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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. 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

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

Murray Silver, Jr. and Myra Lewis sold the film rights to the book for $115,000 plus a share of the profits. The two were supposed to serve as Script Consultants, but after the rights were sold three times, Director Jim McBride and Producer Adam Fields decided to put some distance between the film crew and their real-life counterparts. 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

Jerry Lee: England can kiss my ass!
See more »

Connections

Features Cold Turkey (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

High School Confidential
Written by Ron Hargrave (as Ron Hargreave) and Jerry Lee Lewis
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quaid Plays a Monkey with a Nervous Disorder as Film Dies
25 August 2005 | by Dale HoustmanSee all my reviews

I haven't seen this film in years, but the awful "taste" of Quaid's performance still lingers on my tongue. Some have commented on how Quaid has Jerry Lee Lewis "to a tee" but the fact is he only appears to have the most extreme stage Jerry in mind. Nobody acts that way all the time, and the performance comes off as hopelessly clownish, reducing Lewis to a buffoonish caricature. The nuances of a man's life are lost in the rubble of sheer over-acting.

The author of the book this is based on (Nick Tosches) is a good writer, who has written several fine musical bios (I particularly liked "Dino" on Dean Martin); in the books Tosches gives us a full human being, both separate from and involved in the "biz." Quaid's acting seems to imply that Jerry never acted like a human being. If people were like this, no one would bother to hang around them. As cartoons go, it is mildly amusing, but otherwise it is one of the most egregious, film-destroying performances I have had the "honor" of viewing. Terrible...


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