Last Exit to Brooklyn (film)

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This article is about the film. For other uses, see Last Exit to Brooklyn (disambiguation).
Last Exit to Brooklyn
Last Exit to Brooklyn FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Uli Edel
Produced by Bernd Eichinger
Written by Hubert Selby Jr. (novel)
Screenplay by Desmond Nakano
Based on Last Exit to Brooklyn
Starring Stephen Lang
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Burt Young
Peter Dobson
Jerry Orbach
Music by Mark Knopfler
Cinematography Stefan Czapsky
Edited by Peter Przygodda
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date(s) 1989
Running time 102 minutes
Country West Germany
Language English
Box office $1,730,005 (USA)

Last Exit to Brooklyn is a 1989 English-language German drama film, directed by Uli Edel, and based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby Jr.[1][2][3]


A group of sex trade workers, unionist activists and drag queens lead difficult lives, an existence of drugs, crime and violence in a working class Brooklyn neighborhood.



There had been several attempts to adapt Last Exit to Brooklyn into a film prior to this version. One of the earliest attempts was made by producer Steve Krantz and animator Ralph Bakshi, who wanted to direct a live-action film based on the novel. Bakshi had sought out the rights to the novel after completing Heavy Traffic, a film which shared many themes with Selby's novel. Selby agreed to the adaptation, and actor Robert De Niro accepted the role of Harry in Strike. According to Bakshi, "the whole thing fell apart when Krantz and I had a falling out over past business. It was a disappointment to me and Selby. Selby and I tried a few other screenplays after that on other subjects, but I could not shake Last Exit from my mind."[4][5]

In 1989, director Uli Edel adapted the novel into a film. The screenplay was written by Desmond Nakano. The movie starred Stephen Lang as Harry Black, Jennifer Jason Leigh as Tralala, Burt Young as Big Joe, Peter Dobson as Vinnie, and Jerry Orbach as Boyce, as well as Stephen Baldwin, Rutanya Alda and Sam Rockwell in small roles. Selby made a cameo appearance in the film as the taxi driver who accidentally hits the transvestite Georgette (played by Alexis Arquette). Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits provided the film score. The film version received excellent reviews and won a few critics' awards for Leigh's portrayal of Tralala, though its limited distribution and downbeat subject matter prevented it from becoming a commercial success. Ralph Bakshi referred to Edel's film as being "like a hot dog without mustard," saying that the film "was done horribly."[4]


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