A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.
Release Year: 1987
Rating: 7.5/10 (13,242 voted)
Stars: Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Mike Starr
Woody Allen's sentimental reminiscence about the golden age of radio. A series of vignettes involving radio personalities is intertwined with the life of a working class family in Rockaway Beach, NY circa 1942.
'Guess That Tune' Host
(as Michael Murray)
Release Date: 30 January 1987
Filming Locations: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $1,522,423
(1 February 1987)
Did You Know?
The scene where Joe sees a German U Boat at the beach has some basis in fact. Some U Boats were sent to America on secret missions, and had to enter New York harbor by entering through the Rockaway inlets to get into Lower New York bay.
In the closing sequence, when Helen Miller (Mother) says "I'm worried about the future," she spills champagne on the baby she is holding. She looks down briefly, but the camera ignores it and pans over.
Once upon a time, many years ago, two burglars broke into our neighbors house in Rockaway. Mr. and Mrs. Needleman had gone to a movie and the following events occurred.
A Masterpiece. Amazing.
Radio Days has got to be one of my absolute favorite films of all
time. To me, it's a film that balances story, characters and
atmosphere better than just about any other. It's truly a great work
of art, and a very, very underrated one.
The best thing about it is how Allen's love for his subject, the
romantic nostalgia he feels, translates so eloquently to the screen.
You've also got to hand it to the cast. Diane Weist, Julie Kavner,
Mia Farrow, Josh Mostel, a briefly-glimpsed Jeff Daniels, and a
young Seth Green all give great performances that are right out of
the period, yet instantly recognizable. Allen had Santo Loquasto,
his art director, do a bang-up job on creating the world of
early-1940s Rockaway, New York, and Jeffrey Kurland's costumes
help immensely. Particularly note-worthy is Carlo Di Palma's
stunning cinematography. The colours, the smoky nightclubs and
soundstages, the dimly-lit nighteries and the dazzling rooftop set
come to life like few sets do in films.
And then there's the music. That dazzling array of classic music,
from one of the best periods for it in American history. Allen's
decision to use only music from that time might sound cliche, but
he's definatly justified here. And there's always the Radio Show
Themes piece by Dick Hyman (I'm always by that name) that
accompanies many of the scenes. That piece of music alone is
worth seeing the film.
As you can probably tell, I love this film simply for the fact that it's
such a charming, enchanting, beautiful film. It's one I'd show my
children, even the nude dancing scene, had I any children to show
it to. Woody Allen's turn in the films he's made lately (as of 2003)
are, to me, pretty depressing and perverse, with none of the
charm, life and humor that works like Radio Days symbolize,
Sweet and Lowdown notwithstanding. Hopefully, more films like
this gem are on the horizon.