7 user 3 critic

Special When Lit (2009)

What made more money than the entire American movie industry through the 50s and 60s? Pinball. Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon. A product of the mechanical and ... See full summary »


Brett Sullivan


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Credited cast:
Roger Sharpe Roger Sharpe ... Self
Rick Stetta Rick Stetta ... Self
Sam Harvey Sam Harvey ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tim Arnold Tim Arnold ... Self
John Broughton John Broughton ... Self
Steve Epstein Steve Epstein ... Self
Josh Pingeek Kaplan Josh Pingeek Kaplan ... Self
Pat Lawlor Pat Lawlor ... Self
Lyman Sheats Lyman Sheats ... Self
Gary Stern Gary Stern ... Self


What made more money than the entire American movie industry through the 50s and 60s? Pinball. Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon. A product of the mechanical and electrical age, the American invention swept the world and defined cool. Now it is relegated to a nostalgic footnote deserving a better fate. Joining the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe who share a world many of us didn't know still existed. Written by BSullivan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pinball | icon | flipper | See All (3) »


Rediscover a lost icon





Did You Know?


Koi Morris can be seen briefly in Ecstacy of Order: The Tetris Masters, at the 5:00 mark, standing next to Ben Mullen. See more »


References Dance Dance Revolution (1998) See more »

User Reviews

The one genre of film that has gotten better in quality over time...
9 November 2019 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... that being the documentary. I stumbled across this documentary about pinball machines. As a big fan of pinball machines, I know a fair bit about them, witnessing their evolution the past 40 years.

This documentary illustrated their historic beginnings and the inner workings of their conception, design and marketing. Several points were brought up that I did not know: Pinball Machines were considered gambling and were banned in all US states at one time! Only in the 50's did they start trickling into acceptance as "entertainment only" citing the flippers made it a "game of skill". By the mid 70's, pinballs were common throughout the US.

It stated 90% of machines built prior were shipped to Europe. Who knew? Obviously the filmmakers, since this is a British documentary. The pinball industry made more money than the film industry in the US between 1950-1970!

The documentary visits the only remaining manufacturer of these machines and discusses their design, psychology and shows they are all built by hand. It also profiles fans & players, a National competition, and a NYC Arcade owner-all great interviews that flesh out many aspects of pinball's appeal.

I was impressed with the clever closing credits of digital style framing & lettering, indicative of new "digital" pinballs. It's a clever bookend to the opening credits featuring old style artwork. Highly recommended.

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Release Date:

17 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia See more »


Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Steam Motion and Sound See more »
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