Danny Collins (film)

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Danny Collins
Danny Collins Official Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDan Fogelman
Produced by
Written byDan Fogelman
Music by
CinematographySteve Yedlin
Edited byJulie Monroe
  • Big Indie Pictures
  • ShivHans Pictures
Distributed byBleecker Street
Release date
  • March 20, 2015 (2015-03-20)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[2][3]
Box office$10.8 million[2]

Danny Collins is a 2015 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Dan Fogelman in his feature directorial debut. Inspired by the true story of folk singer Steve Tilston,[4] the film stars Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, and Christopher Plummer. The film was released in theaters on March 20, 2015.

For his performance, Pacino was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.[5]


Aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins (Al Pacino) cannot give up his hard-living ways – but then his manager, Frank Grubman (Christopher Plummer), uncovers a 40-year-old undelivered letter to him from John Lennon. After reading the letter, Danny decides to change his way of life. He travels to New Jersey to attempt to connect for the first time with his grown son, Tom Donnelly (Bobby Cannavale), whom he sired from a casual relationship with a woman who died 10 years before. Tom has a wife, Samantha (Jennifer Garner) and seven-year old daughter, Hope (Giselle Eisenberg).

Seeking a new start, Danny forswears touring and checks into a Hilton hotel in New Jersey, much to the delight of the young staff. He begins to woo the hotel manager, Mary (Annette Bening).

Tom initially rejects the father he believes abandoned him, but Danny persists, getting Hope, who has ADHD, into an exclusive school for children with special needs. He learns Tom has what doctors say may be terminal leukemia, inherited from his mother, and begins to attend doctor's visits with him. Tom's dislike of his father gradually gives way to the need for his support.

Inspired by his feelings for Mary and his happiness at having a family, Danny begins to write new songs. He books a one-night performance at a small club. When the audience demands he play his old material, however, Danny loses his nerve and gives a rote performance. Ashamed, he resumes doing drugs, damaging his relationship with Mary and his family. Tom confronts him, causing Danny to angrily reveal Tom's leukemia diagnosis, something Samantha had not been aware of. Tom, feeling betrayed, tells Danny never to bother his family again.

Danny finds out from Frank that his finances are in danger, due to all his excessive habits, and that he needs to go on tour again. Danny goes to the hotel to mend fences with Mary. Tom is visited by Frank, who tells him that his father, despite many flaws, is a good man. Tom then finds Danny waiting at the doctor's office to hear his diagnosis. Danny reassures him that everything will be all right, which, after the doctor arrives, appears to be the case.



The story is based on a real-life situation in which John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote a letter to the English folk singer Steve Tilston in 1971 but this remained unknown to him for 34 years. The real letter was signed "John + Yoko", while the letter in the movie was signed "John".[citation needed]


In November 2010, Steve Carell was attached to play the rocker's son but he ultimately dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[6][7] In June 2011, Al Pacino was in discussions to star in the film.[7] In October 2012, Jeremy Renner was announced as Carrell's replacement and Julianne Moore also joined the film.[8] Both were eventually also replaced; by Bobby Cannavale and Annette Bening, respectively. Filming began in July 2013 in Los Angeles.[9] The crew filmed a scene with Al Pacino during a concert of the band Chicago in Los Angeles.[10]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 122 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Thanks to Al Pacino's stirring central performance — and excellent work from an esteemed supporting cast — Danny Collins manages to overcome its more predictable and heavy-handed moments to deliver a heartfelt tale of redemption."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]

Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty named the film one of 2015's "overlooked gems".[13]

In addition to Pacino's Golden Globe Award nomination, two of the film's original songs, "Don't Look Down" and "Hey Baby Doll", were long-listed for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song.[14]


  1. ^ "DANNY COLLINS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Danny Collins (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "How 'Danny Collins' Secured 9 John Lennon Songs". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  4. ^ Roberts, Laura (16 August 2010). "John Lennon letter to aspiring folk singer received nearly four decades later". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  5. ^ "Danny Collins". Goldenglobes.com. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  6. ^ Sneider, Jeff (November 8, 2010). "Steve Carell to Play Rock Star's Son in WB Comedy 'Imagine'". The Wrap. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  7. ^ a b McNary, Dave (June 6, 2011). "Al Pacino in talks for 'Imagine'". Variety. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  8. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (October 23, 2012). "Jeremy Renner Replaces Steve Carell In Al Pacino Comedy 'Imagine,' Julianne Moore Also On Board". IndieWire. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "Al Pacino's 'Imagine' To Start Filming In LA". movies.mxdwn.com. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  10. ^ Harris, Beth (August 3, 2013). "Al Pacino's 'Imagine' Films Scene In Middle Of Chicago Concert". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "Danny Collins". Rotten Tomatoes (Flixster). Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  12. ^ "Danny Collins". Metacritic (CBS Interactive). Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  13. ^ "Ask the Critic: Overlooked 2015 gems and the movies I wish I could review again". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  14. ^ "74 ORIGINAL SONGS VIE FOR 2015 OSCAR | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". Oscars.org. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2016-08-20.

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