Things Change (film)

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Things Change
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Mamet
Written byDavid Mamet
Shel Silverstein
Produced byMichael Hausman
CinematographyJuan Ruiz Anchía
Music byAlaric Jans
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • October 21, 1988 (1988-10-21)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,527,886[1]

Things Change is a 1988 American comedy-drama film directed by David Mamet and starring Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche. It was co-written by Mamet and Shel Silverstein.[2]


Gino, a humble shoe-shiner in Chicago, is approached by Mafia Don "Mr. Green", who offers him a large sum of money to take the blame for a murder committed by another gangster. When he refuses, the don starts to order what may be a hit on him. Gino then agrees, planning to buy a fishing boat with the money he will earn after a three-year sentence. He signs a confession and allows his fingerprints to be put on the murder weapon.

While preparing for his court confession, Gino is watched over by Jerry, a bottom-rung gangster who has recently gotten into trouble for failing to follow orders. Facing a boring stay at a local hotel and faced with Gino's inability to suggest recreations he would like for his last few days of freedom, Jerry decides to give Gino a weekend to remember in Lake Tahoe before he goes to prison.

Arriving at the resort and casino, Jerry's tall tales and Gino's quiet dignity immediately get Gino mistaken for a powerful mafioso, resulting in them being treated as VIPs. However, they are then summoned to the Nevada home of Joseph 'Don Giuseppe' Vincent, where a frantic Jerry is certain that their lowly status will be found out. However, Don Giuseppe takes a liking to Gino and the two elderly Sicilians bond.

Narrowly escaping after Mr. Green turns up at Vincenzo's home as part of a mafia meeting, a relieved Jerry manages to get Gino back to Chicago safely. Jerry, who has become sympathetic to Gino, now urges Gino to flee but he refuses to break his word. However, on the day Gino is to confess in court, Jerry discovers that his superiors were merely stalling for time; Gino is to be killed, and Jerry is to be the one who does the killing. Instead, Gino calls Don Giuseppe, taking him up on his promise to do anything to help Gino due to their friendship. Mr. Green's henchman Frankie is shown pleading guilty to the crime and receives a 20-year sentence. Jerry begins working with Gino, shining shoes.


Film connections[edit]

Things Change was Mamet's directorial follow-up to House of Games and also takes place in the world of crime. The two films share many cast members, including Joe Mantegna, Ricky Jay, Mike Nussbaum, William H. Macy (credited as W.H. Macy), and J. T. Walsh, as well as many production staff members. In addition, other recurring collaborators from Mamet's resident ensemble at Atlantic Theatre Company[3] appeared in the film, including Felicity Huffman and Clark Gregg.


Co-stars Mantegna and Ameche received Volpi Cups at the Venice Film Festival for their performances in the film.

Release and reception[edit]

Things Change was released on October 21, 1988, in 99 U.S. theaters, grossing US$3.5 million.[1] The film carries an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 13 reviews, with an average score of 7/10.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Box office information for Things Change". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  2. ^ Kehr, Dave (1988-10-21). "IN "THINGS CHANGE," MAMET ALTERS RULES OF COMEDY". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 2020-04-24. The premise ... concocted by Mamet and co-writer Shel Silverstein
  3. ^ "Our History | Ensemble". Atlantic Theatre Company. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  4. ^ "Reviews for Things Change". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved April 13, 2022.

External links[edit]