In 1950s New York, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.

Director:

Edward Norton

Writers:

Edward Norton (written for the screen by), Jonathan Lethem (from the novel by)
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Popularity
2,057 ( 153)
2 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Norton ... Lionel Essrog
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Laura Rose
Alec Baldwin ... Moses Randolph
Willem Dafoe ... Paul Randolph
Bruce Willis ... Frank Minna
Ethan Suplee ... Gilbert Coney
Cherry Jones ... Gabby Horowitz
Bobby Cannavale ... Tony Vermonte
Dallas Roberts ... Danny Fantl
Josh Pais ... William Lieberman
Radu Spinghel Radu Spinghel ... Giant Man
Fisher Stevens ... Lou
Peter Gray Lewis ... Mayor (as Peter Lewis)
Robert Wisdom ... Billy Rose (as Robert Ray Wisdom)
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Trumpet Man
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Storyline

Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, "Motherless Brooklyn" follows Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he ventures to solve his friend's murder. Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance. Written by Warner Bros.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout including some sexual references, brief drug use, and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gabby Horowitz appears to be loosely based, even down to the 'grandma glasses,' on activist Jane Jacobs who battled Robert Moses over slum clearance in Greenwich Village. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, the black car driven by the detectives is a Plymouth. Then it is a Dodge. Then it is a Plymouth again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lionel Essrog: [narrating] Frank always used to say, "Tell your story walkin', pal." He was more philosophical than your average gumshoe, but he liked to do his talkin' on the move, so here's how it all went down. I got somethin' wrong with my head. That's the first thing to know.
Lionel Essrog: [real life] If!
Lionel Essrog: [narrating] It's like having glass in the brain. I can't stop pickin' things apart... twistin' 'em around, reassembling 'em. Words and sounds, especially. It's like an itch that has to be scratched.
Gilbert Coney: [...]
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Crazy Credits

Shauna Lyn... this is yours as much as mine. See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Tune for Lester
Written by Dante Panzuti and Attilio Donadio
Courtesy of APM Music
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User Reviews

 
Gorgeous depiction of '50's New York in color & music despite dense plot.
4 November 2019 | by tlooknbillSee all my reviews

If you couldn't keep up with Chinatown's and LA Confidential's plot and continuous placing and connecting of characters' names associated with civic and political corruption then Motherless Brooklyn will have you drowning in it.

That's why I give it a seven rating. It's almost 2 1/2 hours of figuring out what's going on and who's doing it, but at least the look and sound of the movie provides a huge respite with the best sounding Bee Bop jazz and lush background theme soundtrack I've ever heard in a movie.

As a photographer I thought the cinematography was stunning in color and composition, less film noir and more '50's style New York street Kodachrome photography with compositions of odd reflections and angles interspersed smoothly with the flow of the narrative master shots in a style similar to Winogrand and Vivian Maier.

The variety of vintage '50's automobiles in pristine and brand new condition with the rich look of Kodachrome color is another treat. The sound of the rattle of car doors slamming is even accurate.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Motherless Brooklyn See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,500,454, 3 November 2019

Gross USA:

$9,277,736

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,477,736
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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