have a film that breaks the rules by throwing in a musical number that obviously has no backup band? Those who have seen the high school rock and roll movies like `High School Confidential' and `Rock Rock Rock' will appreciate this spirited ode to them. Winona Ryder does a pretty good job for Winona Ryder, and it's fun to see John Doe (of the L.A. punk band `X') playing the somewhat stymied father of little Myra Gale. This film is not a biopic, it's a rock and roll movie, which is what the King of rock and roll (as far as I'm concerned) deserves. Is he a bad, bad man for marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin? Is it anyone's business? The marriage lasted longer then most marriages these days do. Even if it hadn't, I think people can be capable of respecting the artist and his music even if that artist's lifestyle offends them. That's this film's point of view, so no doubt, there will be viewers who will take offense. But to set the record straight, the whole world did not turn their back on Jerry Lee when the news got out about his marriage to his cousin. There were thousands of fans who actually embraced him more BECAUSE their parents and authorities hated him. And then there were just the fans (like myself) who will always love his music and audacious energy at the piano, and have decided to leave judgment of his personal life to whatever entity is in charge of such things.


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