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Heaven Help Us

4.5 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It's Brooklyn, 1965 and young Michael Dunn (Andrew McCarthy) finds himself forced to attend St. Basil's in pursuit of the priesthood. Once there, against his better judgment, he gets caught up with a wild crowd led by the raucous Rooney (Kevin Dillon), and together they work towards higher education - the kind you don't get at school! From hiding out in the local diner to making out in Rooney's dad's car, from the "good-when-they're-bad" girls of the convent school to the shy beauty Michael falls for (Mary Stuart Masterson), from a confession that's good for the soul to what sends you there in the first place, finding your way in the world isn't easy. But the boys of St. Basil's are out to have the time of their lives - for as long as they're young, as long as they're fee and as long as they can get away with it.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Durang, Donald Sutherland, Douglas Seale, Jennifer Dundas, John Heard, Kate Reid, Kevin Dillon, Malcolm Danare, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mel Winkler, Patrick Dempsey, Philip Bosco, Stephen Geoffreys, Wallace Shawn Andrew Mc Carthy
  • Directors: Michael Dinner
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: HBO
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2013
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CU9QETA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,226 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
"Heaven Help Us" is a story of growing up Catholic in the Brooklyn of the mid-60's. A story of friendship and first love.
Andrew McCarthy plays Michael Dunn, a sensitive teenager, who along with his sister, has to come to live with grandparents in Brooklyn after the deaths of their parents. There he attends an all-boys Catholic high school, St. Basil's. Being the new kid, he has a tough time adjusting; but eventually befriends an outcast intellectual, Caesar; a not too bright, troublemaker, Rooney; and Rooney's not too bright toadies, Williams and Corbet. Dunn also strikes up a relationship with Danni, a girl who works at the local soda shop. This causes friction with his school because the shop is supposed to be off-limits for St. Basil students, and with his family who want him to become a priest. In spite of those barriers, a very sweet romance blossoms between Dunn and Danni.
"Heaven Help Us" contains alot of laughs, mainly from Kevin Dillon's rather obtuse character, Rooney. It boasts a great soundtrack of mid-60's motown tunes. There is also a definite "Celtic" taste to this movie. The surnames of the characters are mostly Irish: Dunn, Rooney, Corbet; as are the actors who play those roles: McCarthy, Dillon, and Dempsey. Occasionally, the soundtrack breaks into tradional Celtic music with bodhrans and uillean pipes which further emphasizes the film's Irish-American focus; even though the word "Irish" is never mentioned.
Overall, one of the most overlooked teen films of the 80's. A fun, sweet, little movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
One day I was flipping the channels and turned to Comedy Central...They were showing Heaven Help Us and I'm glad I kept on watching it. I went to catholic school from 2nd grade on through high school and yes, I attended an all boys school (Loyola High School of Los Angeles).
Heaven Help Us reminded me of the crazy things that go on in a school where you don't have to worry about embarrasing yourself in front of girls. We were kind of in our own world. I remember the all girls school just a couple of blocks away, as in the movie. When the priest came over to the five characters in the assembly, I was reminded of when a priest did the same thing to some of us during a high school mass.
This is a coming of age story and I haven't found a person who has hated the movie. It's too bad that it's not as acclaimed as it should be. It should be considered an American Classic. To me it is. The scene where the student is snatched away from mass for using his own clicker to make the student body sit and stand is 100% classic!
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By A Customer on June 18, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I have yet to meet a Catholic school alum who did not like "Heaven Help Us." It will appeal to all generations of former Catholic school students due to its mix of sentiment, humor, nostalgia, and stereotypes. If you're a Catholic school grad you're going to like this one even if you, like myself, went to a school in which lay people made up the majority of the faculty and corporal punishment was a myth from the distant past of your parents' schooldays.
"Heaven Help Us" is a comedy about teenage boys trying to survive their days at a Brooklyn all boys Catholic high school in the mid-1960s. It's a rather episodic film dealing with how school, home, girls, and the Church effect the lives of these teenagers. Set in the pre-Vatican II days of the Church, the movie shows the influence that institution then had on the everyday lives of its followers.
"Heaven Help Us" is a comedy, but it also has several serious and very sentimental moments, which are quite well done. However, those serious scenes may be the reason why this film bombed at the box office. If I remember correctly this movie was mistakenly advertised as a sort of "Porky's Goes to Catholic School." Thus, people, who went to see it thinking it was a raunchy, teen, sex comedy, came away disappointed because it's not a sex comedy! There is a nice romance, an on-going joke about one character being unable to "master his domain," and another character is stopped in his advances towards his drunk girlfriend in a very gross way, but no real sex. However, people, who may have been interested in seeing a comedic, coming of age story (which is what "Heaven Help Us" really is), did not see it either due to its poorly thought out ad campaign.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is one of the funniest coming of age movies out there. It seems like there are many forgotten comedies of the 80's that haven't caught the attention of mainstream America and the studio heads. This movie along with "Going Berserk" starring John Candy are two of the funniest movies of the 80's and neither are available on DVD.
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Format: DVD
This movie has a lot going for it in storyline, credibility and performances and it feels very atmospheric of '60s NY...where it's funny, it's very funny and it's also bittersweet...what I find most memorable is the small scenes and minor characters (like Dunne's little sister pretending she's dead or Rooney's coaching the other boys at confession)...The classroom scenes are terrific, if a little too brutal and the ending is a bit too over the top (plus it's marred by a tacked-on voiceover from, of all people, Rooney) but this movie is saved by it's writing, direction and Wallace Shawn's brilliant little warning speech before the big dance (...a BEAST lives within you!)...a lot of nice touches make this a keeper.
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