7.0/10
6,397
65 user 66 critic

Liberty Heights (1999)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
Baltimore, Fall 1954: Schools implement the new integration law. Ben finds the "colored" girl in his class cute - upsetting his Jewish mom and granny. Ben talks to her while his brother looks for his WASP dream girl.

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writer:

Barry Levinson
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to 'Barry Levinson', this film came out of a derogatory comment about Dustin Hoffman's character in Sphere (1998). The critic's comment got Levinson thinking about his experiences growing up in Baltimore, and Liberty Heights was born. See more »

Goofs

The toilet seat in the hotel room: down, then up, then down again just when she runs to it to vomit. See more »

Quotes

Ben Kurtzman: By the way, where's the jawbone of the ass?
Ada Kurtzman: What?
Ben Kurtzman: The jawbone of the ass, where is it?
Grandma Rose: Is he crazy? What kind of talk is this?
Van Kurtzman: [walks in] Your ass does not have a jawbone.
Ben Kurtzman: Well, Samson slew the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass!
Ada Kurtzman: Not your ass, an animal!
Ben Kurtzman: [shocked] There's an animal called an "ass"?
Grandma Rose: [frowning] Such a mouth...
Ben Kurtzman: Look, I loved 'Samson and Delilah'. I hope they bring that movie back.
[...]
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Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of Barry Levinson (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Gaiety Drummer
Written by Curt Sobel & Gary Schreiner
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User Reviews

 
A great look into American culture and history
6 November 2003 | by bsincSee all my reviews

I found "Liberty Heights" an immensely entertaining movie which shows great talent, especially actor-wise. The movie is a great portrayal of how things looked like in America in the 50's, showing religious, racial, social and other differences and also showing how these differences can easily be overcome once a person realizes(or as was the case in this movie-doesn't even consider) that different only and always means worse. Ben Foster steals the show from the first scene and Adrien Brody is in close second place. And because they had such screen persona, or power if you will, I found if distracting and a bit out of place when at the end the story shifted too much to Joe Mantegna, their movie father. I have much respect for the man, he's an immense and always fun-to-watch actor, but in this movie it was him that was overshadowed, which is ironic since HE was the one who usually did this. A great, lightheaded growing-up movie that begins and ends with a nostalgic note, once again making me wish I'd have a chance to live in that day and age. Much praise to Barry Levinson for composing "Liberty Heights". 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

Liberty Heights See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$95,247, 21 November 1999

Gross USA:

$3,736,868

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,736,868
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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