The Flamingo Kid

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The Flamingo Kid
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by Michael Phillips
Nick Abdo (associate producer)
Written by Garry Marshall
Neal Marshall
Bo Goldman
Music by Curt Sobel
Cinematography James A. Contner
Edited by Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 21, 1984 (1984-12-21)
Running time
100 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $23,859,382

The Flamingo Kid is a 1984 American comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and written by Marshall, Neal Marshall and Bo Goldman. It stars Matt Dillon, Richard Crenna, Hector Elizondo, and Janet Jones. It tells the story of a working class boy who takes a summer job at a beach resort and learns valuable life lessons. It was the first movie to receive a PG-13 rating, although it was the fifth to be released with that rating, after Red Dawn, The Woman in Red, Dreamscape, and Dune.

The film's Tagline is A legend in his own neighborhood.


In the summer of 1963, Jeffrey Willis (Matt Dillon) joins some friends for a day of Gin rummy at the El Flamingo Club, a private beach resort. There, he meets the girl of his dreams Carla Sampson (Janet Jones). After the Gin game and being told of the club's strict policy regarding guests, Jeffrey is upset, but not for long, since he immediately landed a job as a car valet and eventually, cabana steward. Jeffrey is a kid from a middle class Brooklyn family and his father (Elizondo) does not approve of him working at the private club.

His hero and mentor at the resort is the reigning Gin rummy card game champ, Phil Brody (Crenna).[1]

Jeffrey, a winning Gin Rummy player himself, and his friends, admire Brody and how his wins at the Gin rummy table make him seem "psychic," knowing which cards to give up. Brody also takes a liking to Jeffrey, eventually showing him his car business, and gives him hopes that car sales are where he belongs as a career.

Jeffrey gets further immersed in the "easy buck," defying his father's guidance. During dinner, Jeffrey notably says he "will not be needing college" and plans to pursue being a car salesman instead. Jeffrey and his co-workers at The Flamingo also venture to Yonkers Raceway together, risking cash on a horse tip but come up short when the trotter breaks stride.

Eventually, Jeffrey leaves home to pursue the sales job. However, Brody, angry that Jeffrey disturbed him during a dance class, reveals to Jeffrey that the job opening at the car dealership is for a stock boy, not as a salesman as Jeffrey had been led to believe was his when he asked for it. Brody encourages Jeffrey to take the stock boy position so he can work his way up. Jeffrey becomes shocked at his mentor's actions and reconsiders college. Near Summer's end, Jeffrey observes that a regular onlooker, "Big Sid", is feeding signals to Brody, the true cause of Brody's winning ways. When Big Sid and a member of the gin team playing against Brody's team are overcome by the heat, Jeffrey fills in, opposing Brody, and seeking to help win back the unfair profits Brody won from his friends over the course of the Summer. Jeffrey and his team eventually win back what was unfairly lost, including a good profit besides. Realizing the mistakes he made in rejecting his father's good advice, Jeffrey makes up with his dad in a touching scene at Larry's Fish House ("Any Fish You Wish"), where his family is dining.



The principal location for the movie was the Silver Gull Beach Club in Breezy Point in New York City's Rockaways, inside the Gateway National Recreation Area. The club was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the wing of the club that extends over the water is facing probable demolition.[2]


A soundtrack to the film was released by Motown.[3]

  1. Jesse Frederick – Breakaway
  2. Martha and the Vandellas(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave
  3. The ChiffonsHe's So Fine
  4. Acker Bilk – Stranger on the Shore
  5. DionRunaround Sue
  6. Little RichardGood Golly, Miss Molly
  7. Barrett StrongMoney (That's What I Want)
  8. The ImpressionsIt's All Right
  9. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Finger Poppin' Time
  10. The ChiffonsOne Fine Day
  11. The SilhouettesGet a Job
  12. Maureen Steele – Boys Will Be Boys

Remake[edit] announced in September 2012 that Walt Disney Pictures has planned a remake of The Flamingo Kid. Brett Ratner and Michael Phillips are producing and music video director Nzingha Stewart is scripting.[4]


External links[edit]