Bullets Over Broadway (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A gleefully entertaining backstage comedy, Bullets Over Broadway features some of Woody Allen's sharpest, most inspired late-period writing and direction.

Bullets Over Broadway Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Bullets Over Broadway is a Woody Allen romp that, as the title suggests, combines gangsters with show business at the height of the Roaring Twenties. David Shayne (John Cusack) is a straight-arrow playwright who plans to stand firm against compromising his work, but quickly abandons that stance when his producer (Jack Warden) finds a backer to mount his show on Broadway. There's just one catch, however: the backer is a mobster (Joe Viterelli) who sees Shayne's play as a vehicle for his dizzy, talent-free girlfriend, Olive (Jennifer Tilly). Shayne also has to deal with the demands of veteran theatre diva Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest) and is shocked to discover that Olive's hitman bodyguard, Cheech (Chazz Palminteri), is probably a better playwright than he is, as he secretly revises Shayne's work when he sits in on rehearsals. ~ Don Kaye, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Douglas McGrath, Woody Allen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 15, 2002
Runtime:
Miramax Films

Cast

John Cusack
as David Shayne
Dianne Wiest
as Helen Sinclair
Jennifer Tilly
as Olive Neal
Joe Viterelli
as Nick Valenti
Tracey Ullman
as Eden Brent
Jim Broadbent
as Warner Purcell
Jack Warden
as Julian Marx
Rob Reiner
as Sheldon Flender
Harvey Fierstein
as Sid Loomis
Victor Colicchio
as Waterfront Hood
Lou Eppolito
as Waterfront Hood
Carl Reiner
as Sheldon Flender
Peter Castellotti
as Waterfront Hood
Tony Conforti
as Waterfront Hood
John Di Benedetto
as Waterfront Hood
Gene Canfield
as Waterfront Hood
John Ventimiglia
as Waterfront Hood
Paul Herman
as Maitre d'
Fran McGee
as Movie Theatre Victim
Brian McConnachie
as Mitch Sabine
John Doumanian
as Backstage Well-Wishe...
Dayle Haddon
as Backstage Well-Wishe...
Howard Erskine
as Theatre Well-Wisher
Benay Venuta
as Theatre Well-Wisher
Ken Roberts (II)
as Theatre Well-Wisher
Peter McRobbie
as Man at Theatre
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bullets Over Broadway

Critic Reviews for Bullets Over Broadway

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (14)

The performances, however, are very enjoyable, with first honors going to Chazz Palminteri and Dianne Wiest.

Full Review… | August 12, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A backstage comedy bolstered by healthy shots of prohibition gangster melodrama and romantic entanglements.

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

No! Don't speak! See it!

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Allen has drawn on autobiographical specifics in other films, but this may be the one in which he speaks most seriously from the heart.

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

One of Woody Allen's flat-out funniest movies.

Full Review… | September 18, 2014
Combustible Celluloid

Dianne Wiest elevates even the most esoteric argument in the film to a level of sublime entertainment.

Full Review… | August 15, 2011
Cinema Sight

Audience Reviews for Bullets Over Broadway

"Let's say there was a burning building and you could rush in and you could save only one thing: either the last known copy of Shakespeare's plays or some anonymous human being. What would you do?"

In 1920s New York, a struggling playwright is forced to cast a mobster's talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced.

REVIEW
Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway" deals with a struggling stage writer (John Cusack) who is so desperate to get one of his plays on Broadway in the 1920s that he reluctantly enlists the help of the local mafia crime lord to fund the play. Of course there is a large stipulation. The crime lord's girl must be in the play (hilariously played by Jennifer Tilly in an Oscar-nominated role). Needless to say she's terrible and Cusack struggles with her in the play. However, he has booked A-list actress Dianne Wiest (in her second Oscar-winning role) who is an alcoholic who has seen better days in her career.

Tilly's bodyguard (Chazz Palminteri, also in an Oscar-nominated role) sees the play rehearsed firsthand and gives Cusack some directions on the project that Cusack cannot refuse. Palminteri is street smart and knows how people really talk, while Cusack is so educated that his words make no sense to the normal audience. This film is what "The Godfather" would have been like if Allen had directed it. The screenplay is outstanding and Allen's direction has rarely been better. Cusack is fun and hilarious, but it is the supporting cast that makes the movie work. Other than the aforementioned Oscar-nominated actors, there are great turns by several others. Mary-Louise Parker, Tracy Ullman, Jim Broadbent, Jack Warden, Rob Reiner, Harvey Feinstein, and Joe Viterelli are all superb in well-calculated supporting roles.

LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Woody's first indie venture outside of studio affiliations just so happens to be his best film of the 90s.

JonathanHutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is filled with good, but overrated performances. It's surprisingly slow-paced (and I say surprisingly, because nobody expects a crime comedy to be this slow) and, at only 100 minutes, it feels so long.

On the bright side, the art direction and costume design are superb. Not a great Woody Allen flick, but his work in BOB is pretty decent.

Bullets Over Broadway Quotes

Ellen: I could love a man if he's not a real artist. But I couldn't love an artist if he's not a real man.
– Submitted by Astrid P (2 years ago)
David Shayne: I'll have a double anything.
– Submitted by Astrid P (2 years ago)
Sheldon Flender: Guilt is petit-bourgeois crap. An artist creates his own moral universe.
– Submitted by Astrid P (2 years ago)
Helen Sinclair: No, no, don't speak. Don't speak. Please don't speak. Please don't speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return.
David Shayne: Just one...
Helen Sinclair: Don't speak.
– Submitted by Tony G (2 years ago)

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