Radio Days theatrical poster
|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Robert Greenhut|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Narrated by||Woody Allen|
|Music by||Dick Hyman|
|Cinematography||Carlo Di Palma|
|Edited by||Susan E. Morse|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|This article needs an improved plot summary. (May 2015)|
Joe (Woody Allen), the narrator, explains how the radio influenced his childhood in the days before TV. The young Joe (Seth Green) lives in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The tale mixes Joe's experiences with his remembrances and anecdotes, inserting his memories of the urban legends of radio stars, and is told in constantly changing plot points and vignettes.
Even though Joe's Jewish-American family lives modestly in Rockaway Beach, each member at one point during the film finds in radio shows an escape from reality through the gossip of celebrities, sports legends of the day, game shows, and crooners, with the majority of the stories taking place in the glitz and glamour of Manhattan. For Joe, the action adventure shows on the radio inspire him as he daydreams about buying a secret decoder ring, an attractive substitute teacher, movie stars (who may or may not be as honest as they appear), and World War II.
Meanwhile, several other parallel stories are told, from an aspiring radio star named Sally White (Mia Farrow), Joe's Aunt Bea (Dianne Wiest) and her (mostly fruitless) search for love, and during the middle of the film on the radio the tragic story is told about a little girl named Polly Phelps, who falls into a well near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It becomes a big national story as the family listens to it. Sadly, Polly does not survive.
- Woody Allen as Joe, the Narrator
- Seth Green as Young Joe
- Danny Aiello as Rocco
- Sydney Blake as Mrs. Gordon
- Leah Carrey as Grandma
- Jeff Daniels as Biff Baxter
- Larry David as Communist Neighbor
- Gina DeAngelis as Rocco's mother
- Denise Dumont as Latin singer
- Mia Farrow as Sally White
- Todd Field as Crooner
- Kitty Carlisle Hart as Maxwell House (Coffee) Radio Jingle Singer
- Paul Herman as Burglar
- Julie Kavner as Mother
- Diane Keaton as New Year's Singer
- Renée Lippin as Aunt Ceil
- Martin Sherman as Radio Actor
- William Magerman as Grandpa
- Judith Malina as Mrs. Waldbaum
- Kenneth Mars as Rabbi Baumel
- Josh Mostel as Uncle Abe
- Don Pardo as "Guess That Tune" Host
- Tony Roberts as "Silver Dollar" Emcee
- Rebecca Schaeffer as Communists' Daughter
- Wallace Shawn as Masked Avenger
- Mike Starr as Burglar
- Michael Tucker as Father
- Kenneth Welsh as Radio Voice
- Dianne Wiest as Aunt Bea
The film's soundtrack, which features songs from the 1930s and 40s, plays an integral and seamless part in the plot. An important part of one of the vignettes is inspired by Orson Welles' famous 1938 CBS radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. It was titled Radio Days: Selections from the Original Soundtrack of the Motion Picture and released on cassette, as well as compact disc in 1987:
|1.||"In the Mood"||Glenn Miller||3:33|
|2.||"I Double Dare You"||Larry Clinton||2:49|
|3.||"Opus No. 1"||Tommy Dorsey||2:58|
|5.||"The Donkey Serenade"||Allan Jones||3:21|
|6.||"Body and Soul"||Benny Goodman||3:26|
|7.||"You and I"||Tommy Dorsey||2:44|
|8.||"Remember Pearl Harbor"||Sammy Kaye||2:29|
|9.||"That Old Feeling"||Guy Lombardo||2:45|
|10.||"(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover"||Glenn Miller||2:54|
|12.||"I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You"||Tommy Dorsey||3:38|
|13.||"Lullaby of Broadway"||Richard Himber||2:29|
|14.||"American Patrol"||Glenn Miller||3:33|
|15.||"Take the "A" Train"||Duke Ellington||3:00|
|16.||"One, Two, Three, Kick"||Xavier Cugat||3:23|
It currently holds a 'fresh' 88% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7.9/10. In his four-star review, noted critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described Radio Days as Allen’s answer to Federico Fellini’s Amarcord and referred to it as "so ambitious and so audacious that it almost defies description. It's a kaleidoscope of dozens of characters, settings and scenes - the most elaborate production Allen has ever made - and it's inexhaustible, spinning out one delight after another." Vincent Canby of The New York Times referred to Allen as the "prodigal cinema resource" and spoke of the film saying, "Radio Days [...] is as free in form as it is generous of spirit."
David Denby wrote for New York Magazine that: "[...] The real glue, however, is the lullingly beautiful popular music of the period — Cole Porter, Dubin and Warren, big-band jazz, crooners, torch singers, Carmen Miranda. The music, perfectly matched to images of old wood and brick buildings and old glamour spots, produces a mood of distanced, bittersweet nostalgia. Radio Days becomes a gently satiric commemorations of forgotten lives."
1987 Academy Awards (Oscars)
- Nominated – Best Achievement in Art Direction:
Art Direction: Santo Loquasto
Set Decoration: Carol Joffe, Les Bloom, George DeTitta, Jr.
- Nominated – Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen
1987 BAFTA Film Awards
- Won – Best Costume Design : Jeffery Kurland
- Won – Best Production Design: Santo Loquasto
- Nominated – Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Dianne Wiest
- Nominated – Best Editing: Susan E. Morse
- Nominated – Best Film: Robert Greenhut, Woody Allen
- Nominated – Best Screenplay Original: Woody Allen
- Nominated – Best Sound: Robert Hein, James Sabat, Lee Dichter
1988 Writers Guild of America Awards
- Nominated – WGA Screen Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Woody Allen
- Woody Allen On Location by Thierry de Navacelle (Morrow, 1987); a day-to-day account of the making of Radio Days
- "Festival de Cannes: Radio Days". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- "Radio Days (1989) (Blu-Ray)". Screen Archives Entertainment. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Radio Days at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Radio Days". Chicago Sun-Times. January 30, 1987.
- Canby, Vincent (January 30, 1987). "Woody Allen's Fond Remembrances Of 'Radio Days'". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Denby, David (February 9, 1987). "Woody Allen's nostalgic Radio Days is exquisitely crafted, but the picture is suffused with mediocrity". New York Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "Empire Features". empireonline.com.
- "The 60th Academy Awards (1988) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- Radio Days at the Internet Movie Database
- Radio Days at the TCM Movie Database
- Review of Radio Days at TVGuide.com