6.9/10
72,228
158 user 105 critic

Get Shorty (1995)

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt, and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

Director:

Barry Sonnenfeld

Writers:

Elmore Leonard (novel), Scott Frank (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,842 ( 203)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Chili Palmer
Gene Hackman ... Harry Zimm
Rene Russo ... Karen Flores
Danny DeVito ... Martin Weir
Dennis Farina ... Ray 'Bones' Barboni
Delroy Lindo ... Bo Catlett
James Gandolfini ... Bear
Jon Gries ... Ronnie Wingate
Renee Props ... Nicki
David Paymer ... Leo Devoe
Martin Ferrero ... Tommy Carlo
Miguel Sandoval ... Mr. Escobar
Jacob Vargas ... Yayo Portillo
Linda Hart ... Fay Devoe
Bobby Slayton ... Dick Allen
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Storyline

Some guys get all the luck, whether they like it or not. Chili Palmer happens to be in Hollywood collecting a gambling debt when he's struck by lightning (not literally). Called a natural for the movie business, he's snagged up by a producer. The rest is history. Written by Joshua Davis <xtnb64a@prodigy.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mob Is Tough. But It's Nothing Like Show Business. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El nombre del juego See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,700,007, 22 October 1995

Gross USA:

$72,101,622

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,101,622
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Harvey Keitel plays himself as Dennis Farina's character in the film-within-a-film. Both men played the role of Jack Crawford in the film adaptations of Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon" (Farina in Manhunter (1986), Keitel in Red Dragon (2002)). See more »

Goofs

The airplanes in the background change when Bear confronts Chili in the parking garage. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tommy Carlo: It's fucking cold outside.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of Danny Gill See more »

Alternate Versions

To accommodate the rule that aeroplane crashes cannot be shown on flights, the in-flight movie version changes the dialogue so that Leo escapes from a train wreck, instead of a plane crash. However, it can still be seen that the crash investigation was clearly happening in an airport hangar. See more »


Soundtracks

Up, Up and Away
Written by Jimmy Webb
Performed by Greg O'Connor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An engaging caper movie that also satirizes the Hollywood scene…
25 May 2007 | by RJBurke1942See all my reviews

I saw this movie in 1995 when first released, but never got around to thinking about a review until I saw it again a few weeks back on late night TV. I'd forgotten just how good it is...

From a novel by Elmore Leonard, this story is arguably the best satire about the Hollywood dream factory yet done, for two reasons: it savagely exposes and lampoons the behaviors of actors, writers, producers and directors and it implicitly compares that business with the business of small time hoodlums and loan sharks. So many times during this story does Chili Palmer (John Travolta) announce, in a bemused fashion: "I can't believe how youse guys do business out here..." Chili, as we learn very early, is a loan shark from Miami who is ordered by Bones (Dennis Farina), his new boss, to recover a $15,000 debt from Leo (David Paymer), a loser with a garrulous wife, Fay (Linda Hart) who's helped Leo fake his own death on a plane crash and collect $300,000 as a settlement from the airline. Fay, of course, can't keep her mouth shut and tells Chili that Leo scammed the money and was now living it up in Vegas. Chili, in Vegas, finds out that Leo has gone to LA. But Chili also makes a score: a Vegas casino owner asks him to lean on an LA movie producer, Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) for $150,000 still owing.

So, off to La-La Land goes Chili, and that's where the fun really starts...

The plot then changes direction, almost completely: Chili, after recovering most of the $300,000 from Leo (and letting him off lightly), gets involved with Harry in two ways – first, convinces him to take on Chili's own idea for a movie production and second, fend off two "investors" (who just happened to be drug pushers also) who want their money back from Harry who – you guessed it – is late in getting some other movie off the ground, and has spent all their money.

However, those two pushy investors, Bo Catlett and Ronnie Wingate (Delroy Lindo and John Gries), have another problem: the $500,000 drug money that they can't retrieve from a locker box at LAX and which Chili sees as an opportunity to make more profit. That idea, however, is blown away when Bones – who would like nothing better than to see Chili dead -- arrives from Miami looking to muscle in on Chili's business in LA.

How all that threads together into a gloriously comedic and ironic slice of Hollywood life and death is a testament to Leonard's brilliant story, a great screenplay and cinematography and tight editing – not to mention the almost flawless acting by actors who are continually taking the mickey out of the whole business, right up to the final scene.

There's no doubt that this is Travolta's comeback movie. The guy just oozes dangerous cool and --- ooops – chilling competence as he maneuvers between the high and low life of a strange town, with some very strange people and even stranger business practices. But, kudos also go to Dennis Farina, Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito as the klutzes they portray; and Renee Russo is suitably decorous as Chili's love interest. Watch out for cameos from Bette Midler, Harvey Keitel and other Hollywood luminaries.

And, here's the supreme self-referential irony: there really is a real Chili Palmer in the movie; he's one of the actors who has a bit part as one of Bones' buddies! What a gag...

Finally, note the title: Get Shorty. That's Elmore Leonard's delicious swipe at the whole gangster genre. Remember Get Carter (1971)...? Ho-ho-HO-ho-ho!

Highly recommended.


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