7.1/10
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Liberty Heights (1999)

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Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and ... See full summary »

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writer:

Barry Levinson
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrien Brody ... Van Kurtzman
Ben Foster ... Ben Kurtzman
Orlando Jones ... Little Melvin
Bebe Neuwirth ... Ada Kurtzman
Joe Mantegna ... Nate Kurtzman
Rebekah Johnson ... Sylvia
David Krumholtz ... Yussel
Richard Kline ... Charlie, Nate's Assistant
Vincent Guastaferro ... Pete, Nate's Assistant
Justin Chambers ... Trey Tobelseted
Carolyn Murphy ... Dubbie the Blonde
James Pickens Jr. ... Sylvia's Father
Frania Rubinek Frania Rubinek ... Grandma Rose
Anthony Anderson ... Scribbles
Kiersten Warren ... Annie the Stripper
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Storyline

Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and rock and roll is pushing the Four Lads off the Hit Parade. Ben, a high school senior, and his older brother Van are exploring "the other": in Ben's case, it's friendship with Sylvia, a Black student; with Van, it's a party in the WASP part of town and falling for a debutante, Dubbie. Sylvia gives Ben tickets to a James Brown concert; Dubbie invites Van to a motel: new worlds open. Meanwhile, their dad Nate, who runs a numbers game, loses big to a small-time pusher, Little Melvin; a partnership ensues. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're only young once, but you remember forever.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for crude language and sex-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Yiddish

Release Date:

31 December 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dometi slobode See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,247, 21 November 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,732,398, 2 April 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Director Barry Levinson wanted someone with a Grace Kelly appeal to play the role of Dubbie the Blonde. Model Carolyn Murphy was cast, although she was ironically dubbed "The Blond Haired Gene Tierney" by Elle. She auditioned for the role after her agent encouraged her to do so, and unlike many other models turned actresses, she was praised for her work. See more »

Goofs

The film takes place in 1954, but the melody of "Bayom Hahu," which the Cantor sings during the Rosh Hashanah services, was written by Michael Isaacson in the mid-1980s. See more »

Quotes

Ada Kurtzman: How are the coloureds doing at school?
Ben Kurtzman: Okay, they're doing okay. They're getting better grades than I am. The girl's pretty attractive.
Ada Kurtzman: What?
Ben Kurtzman: ...She's attractive.
Ada Kurtzman: [angrily] Oh, just kill me now! Just kill me now!
Ben Kurtzman: What are you talking about...
Ada Kurtzman: What do you mean "she's attractive"?
Ben Kurtzman: Pretty.
Ada Kurtzman: Oh my God...
Ben Kurtzman: Mom, I said she was attractive, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm attracted to her!
See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD release has a "music-only" version of the film with no dialogue and only music and score. See more »

Connections

References The Case of the Black Cat (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Shake Rattle and Roll
Written by Charles F. Calhoun (as Charles Calhoun)
Performed by Big Joe Turner
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Reality at its Best
4 December 2002 | by ladder2thestarsSee all my reviews

This movie is sort of like the concept of the TV show Seinfeld-- it's about nothing. By this I don't mean that it lacks substance, in fact, it has plenty, but I mean rather that it does not involve an intense plot line. It's more like a series of snapshots taken out of one family's album, like a brief recording of one year in their lives. It's as if these people were real, simply going about their lives in their times, and we got to peek in on them, and it is acted in just that way. I think it's very true to director Barry Levinson's vision, a vision that is clear upon viewing his other films that he includes with Liberty Heights as his "Baltimore" films. These include Diner, Avalon, and Tin Men. Because this is not the typical problem arises-conflict ensues-climax is reached-conclusion is found film, Levinson shows us that these people's lives were a series of ups and downs, joys and losses, that summarize American middle-class youth in all ages in history. There connections between the different walks of life and the idea of growing up and discovering diversity around you is what makes this film universal and beautiful, all without handing you morals and themes on a silver platter. This film takes a wonderfully objective viewpoint that allows you to make meaning of it rather than spelling it out for you.


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