The Five Pennies

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93%

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User Ratings: 737

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Movie Info

In this film based on a true story, Red Nichols (Danny Kaye) moves from his small town to New York City to become a jazz musician. Although he experiences culture shock, he soon becomes well respected in the clubs, even forming a friendship with Louis Armstrong (Louis Armstrong). After marrying Willa (Barbara Bel Geddes) and having a daughter, Dorothy (Susan Gordon), Red still tours constantly. But, when he learns that Dorothy has polio, he realizes he must rethink his priorities.

Cast

Danny Kaye
as 'Red' Nichols
Barbara Bel Geddes
as Willa Stutsman
Bob Crosby
as Wil Paradise
Harry Guardino
as Tony Valani
Susan Gordon
as Dorothy Nichols at 6
Tuesday Weld
as Dorothy at 12 to 14
Valerie Allen
as Tommye Eden
Ray Anthony
as Jimmy Dorsey
Shelly Manne
as Dave Tough
Ray Daley
as Glenn Miller
Bobby Troup
as Arthur Schutt
Ray Daly Jr.
as Glenn Miller
Earl Barton
as Choreographer
Ned Glass
as Murray
Bob Hope
as Himself
View All

Critic Reviews for The Five Pennies

All Critics (3) | Fresh (3)

  • A bit too sobby in spots, the film rates "good" for its exuberant music, its sharply detailed Jazz Age atmosphere, and Kaye's likeable performance.

    October 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The Five Pennies is a solidly crafted movie that glosses over a lot of the real history of jazz.

    December 16, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A bit of a sprightly-tragic mess, but if one doesn't try to sum up its parts, it's plenty entertaining in a nostalgic, old-movie way.

    January 2, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Five Pennies

  • May 21, 2008
    Nice Jazz drama. Kaye gives a good performance and nice cameos by Jazz greats.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2007
    Not a typical Danny Kaye character, but a beautiful story of a family's struggles. And yes, Kaye still gets in a few laughs.
    Valerie G Super Reviewer

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