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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 »
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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:

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 »
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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

Sean Penn was considered for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

When Jerry comes off the plane from New York, there's a lot of girls gathering around. One of them kisses his cheek right by the ear, but in the next shot the mark after the lipstick is far nearer his mouth. See more »

Quotes

Jerry Lee Lewis: I shine like GOLD when I play... I shine like GOLD!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Rocket 88
Written and Performed by Jackie Brenston
Courtesy of Sun Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Good & Bad Of 'Great Balls Of Fire'
27 September 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Being a fan of Jerry Lee Lewis since he began rockin' way back in the 1950s, this movie is a bit of a disappointment overall. The "bad" outweighs the "good" in here, story-wise.

GOOD - The music - naturally! There is some great music in here, featuring Dennis Quaid as the entertaining rockabilly-rock-country singer who surely will go down as the one of the great entertainers of his generation. Quaid lip-syncs the songs, but that okay. They sound better with Lewis doing the singing. The movie is colorful, entertaining and fast-moving. Wynona Ryder looks really cute, too.

BAD - There is a little bit too much emphasis on Lewis' brother, Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin) and, of course, they make him look like some fanatical religious preacher. Hey, I'm not a "charismatic" follower but there was an obvious bias in here and it wasn't necessary. Also, the writers actually made Lewis look a sympathetic victim for the criticism he got marrying his 13-year-old cousin! Only in the film-making world do we see poor morals given the thumbs-up. Sorry, Jerry Lee, but marrying your 13-year-old cousin warrants a bit of criticism! I later discovered this movie was based on a book by that the same "girl," so it's no wonder it makes that relationship look "legitimate."

The ending was not appropriate, either. Most of the characters in this film were exaggerated to the degree that they all look cartoonish. This movie could have been so much better with a more objective look at Jerry Lee's life and people in it.


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