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Going In Style (Dec-1979)

Director: Martin Brest

Writers: Martin Brest; Edward Cannon

Music Composed and Conducted by: Michael Small

Producers: Tony Bill; Fred T. Gallo

Keywords: Crime/Comedy, Bank Robbery

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
George Burns
20-Jan-1896 9-Mar-1996 Oh, God!
Art Carney
4-Nov-1918 9-Nov-2003 Ed Norton on The Honeymooners
Mark Margolis
26-Nov-1939   The Fountain
Paul L. Smith
5-Feb-1939 25-Apr-2012 Midnight Express
Margot Stevenson
8-Feb-1912 2-Jan-2011 Margo Lane on The Shadow
Lee Strasberg
Theater Director
17-Nov-1901 17-Feb-1982 Theater director and acting coach


George Burns   ...   Joe
Art Carney   ...   Al
Lee Strasberg   ...   Willie
Charles Hallahan   ...   Pete
Pamela Payton Wright   ...   Kathy
Siobhan Keegan   ...   Colleen
Brian Neville   ...   Kevin
Constantine Hartofolis   ...   Boy in Park
Mary Testa   ...   Teller
Jean Shevlin   ...   Mrs. Fein
James Manis   ...   Hot Dog Vendor
Margot Stevenson   ...   Store Cashier
Tito Goya   ...   Gypsy Cab Driver
William Pabst   ...   Bank Guard
Christopher Wynkoop   ...   Bank Manager
John McComb   ...   Businessman in Bank
Melvin Jurdem   ...   Businessman in Bank
Joseph Sullivan   ...   Moon
Bob Maroff   ...   Cab Driver
Vivian Edwards   ...   Bellhop
Jim Tipton   ...   Crap Dealer
Ron Gagliano   ...   Crap Dealer
Victor Masi   ...   Crap Dealer
Raymond Kernodle   ...   Crap Dealer
Richard Teng   ...   Crap Dealer
Patrick Donoho   ...   Crap Dealer
Barbara Ann Miller   ...   Waitress
Betty Bunch   ...   Restaurant Cashier
Karen Montgomery   ...   Hooker
Catherine L. Billich   ...   Casino Cashier
Robert L. Zay   ...   Salesman
Anthony D. Call   ...   FBI Agent in Charge
William Larson   ...   FBI Agent
Reathel Bean   ...   FBI Agent
Alan Brooks   ...   FBI Agent
Mark Margolis   ...   Prison Guard
Pedro E. Ocampo, Sr.   ...   Prison Guard
Tony Di Benedetto   ...   Prison Guard
Paul L. Smith   ...   Radio Announcer
Bruce Charles   ...   Radio Announcer


Review by Walter Frith (posted on 7-Jun-2007)

George Burns. Art Carney. Lee Strasberg. Three performers with intensely different backgrounds. One a vaudevillian from childhood (Burns), one the star of a pioneering television series from the 1950's entitled 'The Honeymooners' (Carney) who would go on to eventually win seven Emmy awards on television and an Oscar for best actor for 1974's 'Harry and Tonto' and one a supremely influential acting teacher (Strasberg) who only appeared in five films (snagging one Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for 'The Godfather Part II') and who has taught a great generation of actors including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Ben Gazzara, Martin Landau and Eli Wallach. Burns, Carney and Strasberg are all deceased now but thankfully they all lived rich and rewarding lives and made our lives better through their contributions to the entertainment industry. 'Going in Style' was the breakthrough film from director Martin Brest who also wrote it (based on a story by Edward Cannon) and Brest's other and more successful films include 'Beverly Hills Cop', 'Midnight Run', and 'Scent of a Woman'. Brest brings a warm sense of reality to a disturbing situation which seems to be growing more and more as the years go on. In 'Going in Style', he tackles the issue of senior citizens and their inability to function in society due to many financial factors which stack the deck against them. Low social security cheques, perhaps being cheated out of a company pension and being forced to share a tiny apartment and expenses with your friends. We look at the United States in 2005 and we see that the social security safety net is drying up and while no one seems to have a plan, some are saying that they system will dry up between 2010 and 2020. So what will senior citizens do then? Joe (Burns), Al (Carney), and Willie (Strasberg) share an apartment in the big city and they spend their days sitting in the park, complaining about their bills and reminiscing about their lives. Their daily lives have become so mundane and humdrum that they seek excitement of some sort to brighten up their lives. Joe comes up with an idea that he perceives will be the ultimate rush....robbing a bank ! ! When he first presents the idea to the other two, at first they seem shocked and while Al doesn't need much time to realize that he thinks it might be a good idea, Willie seems reluctant to go along right through to the time they actually execute their plan. The most ingenious thing about their plan is their disguise. The novelty shop item known as "the rubber nose". You know it. The ones that comes with the big framed glasses and the moustache. They find a way to plan everything from what kind of weapons to use, to what they'll wear to what mode of transportation they'll use. The outcome of the bank robbery examines the notion that says: "For every action there is a re-action" and consequences follow that they don't count on. The plot is not as thinly layered as you might think. Brest's style of quiet direction in the second half opens the story to directions of story line that are highly entertaining and unexpected. I found the film curiously powerful for a movie with a very small cast and budget. It has the tag of "comedy" hanging over it but while the comedy genre has been done to death from every angle including satire, dark comedy, black comedy, slapstick etc., I didn't view 'Going in Style' as much as a comedy as it was a drama. I would break the film down as about 30% comedy and 70% drama and social commentary. And what comedy there is in the film is extremely light weight and doesn't have the big belly laughs that are associated with films that have solid humour. Actor Charles Hallahan has a supporting role as Pete, Al's nephew, who unwittingly provides the guns for the bank robbery and the hiding place for the loot when it looks like the law might be catching up with the old timers. Every once in awhile society catches an elderly criminal and dealing with them is handled on a case by case basis as it should be but I think that rather than punishment for innocuous mischief, society should provide programs and treatment for them so that the elderly can feel valued after years of contributing their labour to society. There's a phrase that goes something like "respect for your elders". This movie asks you to abide by that saying. [Visit FILM FOLLOW-UP by Walter Frith]

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