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Big Night (1996)

Stanley Tucci , Tony Shalhoub , Stanley Tucci , Campbell Scott  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)


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Big Night (1996)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Ian Holm, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini
  • Directors: Stanley Tucci, Campbell Scott
  • Writers: Stanley Tucci, Joseph Tropiano
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767802535
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,916 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Big Night" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Critics tripped all over their big feet to praise Big Night, and in doing so performed a grave disservice to this fine little film. They fooled audiences into believing it was a "super movie" instead of a home movie buoyed by friends and family. Consequently, many viewers were disappointed. Big Night is an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream, set in New Jersey in the 1950s. Its disproportionate success gave co-directors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, who also star in the picture, the green light to follow up with a smug, unsuccessful second venture called The Imposters. Tucci wrote Big Night with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, and they based the story on the experience of growing up in a large, proud Italian family. The brothers in Big Night--chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Tucci)--have come to New Jersey to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. Their every move is foiled by rival restaurant Pascal's, which serves mile-high servings of spaghetti and meatballs and flasks of bad Chianti at exorbitant prices. Primo is disgusted by the fact that Americans want cheap pasta instead of risotto, so Secondo hatches a plan to boost business: rumor has it bandleader Louis Prima is travelling through and will dine at The Paradise that very night. Secondo gambles to bring the finest dinner ever cooked--at the risk of losing his shirt and being reduced to exile to the old country with his tail between his legs. Big Night is a film that will easily invite comparisons to other "food" fare like Babette's Feast and Eat Drink Man Woman but, though Tucci insists his story is "about the struggle between art and commerce and the risk of staying true to yourself," the media refused to let it stay a small, comparative work. The movie, and the buzz around it, became a parable for the essence of the film itself: art vs. commerce. --Paula Nechak

Product Description

Old World idealism clashes with American pop culture in this bittersweet comedy starring Minnie Driver, Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Tony Shalhoub, and Stanley Tucci. Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Sundance Film Festival, BIG NIGHT is the story of two brothers whose Italian restaurantis on the brink of bankruptcy. Their only chance for success is to risk everything they own on an extravagant feast for bandleader Louis Prima. But their big night is complicated by a lovers' triangle, a sneaky restaurant rival, and the hilarious perfection of chef Primo. A treat for food lovers and movie lovers everywhere.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You CAN smell the food while watching June 17, 2003
Format:DVD
This is a beautiful movie on a number of levels. As many reviewers have noted already the Italian cooking and the scenes in the kitchen will have you craving a fine Italian dinner as soon as you finish watching.
Beyond the food this is a fine film with a very touching story involving two immigrant brothers who are extremely close despite their obvious personality differences. The tension between the brothers builds as they attempt to salvage their struggling restaurant business. Primo (Tony Shalhoub)the older brother has an artistic temperment and that applies to his uncompromising approach to cooking and cuisine. His brother,Secondi(Staney Tucci), has more material ambitions and is manipulated by a competing restauratnt owner into an ill-advised attempt to publicise their restaurant by having an elaborate dinner party for singer Louie Prima. Hence the film revolves around preparations for THE BIG NIGHT.
The climax has the conflict between the brothers break out into the open and the film ends with a beautiful sequence in the kitchen where there is a silent reconcilliation.
The story is set in a New Jersey shore town in the 1950's. The period is captured beautifully with big-finned Cadilacs cruising down the main street and the women's fashions are right on the money. The soundtrack is absolutely fabulous with cuts from Rosemary Clooney, Louie Prima and some lesser known Italian recording artists.
Both Shalhoub and Tucci are excellent in thei roles and the supporting cast is very good as well.
Overall I highly reccomend both the film and the soundtrack.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a delight - but eat before you watch it March 2, 2004
By D. Wolf
Format:DVD
Eat before you watch this movie; otherwise, you'll end up painfully hungry and go stuff yourself with every bit of Italian food you can lay your hands on.
This is a simple story of two brothers struggling to fulfill their dreams - one to be a "success" in America; the other to be a great Italian chef.
Realizing the dreams of the first brother hinges on the success of one important meal depends on the skill of the second - and forces outside their control.
Tucci, Shaloub, Holm and company all give wonderful performances. There's no showing off by the many successful actors who are in this movie - they all just do a great job.
The climax of the movie is the banquet scene, and it's going to make you hungry and want to get up and dance.
The final scene which lasts for several minutes with the only dialog being one line - "are you hungry" - wraps up the movie nicely, and shows what a good director and actors can do when both understand the power of subtlety.
This is one fun movie - lots of laughs, amazing food, and a great soundtrack.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful "Little Film" -- So-So DVD May 20, 2004
Format:DVD
Stanley Tucci, as actor, co-writer, and co-director (with Campbell Scott, who also plays a pitch-perfect small part as a car salesman), deserves a great deal of the credit for this small, intimate, delightful film. But the film resonates because it got so many of the little touches right, from the ensemble cast to the soundtrack to the editing to the cinematography. So there is a lot of credit to go around.
Tucci plays Secondo, the aptly named younger of two Italian brothers who have emigrated to New Jersey from the Old Country. Secondo is the entrepreneur, the guy who wants the big Cadillac. Primo (Tony Shahloub), the older brother, is the magician of a chef. Primo is so good, in fact, that his culinary masterpieces go over the heads of the good folks of New Jersey. When contemplating a wonderful seafood risotto, a diner complains that she can't see the seafood, and that her desired side of spaghetti doesn't come with meatballs (inspiring the wonderful line, "Sometimes spaghetti wants to be alone").
Primo bemoans the fact that he is serving food to Philistines, but the sad fact is that most of the Philistines are eating across the street at Pascal's restaurant. Pascal, played with great zest by Ian Holm, knows that you have to give the customer what he wants -- even if it is culinary sacrilege. The contrasts between the restaurants, from the colors to the lighting to the clientele, could not be more staggering!
Secondo laments to Pascal of his financial woes, but refuses Pascal's (repeated) offer to come work for him. Pascal, being a big-hearted guy, tells Secondo to pull of a "big night," with no holds barred. Pascal will invite his good friend, Louis Prima, who will come, eat, and love Secondo's restaurant. Then, the people will come.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars feast of the heart August 20, 2005
Format:DVD
"Big Night" is more than just a film about food, it's about heart, brotherhood and the American Dream. Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and Secundo (Stanley Tucci) are Italian brothers struggling to make their small restaurant a success. Secondo (called "Seco" for short) is thankful to be in the United States. His English is strong and he sees America as the land of opportunity. His brother Primo is an artist with food - an amazing talent who is so passionate about food, he refers to the lackluster menu of the restaurant across the street as the "rape of cuisine." And he's not kidding when he says it, either.

