Avalon (1990 film)

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Avalon theatrical release poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBarry Levinson
Produced by
Written byBarry Levinson
Music byRandy Newman
CinematographyAllen Daviau
Edited byStu Linder
Baltimore Pictures
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 5, 1990 (1990-10-05) (United States)
Running time
126 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$15.7 million[3]

Avalon is a 1990 American drama film written and directed by Barry Levinson and starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, and Elijah Wood. It is the third in Levinson's semi-autobiographical tetralogy of "Baltimore films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), and Liberty Heights (1999).[4] The film explores the themes of Jewish assimilation into American life, through several generations of a Polish immigrant family from the 1910s through the 1950s.

The film was released to critical acclaim, and was nominated for four Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.


It is the late 1940s and early 1950s, and much has happened to the family of Polish Jewish immigrant Sam Krichinsky since he first arrived in America in 1914 and eventually settled in Baltimore.

Television is new. Neighborhoods are changing, with more and more families moving to the suburbs. Wallpaper has been Sam's profession, but his son Jules wants to try his hand at opening a large discount-appliance store with his cousin, Izzy, maybe even do their own commercials on TV.

Jules and his wife, Ann, still live with his parents, but Ann is quietly enduring the way that her opinionated mother-in-law Eva dominates the household. Ann is a modern woman who even learns to drive a car, although Eva refuses to ride with her and takes a streetcar instead.

The family contributes to a fund to bring more relatives to America. Slights, real or imagined, concern the family, as when Jules and Ann finally move to the suburbs, a long way for their relatives to travel. After arriving late and finding a Thanksgiving turkey has been carved without him, Uncle Gabriel is offended and storms out, beginning a feud with Sam.

Sam also cannot understand the methods his grandson Michael's teachers use in school, or why Jules and Izzy have changed their surnames to Kaye and Kirk as they launch their business careers. But when various crises develop, including an armed holdup and a devastating fire, the family members generally see them through together.


Relationship with other "Baltimore films"[edit]

Levinson frequently places links between his films that are set in Baltimore. For example, there is an image of a diner under construction. A Hudson automobile purchased in Avalon was used in Diner.[5] The house that the Krichinsky family leaves to move to the suburbs was used as a residence in Tin Men.[5]


Avalon holds a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes from 26 reviews, with an average rating of 7.23/10.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

Avalon received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design (Gloria Gresham). Levinson's script won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBFC: Avalon (1990) Linked 2013-06-11
  2. ^ http://catalog.afi.com/Catalog/moviedetails/58399
  3. ^ "Avalon (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  4. ^ Levinson, Barry (November 14, 1999). "Barry Levinson: Baltimore, My Baltimore". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Levinson, Barry; Kornbluth, Jesse (1991). Avalon; Tin men; Diner: Three Screenplays. Atlantic Monthly Press. p. xx. ISBN 0-87113-435-7.
  6. ^ Avalon (1990), retrieved 2020-09-02

External links[edit]