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

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

James Brown in 1954/55 was not a headliner, and he didn't record and release "Please Please Please" with a great deal of planning - it was cut with a single mike in a very haphazard way. See more »

Quotes

[after Trey has crashed his car]
Ted: This is very unfortunate.
Trey Tobelseted: You know, it's obvious the smiling pumpkins distracted me.
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 Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse: Marty (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Please, Please, Please
Written by James Brown & Johnny Terry
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Polydor Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Nostalgia, many plot threads and evocative
9 June 2001 | by wisewebwomanSee all my reviews

This movie is challenging on many levels and best of all is it does not insult the viewer's intelligence with pat plot lines and easy resolutions. It is very much a slice of life movie and provokes serious thought about growing up and the meaning of prejudice and racial barriers. It is a lovely film and I have resolved to see some other efforts from Barry Levinson as his is a rare talent. He lovingly captures Baltimore in the fifties in all its facets of neighbourhoods, the cast is stellar, not a false note among them, the music is wonderful and all the plot lines come together. I felt sad that it was over, I found myself quite involved with the characters who were multi dimensional with teasing snippets of background as in the disturbed Dubbie saying to Van she did not like spending time with her father and his boyfriend. And Sylvia's family being black and wealthiest by far than the others and she was following her mother and grandmother into a Black College so she could preserve the continuance. 8 out of 10. Recommended.


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