Seco may have been born in Italy, but he's always been an American in his heart. He understands the culture and knows that you have to give Americans what they want. Primo is insulted by the reprobate palate of their backwards clientele and refuses to compromise.

Many plots intertwine... Seco's romance with Phyllis (Minnie Driver) contrasted with his affair with Gabriella (the stunningly gorgeous Isabella Rosellini), and the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads - the impending foreclosure of their restaurant.

Primo and Secondo have one last shot at success as an impending visit by Jazz performer Louis Prima promises to put their little piece of Italy on the map.

Ian Holm plays their nemesis, Pascal, a competing restaurateur who admires Primo's talents and has no qualms about ruining the lives of his fellow Italian-Americans in the spirit of not-so-friendly competition.

Everything hinges on the big night - where their friends and some of the local "who's who" muckety-mucks experience Primo's genius. One course after another and with sexual inuendos, those who are feasting moan in delight.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Food and people - good combination
This is a "small" movie; no explosions, car chases or shootouts. It concerns two brothers trying to keep their restaurant afloat with a last gasp Big Night when Louie Prima... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mick Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great acting, great music and all around enjoyable movie
Great movie with a lot of heart. I have watched it many times! Great characters that make me laugh and cry ! Love the soundtrack
Published 11 days ago by G. Rogers
3.0 out of 5 stars Big NIGHT
Kind of slow, parts are funny, not bad for an old school movie.
Published 15 days ago by Shelley J. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanley Tucci did a brilliant job revealing the humanity
One of the gems. Stanley Tucci did a brilliant job revealing the humanity, the farce the onslaught of life, family, passion- the writing, direction, acting, cast - are a joy.
Published 16 days ago by Rosalind Greene
3.0 out of 5 stars A very sweet film with the greatest food ever
A very sweet film with the greatest food ever. I watch just to get ideas for dinner! You will enjoy the cast of characters and will be pleasantly surprised at how many big name... Read more
Published 18 days ago by tigerlily723
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoyed this movie very much. I love movies about chefs. Especially Italian! Lovee it.
Published 19 days ago by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
A bit too emotional and frustrating with overstrung characters. Lovely in some ways. Worth a watch with a bottle of wine and a nice finger food for the mood.
Published 28 days ago by carol hitchie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love this movie. great story.great cast.
Published 1 month ago by Jeanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend
Excellent movie would recommend for anyone who loves too cook or is interested in culinary arts. Great detail of how immigrants struggled to get started in America.
Published 1 month ago by Ryan Bishop
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing big night
The characters were well played but I didn't find the movie "engaging". A couple of "side plots" were not well developed and appear to enter almost my accident.
Published 1 month ago by G. Goldstein
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