Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Adapted from Hubert Selby Jr.'s underground novel, Uli Edel's bleak film is set among the Brooklyn world of the early 1950s, a place populated by prostitutes, junkies and thugs. The episodic tale reins in figures like Tralala (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a hooker who lures her tricks to back alleys where they are mugged by ex-con Vinnie (Peter Dobson); Harry (Stephen Lang), the union boss troubled by his closeted homosexuality; Big Joe (Burt Young), a striking blue-collar worker with a pregnant … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Desmond Nakano, Hubert Selby, Hubert Selby Jr.
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 19, 1990
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



as Harry Black

as Big Joe

as Vinnie

as Mary Black

as Hit-Run Driver

as Georgette

as Georgette's Mother

as Tral's Trick

as Hit-Run Driver

as Uptown Bartender

as Riot Police Officer

as Dowland

as Freddy

as Truck Driver

as Lost Soldier

as Submarine Annie

as Priest

as Riot Police Officer

as Security Guard
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Last Exit to Brooklyn

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Critic Reviews for Last Exit to Brooklyn

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 1, 1990
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Last Exit to Brooklyn

Hubert Selby Jr's novel of life and hard times in 1950's Brooklyn is a web of interconnecting stories involving work lock-outs, domestic violence and Jennifer Jason Leigh as local hooker. Despite some powerful scenes, there's too much self-importance in the narrative, no real perspective and a woeful lack of humour.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


"Last Exit to Brooklyn" starts out with a group of soldiers impugning the honor of Tralala(Jennifer Jason Leigh), followed by the predictable beatdown by some of her friends. To be fair, not only is she a prostitute, but one who also helps to fleece some of her customers. To be honest, times are tough all over in 1952 Brooklyn with the strike going on which probably does not make it the best time for Big Joe(Burt Young) to learn his daughter Donna(Ricki Lake) is pregnant with Tommy's(John Costelloe) baby. Maybe they were just looking for love which is why Georgette(Alexis Arquette) is looking for Vincent(Peter Dobson).

As watchable as it is, "Last Exit to Brooklyn" is also very much an odd duck, taking Hubert Selby's novel of down and out Brooklyn life in the 1950's and showing it through a European prism. So, even with an American cast that includes Jerry Orbach and a couple of stunning set pieces, it still feels a little off. On the one hand, the movie desperately wants to be provocative in its use of sex and violence. While it might also seem it is about loss of innocence, it is only in perception, like Big Joe not being aware that his daughter is not a virgin, much less very pregnant. Or maybe this is how it really was, except no police have ever responded to a call that quickly.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Although critically revered, Last Exit to Brooklyn is not compelling enough to keep your attention. These are unsympathetic characters that you feel nothing for despite the film's best efforts.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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