American Splendor (film)

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American Splendor
American Splendor film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Produced by Ted Hope
Christine Kunewa Walker
Julia King
Declan Baldwin
Written by Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Based on American Splendor and Our Cancer Year 
by Harvey Pekar
Joyce Brabner
Starring Paul Giamatti
Hope Davis
Judah Friedlander
Music by Mark Suozzo
Cinematography Terry Stacey
Edited by Robert Pulcini
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates
  • January 20, 2003 (2003-01-20) (Sundance)
  • August 15, 2003 (2003-08-15) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $7,986,084[2]

American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series. The film is also in part an adaptation of the comics, which dramatize Pekar's life. The film was written and directed by documentarians Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini.[3]

The film stars Paul Giamatti as Pekar and Hope Davis as Brabner.[3] It also features appearances from Pekar and Brabner themselves (along with Toby Radloff),[3] who discuss their lives, the comic books, and how it feels to be depicted onscreen by actors. It was filmed entirely on location in Cleveland and Lakewood in Ohio.[4]



American Splendor won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, in addition to the award for Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America. At the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, the film received the FIPRESCI critics award.[5] It was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2003 Academy Awards. The film has a 94% fresh rating of positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Columnist Jaime Wolf wrote a laudatory review of the film in Slate, also drawing attention to formal parallels with Woody Allen's Annie Hall and other Allen films.[6]

Pekar wrote about the effects of the film in American Splendor: Our Movie Year.

Awards and nominations[edit]


Boston Society of Film Critics

  • Best Screenplay (Pulcini and Springer Berman)

Chicago Film Critics Association

  • Most Promising Filmmaker (Pulcini and Springer Berman)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association

National Society of Film Critics

New York Film Critics Circle

  • Best Actress (Davis)
  • Best First Film

Writers Guild of America (WGA)


Academy Awards

Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics

Chicago Film Critics Association

  • Best Actor (Giamatti)
  • Best Actress (Davis)
  • Best Film
  • Best Screenplay (Pulcini and Springer Berman)

Golden Globe Awards

Satellite Awards

  • Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Giamatti)
  • Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Davis)
  • Best Director (Pulcini and Springer Berman)
  • Best Film – Musical or Comedy
  • Best Screenplay – Adapted (Pulcini and Springer Berman)

Sundance Film Festival


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Personal Velocity
Sundance Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic
Succeeded by