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The Rat Pack (1998)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Liotta ... Frank Sinatra
Joe Mantegna ... Dean Martin
Don Cheadle ... Sammy Davis, Jr.
Angus Macfadyen ... Peter Lawford
William Petersen ... John F. Kennedy
Zeljko Ivanek ... Bobby Kennedy
Bobby Slayton ... Joey Bishop
Megan Dodds ... May Britt
Deborah Kara Unger ... Ava Gardner
Veronica Cartwright ... Rocky Cooper
Dan O'Herlihy ... Joe Kennedy
Robert Miranda Robert Miranda ... Momo Giancana
Barbara Niven ... Marilyn Monroe
Michelle Grace Michelle Grace ... Judy Campbell
Tyrees Allen ... George Jacobs
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Storyline

In the 1950s and 1960s Frank Sinatra was the head of the infamous "Rat Pack". He, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop worked and played together. This film dramatizes their volatile relationships with each other and the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, mobster Sam Giancana, Judith Campbell Exner and the FBI. Sinatra helps John F. Kennedy get elected in 1960 with a little help from Giancana. Lawford, married to a Kennedy, is an unhappy go-between. Davis is fighting racism and insecurity. Campbell is sleeping with both Giancana and JFK who is also sleeping with Monroe. Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@keyflux.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It was their world. We just lived in it. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rat Pack See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

HBO Films, Original Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Liotta was previously offered the role of Frank Sinatra in Sinatra (1992) but he turned it down. See more »

Goofs

Frank asks Peter how tall he is and Peter answers, "6 foot 2". Peter Lawford was 6' even. See more »

Quotes

Frank Sinatra: [as an old man] I miss my guys.
See more »


Soundtracks

Too Close for Comfort
Written by Lawrence Holofcener, Jerry Bock and George David Weiss
Performed by Gunnar Madsen
See more »

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User Reviews

Elaborate Biopic Is Enjoyable Trip Back to JFK's 'Camelot'...
14 May 2004 | by cariartSee all my reviews

There is a lot to like about "The Rat Pack", the HBO production of Frank Sinatra and his legendary cohorts during the wildly glamorous 'Camelot' days of the Kennedy administration. They were gifted, rich, and idolized, could have anything or anyone they wanted, ruled Las Vegas as demigods, and for a brief moment in history, they shared, with John Kennedy, a pinnacle that no one, before or since, has achieved.

Each performer had a clearly defined role in the 'Pack', in 1960; Joey Bishop, 42, was the 'Jester', heralding arrivals, and content with the reflected glory of the 'Pack'; Peter Lawford, 37, was the 'Ambassador', official 'go-between' for Sinatra and the Kennedys (who would swallow his pride, and accept often being little more than a glorified 'pimp' for his more successful friends); Sammy Davis Jr., 35, was the 'Pet', tiny and extraordinarily talented as a singer and dancer, yet still treated as a 'less than equal' novelty act, even by the enlightened Sinatra; and Dean Martin, 43, was the 'Crown Prince', tall, handsome and charismatic, possessing all the qualities Sinatra lacked, and completely hiding a deep-set aloofness by a quick wit and 'way cool' persona. Sinatra, 45, was, of course, the 'King', undisputed leader of the 'Pack'. Short, skinny, and balding, the middle-class kid from Hoboken, N.J. had never truly grown up; while his voice would revolutionize the music industry and make him legendary, his personal life was a continuous elevator ride of highs and lows, with an Oscar, two broken marriages, three children, and a never-ending supply of "booze and broads" masking a child-like need to be liked and accepted.

The success of the actors in 'capturing' these legends is a mixed bag. Bobby Slayton, as Bishop, is forgettable in little more than a cameo; Angus MacFadyen's Lawford is, however, very good, capturing the spirit of a man who had 'sold his soul' to both Sinatra and the Kennedys; best of all is Don Cheadle, as Sammy Davis, acutely aware of the patronizing attitude Sinatra demonstrates towards him, but too happy having his friendship to speak up.

As for Joe Mantegna and Ray Liotta...Besides sharing wavy black hair, a Roman nose, and oval head, the short, stocky Mantegna barely resembles 'Dino', but he captures the Martin 'attitude' and double life extremely well; Liotta looks even less like Sinatra, but the blocky, very powerful GOODFELLAS star is brilliant as the mercurial star, far closer in spirit to the man than Philip Casnoff, in the family 'approved' TV-movie, "Sinatra" (1992).

With flashy supporting roles by William L. Petersen, as a shallow, whoring JFK, and Deborah Unger as earthy, alcoholic pragmatist Ava Gardner, "The Rat Pack" is a 'Who's Who' of the movers and shakers of the times, easily incorporating the Mafia, Ku Klux Klan, and Marilyn Monroe, as well as the transitional 'feel' of the era, as the stodgy conservatism of the fifties was replaced by JFK's dynamic yet ultimately superficial new optimism...until November, 1963, when 'Camelot' would collapse, replaced by a far less idealistic new order, where Sinatra's 'Rat Pack' would be a passé joke.

As Montegna's 'Dean Martin' would remark, "Enjoy the ride while it lasts, because nothing lasts forever."

"The Rat Pack" is a GREAT ride!


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