7.0/10
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65 user 65 critic

Liberty Heights (1999)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
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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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

In Nate Kurtzman's office, Little Melvin refers to someone as the "Pillsbury Jew-boy," a slur obviously derived from the Pillsbury Doughboy. But Pillsbury's famous advertising icon didn't appear until 1965. See more »

Quotes

Guy: So where are you from?
Alan Joseph Zuckerman: Forest Park.
Guy: [surprised] Forest Park?
Alan Joseph Zuckerman: Yeah, off Liberty Heights.
Guy: That's, uh, Jewish, right?
Alan Joseph Zuckerman: [nervous pause] Damn near, yeah... Seems, uh, more's moving in too, y'know? So it's really... it's really getting that way.
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 Milton Berle Show (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Mama's Rag
Written by Curt Sobel & Gary Schreiner
See more »

User Reviews

 
Real story w/real people
12 August 2002 | by SamRagSee all my reviews

From time to time one comes across remarkable films like Liberty Heights where simple story is told in extraordinary manner. This film is about the Jewish Kurtzman family, but we follow the father and his two sons as three separate stories. Each one of them having their own struggle and challenges to face. What struck me as the most amazing part of the story was the easiness of it, how it flowed and gently tackled serious issues in the community of that time. It portrait itself in a realistic manner, where there were no real baddies or large showdown, just people going through life. The performance of the actors was brilliant, with Joe Mantegna (the father), showing once more what a talent he is. This film won't leave anyone untouched. 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

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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