Pennies From Heaven 1981 R CC

Amazon Instant Video

(79) IMDb 6.5/10
Available in HD
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All-star musical follows Steve Martin as a womanizing sheet-music salesman who's married to hapless Jessica Harper but carries on an affair with a schoolteacher.

Starring:
Christopher Walken, Jessica Harper
Runtime:
1 hour 48 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Pennies From Heaven

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Product Details

Genres Musical, Drama, Romance
Director Herbert Ross
Starring Christopher Walken, Jessica Harper
Supporting actors Jessica Harper, Vernel Bagneris, John McMartin, John Karlen, Jay Garner, Robert Fitch, Tommy Rall, Eliska Krupka, Christopher Walken, Francis X. McCarthy, Raleigh Bond, Gloria LeRoy, Nancy Parsons, Toni Kaye, Shirley Kirkes, Jack Fletcher, Hunter Watkins, Arell Blanton
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Steve Martin is brilliant dancer and with Bernadette Peters ( a musical performer), they do make a nice pair.
Leo
Gordon Willis shot the film, so it is beautiful and dark; but the film remains a sad, beautiful curiosity, one that you admire more than you like.
Richard LeComte
This was just a bad idea to do this film, and honestly, there really was no way to do it well, especially in such a short running time.
Grigory's Girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By G. Murphy on February 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
should be an indication of something very special. For those expecting a happy, upbeat film reflecting the moony-spoony lyrics of the tin-pan alley song of the same name will be sorely disappointed. For those who love originality and can imagine the possibility of a singing/tap-dancing depression-era musical drama about seriously flawed people, each needing love which, even during the Great Depression, is harder to find than money... Well, maybe you get the picture.
But probably not. This film is almost impossible to describe but contains Steve Martin tapdancing through a fabulouly produced Busby Berkeley number, an amazing barroom tap dance dance number by Christopher Walken (yes, that Christopher Walken) and the title song interpreted by New Orleans performer Vernel Bagneris - a surreal elastic-body number in which it actually rains gold coins outside a seedy diner. The scene where teacher Bernadette Peters' first- grade classroom erupts into song and magically re- appear in tiny sequened tuxedos to tap dance on top their tiny desks is as surreal as it is refreshingly unexpected, like everything in this movie.
This film is brilliant. It's a thinking person's gem which juxtaposes the real world of The Great Depression with those happy-go-lucky songs of the same era that somehow helped people forget how bad things really were. This movie joyously, mischeivously, and darkly unites them. It's an amazing and truly original film. Don't miss it. .
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. Bongiorno on August 18, 2004
Format: DVD
This is a film for thinking people who love movies and aren't afraid to try something very different. The fact that this picture was made was a miracle in itself as it is almost unrelentingly grim, melancholy and dark, but so gorgeously shot, well-acted, and hauntingly scored that many will find quite a measure of joy in watching this film. The brilliant musical numbers (performed to perfection by the cast) are up to the standards of the Gingers/Rogers films of old, yet are so contrary to them thematically. Instead of the standard feel-good joi de vivre, they serve here instead to atually underscore the tragedy of the characters lives and demonstrate just how far away they are from the joyous visions the songs describe. So, if you're looking for a happy-go-lucky lightweight return to the MGM of the past, this likely isn't the picture for you. On the other hand, if you want a stunning homage to the musicals of the 30's, but one which does not sacrifice artful storytelling and an almost picture-quality reproduction of the grief, sorrow and anger of the Depression-era 30's, this is the pinnacle of filmmaking (and with sumptious musical numbers to back it).

IMO, this is hands down Steve Martin's best role and as well as Bernadette Peters (who should have been won the Academy that year). Both are incredible, as is Christopher Walken and Jessica Harper. As the main protagonist of the film, it is a rare distinction for Martin (as well as for this genre film) that he is not really a nice guy -- yet nor is he a true villain. There are sympathetic qualities to his character, but also irremedially selfish, childish ones.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Wind Chimes on November 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
The title piece done by Vernel Bagneris has stayed with me since I saw this movie in the theater years ago. I just watched the movie again, and that wonderful and amazing dance in the rain, Christopher Walken's strip tease (who knew he was a fabulous song-and-dance man?), the classroom production number, and the wonderful cinematography all had me rewinding and watching things over again. This movie is tailor-made for someone who likes quirky musicals starring Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters with a supporting cast of great talent. What's not to love?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By wingm@us.ibm.com on March 8, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
While the radically shortened film of Potter's British television mini-series necessarily leaves out a great deal--including some of what was most devastating in the original, this adaptation written by Potter and directed by, of all people, Herbert Ross, is a major work, too. It uses the big screen to full advantage, turning the lip-synched numbers into full Busby Berkeley-esque parodies. And none of the original's brilliance or darkness has been lost. Know--this is no light-hearted romp. It's probably the bleakest work of art ever made for TV, and the film's very modest commercial success is undoubtedly a testament to that. But it's really something. You'll never forget Vernel Bagneris's dance to the title number. And both Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters give the performances of their careers. Their eyes will haunt you. END
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Pennies from Heaven is a most unusual film - a combination of musical fantasy and melodrama. Great acting and performances from all the leads. This is probably Steve Martin's best effort to play a serious role with deep characterization. Bernadette Peters is vulnerable and tantalizing. This film could have been their breakthrough feature, if the audience had accepted Steve Martin as anything other than for his zany comedies. I remember Steve Martin jokingly said to Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show that those who liked this movie were intelligent and humanistic. I think it is not far from the truth.
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