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Mikey & Nicky


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Editorial Reviews

From Elaine May, director of The Heartbreak Kid, comes Mikey & Nicky, a compelling crime thriller with a powerhouse cast, including John Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby, The Killers), Peter Falk (TV’s Columbo) and Ned Beatty (Deliverance, Cookie’s Fortune). Nicky (Cassavetes) has embezzled a fortune from his Mafia bosses and is on the run. Nicky’s only friend, Mikey (Falk) tries to help him escape; or will he lead him into a trap? Shot in a gritty, improvisational style, Mikey & Nicky is one of the most original and riveting crime films of the 1970s.

Special Features

  • Interview with producer Michael Hausman
  • Interview with cinematographer Victor J. Kemper
  • Behind-the-scenes documentary about the restoration of Mikey & Nicky

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty, Rose Arrick, Carol Grace
  • Directors: Elaine May
  • Writers: Elaine May
  • Producers: Bud Austin, Michael Hausman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: 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: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GVI4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,667 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mikey & Nicky" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on May 10, 2005
Format: DVD
"Mikey and Nicky" is a lost treasure, one of those gems that slip through the cracks when a big studio doesn't know what do to with a film that they think isn't "commercial" enough. Director Elaine May shot 1.5 million feet of film ("Gone With The Wind" took only 500,000 feet) and spent over two years tinkering with it before an exasperated Paramount Pictures took it away from her and dumped it into theaters in a butchered version in 1977. A completed. smoothly edited version wouldn't be available until the early '80's and this is the film that is now on DVD.

The film stars Peter Falk and John Cassavetes as two middle-aged gangsters. Nicky (Cassavetes) has stolen a lot of money from his employers and is on the run from a blustery, not-too-bright contract killer (Ned Beatty). A frantic Nicky calls Mikey (Falk), his friend from childhood, for help. Critics have noticed that this film seems almost a parody of Cassavetes' own directed films like "Faces" and "A Woman Under The Influence", and "Mikey and Nicky" does have a sort of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" improv feel to it. But a couple of viewings will reveal a careful structure to the screenplay. Different layers of these wiseguys' characters are gradually and surprisingly revealed until we get an almost literary, rounded understanding of them. Indeed, May is said to have started working on this as a play in the 1950's, and it does help to think of it as a theater piece that thrives on the action of language. (Although it is marvelously cinematic; as the two stumble through their long night together we get a terrific sense of the grungy 1970's urban landscape, so different from the clean, well-lighted convenience stores and mutiplexes of today.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on January 18, 2005
Format: DVD
This is a truly startling piece of cinema, considering it was directed by Elaine May, half the Nichols-May comedy duo and director of the biting comedies A New Leaf (sadly unavailable on DVD...or even VHS) and The Heartbreak Kid. Mikey and Nicky is unlike any other of May's films and, in fact, unlike any other American crime film, with one possible exception. And that exception is John Cassevetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.

The similarity is seen in the same jarring cinema verite-like style on display. The constant close shots of what the two main characters do throws us right into their problems, their anguish, their mental manipulations. The often sounds-like-it-was-improvised dialogue was, in fact, not improvised--but the two actors playing the title characters, John Cassevetes and Peter Falk, did a lot of improvising while the film was originally being shot. Almost none of it was used, but watching this film, you can't tell that; it feels like they're the actual characters who could say anything based on who these characters are, rather than actors portraying the characters. Brilliant acting.

Cassevetes is a unique talent whose films are unlike any others in American cinema and these no doubt provided the impetus for May's technique here; her inspiration was strong enough to cast Cassevetes himself as well as one of his regulars, Falk, as the two leads. These two play off each other so well it is impossible to stop the film and go to the fridge for a beer.

They're both criminals, close to the bottom of the totem pole for that era--mid 70s (this was actually released in 1977). Nicky (Cassevetes) has made off with a chunk of loot from his bosses and Mikey (Falk), his friend, comes to Nicky's hotel room when Nicky phones him to come and help him out.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D.B. on January 15, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Mikey and Nicky is possibly my favorite film. I've introduced many people to it (by force) and i don't think a single one has afterward not put the film on their top 5 list. Elaine May wrote and directed this but Cassavetes' influence is everywhere. That isn't to take anything away from May who has demonstrated her genius in so many genres. this film, however, almost cost her a career. the studio was outraged at the stark realism and 'artistic nature' of the movie and blacklisted May for years afterwards and tried to bury the film. Peter Falk and John Cassavetes are astonishing, strange and beautiful in this work of art.
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Format: DVD
It's interesting what having a film on your radar so long can do both to your own appreciation of it, and to your perception of it as an artifact. I knew this wasn't a TAXI DRIVER or STAR WARS (to name just a couple of popular examples released around the same time) in terms of its popularity, cultural impact or reputation, but for some reason through my own knowledge of it and being reminded of it regularly I had the impression that it was a better-known, more seen film than it actually is. As it happens, the film has less than half as many votes on the IMDb as May's earlier two films, A NEW LEAF and THE HEARTBREAK KID, and only a fraction of the number of reviews. Her well-publicized box-office bomb ISHTAR is much, much better known and more frequently seen. And star John Cassavetes' film THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, which offers some interesting points of comparison and was released in the same year - also has many times as many votes and reviews on that film site, and on this one. One can't blame lack of availability either - it's been on DVD since 2004.

Why the obscurity then? The stories of the film's troubled production and even more troubled editing are well-known and appear in almost every lengthy later review or account of the film - so I'm not going to go into detail. Suffice it to say that though the budget remained modest even by 1976 standards (just over $4 million), the shoot went long and May's methods were called into question by her producer, cinematographer and seemingly most of the people on the crew. Roughly 1.4 million feet of film were exposed (three times as much as the much-larger-scaled GONE WITH THE WIND used) and May's tinkering with the editing took so long that she was eventually forced to put out an unsatisfactory cut to get it released at all.
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