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Slaves of New York (1989)

Bernadette Peters , Adam Coleman Howard , James Ivory  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bernadette Peters, Adam Coleman Howard, Chris Sarandon, Mary Beth Hurt, Madeleine Potter
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Tama Janowitz
  • Producers: Fred Hughes, Gary Hendler, Ismail Merchant, Vincent Fremont
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009P42UA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,220 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Slaves of New York" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Eleanor (Bernadette Peters) is an aspiring hat designer who lives with her successful but abusive artist boyfriend. The high cost of rent makes Eleanor and most of her fellow loft dwellers slaves to their relationships; if only they could afford to move they could move on. Struggling to make a namefor themselves, they do their best to get by with what they've got. Trapped in cramped apartments and unsatisfying love affairs, they wander the city looking for the one thing that will set them apart and set them free.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Artist's Life of the '80s September 4, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I have to admit. This is the movie that made me want to drop everything and move to NYC to become an artist/writer/hat designer/club kid. Of course, I was 16 when I first saw it and wasn't going to be leaving my Colorado suburban abode anytime soon. But it still inspired me to one day visit NYC and run into the same characters in this movie. Not only is the story entertaining, but the movie style is indeed unique.
I would love to see bonus DVD material including a documentary on NYC in the '80s and commentary with the director and Bernadette Peters. Maybe Criterion will take this one on.
Either way, this flick is a gem.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slaves of New York : a modern classic March 20, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
New York has changed since "Slaves of New York" was made. It has undergone a process of gentrification. Merchant-Ivory have created a motion picture which is nostalgic in an unique way, for a milieu that no longer exists, but lives on in our minds.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Subtle, Dry Masterpiece September 8, 2005
I first saw Slaves of New York when it was originally released quite some time after reading the book. I was drawn into the world of the 80's NYC Art Scene. The film is a bit austere, but I think that helps viewer's relate to Eleanor's (Bernadette Peters)struggle in life as an outsider-that she never gets the joke. Bernadette gives a rich and nuanced performance as Eleanor. She is the reason for seeing the film. She vacillates between giddy joy, depression, heartbreak, and triumph. Her introverted Eleanor is a joy to watch.

The colorful peripheral characters add spice and contrast, but it is Eleanor's story of finding her identity in an environment where everything is a facade.

This film is definitely not for everyone. Many talented people worked on this film and I found it charming on so many levels. It is definately unlike anything you have ever seen. If you love anything about the 80's culture, fashion, or pop world this is a must see. The fashion alone is a hoot. There are several priceless scenes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Lust in Soho March 1, 2009
Since 1989, this quirky and original little movie amused me and fed my inner Bohemian. Bernadette Peters portrays a gentle young woman in love with a misogynistic, unfaithful artist who paints popular cartoon characters. She designs hats. An amusing segment of New York's hip culturati, Slaves of New York peeks through the windows of creativity and oddity; and I'm dreaming of Soho.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential New York October 10, 2005
If you dog it, you've obviously never dared to live it. This movie is true poetic genius on all fronts.

One of my all time favorite films.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Irony is killing me June 23, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
That last review is not suprising to me...of course some people would be attracted to the way the movie looks, instead of what it preaches. "Slaves of New York" is actually poking fun at those who are's not just about artists...or even New York for that's about how people treat each other in general.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This movie gives a humorous and honest portrayal of the "elite" arts community in NYC, as well as a basic love story. It is particulary funny if you've ever been privy to those (arts related persons) with inflated self-worth or self-esteem. One of my favorite visual parts is during the group softball game when you get a look at the makeshift uniforms the arts community has come up with-- I guarantee you won't be able to stop laughing during parts of this scene... Also, Bernadette Peters' Broadway acting legacy shines throughout the flick. I'm about to sound like an Imposters perfume box, but.... If you liked the movies The House of Yes, Desperately Seeking Susan, and Welcome to the Dollhouse ... you'll like this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
As I understand it, "Slaves Of New York" is based on a series of short stories, with Bernadette Peter's character having the task of sewing it all together. It's no small coincidence that her character can't sew well. The basic premise of the film is that he who has the lease owns the people who come to live with him. It sounds like a line out of "Dune" but soon reveals itself to be a way the characters rationalize their weak behavior; they can't afford a place on their own, so in one way or another they prostitute themselves to someone who has a place, be it as a friend or lover, or..., and having to put up with that person's bad behavior and maltreatment of them, they refer to themselves as slaves. Not quite the same thing, but let's keep moving.

While this may very well be based on short stories, it comes across more as an idea hatched over dinner, where Mess'rs Merchant and Ivory and friends all recounted their experiences in New York, in the 80's and someone said "That would make a great movie!" which might be true, but not by Merchant Ivory. It's something of a relationship movie, running beneath a collection of period images; images that for no good reason show up on multiple screens (long before the computer made that common place) and occasionally as an overlap. The movie wants to look artsy, but it isn't.

One of the main problems is the choice of Bernadette Peters as the lead character, a young hat designer who's sharing the flat of a selfish, domineering, and manipulative male artist of some local note. Ms. Peters is a one note actress, whose performance hovers between stressed and melt down; suggesting a character in an Woody Allen movie, except that she can't even convincingly evoke a neuroses well enough for that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Really really really bad!
To put it in a nutshell this movie is a waste of time. Could not even finish it because the acting was so bad. Everything about it, terrible!!!!! Stay away.
Published 2 months ago by A. Joseph Orlando
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!
I've loved this movie for years. Reading the book now. Great stories of the New York art scene in the 80s.
Published 10 months ago by TheDutchBeat Brazil
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the 1980's !!
This had to be the inspiration for SEX IN THE CITY !!! Great 80's pop soundtrack ! The best filmed fashion show ever !
Published 13 months ago by mark remington
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film Especially for Artists
I am an artist. I will watch a commercial in earnest if it has art in it. I watch/listen to DVD's about artists or films related to art while doing art. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Kathy O. Magnusen
3.0 out of 5 stars Slave to Slaves Of New York
Slaves Of New Yotk is based upon the book of the same name by Tama Janowitz, who is also in the movie as Elenore's friend, Abby. Read more
Published on March 28, 2011 by Arnold D. Sartin
5.0 out of 5 stars Love that Gal
I'm not into big citys as a place to live, seeing all the traffic "Human and Mechanical" would chase Me off in no time as in Seattle long ago, but not with Burnadette Peters... Read more
Published on June 12, 2010 by G. Goltz
4.0 out of 5 stars About New York streets and people, hippy artist live and swinging...
This movie pictures live of hippy artists and their uncertainties about live in a big city. Trying to get a living making art. To be appriciate artist. And finding a home. Read more
Published on May 9, 2010 by E. L. Huizinga
1.0 out of 5 stars A total misdirection by James Ivory. 125 minutes of dull,dull,dull!!!
This film with it's enormous cast of talented actors portraying and poking fun at the Bohemian life of artists and their world in 1980's New York City is a totally not-funny,... Read more
Published on June 28, 2007 by KerrLines
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