Smithereens (1982)

# 14861 IMDb R 

Smithereens (1982

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Director: Susan Seidelman

Stars: Chris Noth, John Doe, Cookie Mueller, Joni Ruth White, Susan Berman

Drama, Music (1h 33min)


Rated 6.7 after 1,167 votes on 28-Feb-19.

1 nomination


A restless and abrasive young woman eschews the affections of a sensitive young portrait artist, preferring to chase punk singers in a misguided desire for fame and fortune in New York's Greenwich Village.


Susan Seidelman (director) Brad Rijn Amos Poe Cookie Mueller Ed French Alan Woolf Geretta Geretta

Susan Berman (Wren), Brad Rijn (Paul (as Brad Rinn)), Richard Hell (Eric), Nada Despotovich (Cecile), Roger Jett (Billy - Eric's Roommate), Kitty Summerall (Eric's Wife), Joni Ruth White (Landlady (as Robynne White)), D.J. O'Neill (Ed), Joel Rooks (Xerox Boss), Pamela Speed (Terry), Tom Cherwin (Mike), Edie Schecter (Christine), Katherine Riley (1st Hooker), Amos Poe (Hustler in Bar), Ada McSpade (Rasta (as Ade McSpade)), Cookie Mueller (Horror Movie Sequence), Ed French (Horror Movie Sequence (as Edward E. French)), Alan Woolf (Pimp (as Wolf Alan)), The Nitecaps (Band), X-Sessive (Lead Singer), Paul Dunlap (Bouncer), Sara Sassin (Tough Woman in Cafe), Chel Chenier (Cecile's Roommate), Geretta Geretta (Prostitute (as Geretta Giancarlo)), Phyllis Kay (Prostitute (as Phylis Kay)), Celia Maurice (Prostitute), Roma Maffia (Prostitute), Chris Noth (Prostitute), John Doe (Door Guy (uncredited))

From the same director


Susan Seidelman (story), Ron Nyswaner (story), Ron Nyswaner (screenplay), Peter Askin (screenplay)

Produced by

Joanne Gross (associate producer), Susan Seidelman (producer)



Things to be aware of: This movie is a downer.

This movie is interminably slow at times. Feel free to skip forward with the remote. There is not a lot of plot to miss.

Having offered those two disclaimers, this movie is definitely worth watching if you are inclined towards depressing tales of urban outcasts. Like most, this one centers around a subculture, but is really about the kind of tragic dreamers that seem drawn to failure like moths to a porch light.

What makes this story so compelling in spite of the rather amateurish acting and film-making is the gradual, offhand, and absolutely realistic ways in which the different characters casually dig themselves into ever more inescapable holes.

This is a story not about the 80s or punk rock, it's a story about young people with unfocused ambition who are sucked in by the glamor of the scene, whatever it may be. These are the fashion victims we've all known: people who have a new best friend every week, with whom are going to write a screenplay, go on a road trip, start a band, whatever. The people who are too busy and too cool to be cared about unless you're going to make them famous, people who do not realize that the glittering lights of the city at night are just stores and bars, who keep thinking that one of them is going to turn out to be magic, who see everyday life as some kind of hoax that they won't be conned into falling for.

What is beautiful about "Smithereens" is the perfect depiction of the blind, frantic pursuit of a better, purer, more exciting life that leads to the opposite. The sad, romantic naiveté that looks for rescue in a bar at 2am is a target for every kind of leech whose belief in magic has burned out and turned to cynical opportunism. The neophyte victims gradually and seamlessly become predators themselves, preying on others who are looking for late-night magic. Dreams of romance, fame, and adventure become grubbing squabbles over sex and money and these dreamers don't even see it happening until, disdainful of everything, they end up with nothing.

Memorable quotes

Wren: Cuz I'm not settin' foot in New Jersey again. Ever.


Director Susan Seidelman told her actress Susan Berman to see the Federico Fellini film The Nights of Cabiria (1957) before beginning to research her role.

19 total 


1 nomination 
Cannes Film Festival

Other titles

New York City Girl (Germany; West Germany) • På farten i New York (Denmark) • La chica de Nueva York (Spain) • Rakasta minua, Manhattan! (Finland) • Estilhaços (Portugal) • Осколки (Soviet Union (Russian title))



Australia:M / Canada:G / Finland:K-16 / New Zealand:R16 / Norway:16 / Portugal:M/16 / Spain:18 / United Kingdom:15 / United States:R



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