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Great Balls of Fire! Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Until its last ten minutes or so, this filmed biography of controversial recording star Jerry Lee Lewis plays like a live-action cartoon. As played by Dennis Quaid, "the killer" is a very mixed-up individual: a saintly sinner, a world-wise naïf, a skilled performer with zero sense of discipline, a loving husband who uses his wife for a punching bag. The story takes place during the years 1956 through 1958, as Lewis rises to the top of the charts with such hits as "Crazy Arms," "A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," and the title tune. Along the way, he falls in love with his second cousin, Myra (Winona Ryder), eventually marrying the girl. When it is revealed that Myra is only 13 years old, Lewis is condemned as a molester and pervert by the public (his disastrous tour of England during this crisis is depicted in hilarious Tex Avery fashion). After establishing a brisk, satirical tone through most of the proceedings, the film plummets into heavy dramatics in its final portions, jarring disastrously with all that has gone before. Otherwise, Quaid is terrific as Lewis (expertly lip-synching to the original records,) and Ryder is equally good as the long-suffering Myra. Featured in the cast are Alec Baldwin as Jerry's cousin Jimmy Swaggart (the same!), Michael St. Gerard as Lewis' great rival Elvis, and Steve Allen as himself. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:June 30, 1989

Cast

Dennis Quaid
as Jerry Lee Lewis
Winona Ryder
as Myra Gale Lewis
Alec Baldwin
as Jimmy Lee Swaggart
John Doe
as J.W. Brown
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Jud Phillips
Trey Wilson
as Sam Phillips
Steve Allen
as Himself
Lisa Blount
as Lois Brown
Joshua Sheffield
as Rusty Brown
Mojo Nixon
as James Van Eaton
Jimmie Vaughan
as Roland James
David Ferguson
as Jack Clement
Robert Lesser
as Alan Freed
Lisa Jane Persky
as Babe
Paula Person
as Sam's Secratary
Valerie Wellington
as Big Maybelle
Ryan Rushton
as Young Jimmy
Steven O'Donnell
as Heckler #2
Rufus Thomas
as Haney's Big House Dancer
Joe Bob Briggs
as Dewey 'Daddy-O' Phillips
Ruth Kettlewell
as Dowager
John Mulrooney
as Talk Show Host
Peter Cook
as English Reporter
Kim Smith
as English Reporter
Jerry Lee Lewis
Snowy Winters
as Rebel Room Dancer
Michael St. Gerard
as Elvis
Keith McDaniel
as Haney's Big House Dancer
Judith Holstra
Carol Russell
as Mamie Lewis
Bert Dedman
as Young Jerry
John Tordoff
as Cockney Porter
David Sibley
as English Reporter
Sara VanHorn
as Minnie Belle
Tav Falco
as New Bass Player
Bonnie Beutler
as Rebel Room Dancer
David A. Penhale
as Reporter #1
Chris Solari
as Rebel Room Dancer
Crystal Robbins
as Frankie Jean
Priscilla Harris
as Honky-Tonk Angel
Mark W. Johnson
as Sheriff
Susan Lonergan
as Rebel Room Dancer
Jody Lynne
as Party Doll

Crew

Jim McBride
Director
Mark Victor
Producer
Art Levinson
Producer
Adam Fields
Producer
Michael Grais
Producer
Jack Baran
Screenwriter
Myra Lewis
Book Author
Jim McBride
Screenwriter
Affonso Beato
Cinematographer
Jim McBride
Composer (Music Score)
Joe Mulherin
Musical Direction/Supervision
Jerry Lee Lewis
Composer (Music Score)
Jack Baran
Composer (Music Score)
Bert Lovitt
Editor
Tim Hutchinson
Production Designer
David Nichols
Production Designer
Jon Spirson
Art Director
Karen Penhale
Associate Producer
Jack Baran
Associate Producer
Lauren Polizzi
Set Designer
Tracy Tynan
Costume Designer
Steve Maslow
Sound/Sound Designer
Phil Corey
Special Effects
Jerry Schilling
Consultant/advisor
Bill Landrum
Choreography
Richard Arrington
Makeup
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