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Big Time is a 1988 American musical film, centered on Tom Waits.

Big Time
promotional poster
Directed byChris Blum
Produced byChris Blackwell (executive producer)
Catherine Peacock (associate producer)
Luc Roeg (producer)
Written byKathleen Brennan
Tom Waits
StarringTom Waits
CinematographyDaniel Hainey
Edited byGlen Scantlebury
Distributed byIsland Visual Arts (1988) (USA) (theatrical)
Release date
15 September 1988 (Toronto Film Festival)
30 September 1988 (New York City, New York)
12 May 1989
Running time
90 minutes (V)
87 minutes (NYT/MFB)
CountryUnited States
Box office$148,426 (USA)



  • "Frank's Wild Years"
  • "Shore Leave"
  • "Way Down in the Hole"
  • "Hang On St. Christopher"
  • "Telephone Call From Istanbul"
  • "Cold, Cold Ground"
  • "Straight to the Top (Vegas)"
  • "Strange Weather"
  • "Gun Street Girl"
  • "9th and Hennepin"
  • "Clap Hands"
  • "Time"
  • "Rain Dogs"
  • "Train Song"
  • "Sixteen Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six"
  • "I'll Take New York"
  • "It's More Than Rain"
  • "Johnsburg, Illinois"
  • "Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)"
  • "Big Black Mariah"


  • Filming took place wholly in Los Angeles, California, USA and San Francisco, California, USA.
  • The tagline was: The concert was "the best live performance of the year." The movie is BIG TIME.

Critical responseEdit

Jon Pareles wrote a negative review in The New York Times, saying even fans of Waits would find it "frustrating and off-putting" and that it "turns Mr. Waits's performance into a freak show."[1] Richard Harrington wrote a negative review in The Washington Post, describing the film as "More an indulgence than a concert" and the songs as "often intriguing" but "only rarely [...] listenable".[2] Jeffrey M. Anderson, in a mixed review for Combustible Celluloid, described the film as "a treat" for fans of Tom Waits and "one hell of a show."[3] Time Out magazine called it a "magnificent movie" and "A concert film unlike any other".[4] TV Guide gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, calling it "more performance than music" and a "work that demands to be taken on its own terms."[5]


Big Time was issued on LaserDisc, VHS and Betamax in Japan, but was only issued on VHS in North America.[citation needed] No official DVD or BluRay edition has yet been released.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (September 30, 1988). "Review/Film - 'Big Time,' a Look at the Rock Star Tom Waits". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Harrington, Richard (October 1, 1988). "'Big Time'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Anderson, Jeffrey M. (September 15, 1988). "Big Time (1988): Tom Waits for No Man". Combustible Celluloid. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  4. ^ MC. "Big Time". Time Out. Time Out Group Plc. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  5. ^ "Big Time". TV Guide. Retrieved 25 November 2017.

External linksEdit