Radio Days is a 1987 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also narrates. The film looks back on an American family's life during the Golden Age of Radio using both music and memories to tell the story. It stars an ensemble cast.
Radio Days theatrical poster
|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Produced by||Robert Greenhut|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Music by||Dick Hyman|
|Cinematography||Carlo Di Palma|
|Edited by||Susan E. Morse|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Budget||$16 million USD|
|Box office||$14.8 million|
Joe, the narrator, relates how two burglars got involved in a radio game after picking up the phone during a home burglary. He goes on to explain that he associates old radio songs with childhood memories.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s young Joe lived in a modest Jewish-American family in Rockaway Beach. His mother always listened to Breakfast with Irene and Roger. His father kept his occupation secret. Joe later found out that he was ashamed of being a taxi driver. Other family members were Uncle Abe and Aunt Ceil, grandpa and grandma, and Aunt Bea. The latter was a serial dater, always on the lookout for a potential husband.
Joe's own favourite radio show was The Masked Avenger. It made him dream of buying a secret decoder ring. In Joe's fantasy the Masked Avenger looked like a hero, but in reality the voice actor was short and bald. Other radio memories are stories about sporting heroes, news bulletins about World War II, a report of an extraterrestrial invasion, and a live report of the search for a little girl who fell into a well.
With his friends from school Joe was searching for German aircraft, but instead they saw a woman undressing in her bedroom. She later turned out to be their substitute teacher. Alone on the coast Joe saw a German U-boat, but he decided not to tell anyone because they wouldn't believe him.
Joe collected stories of radio stars, including that of Sally White, whose dreams of becoming famous were hampered by her bad voice and accent. Starting as a cigar salesgirl she got stuck on the roof of the radio building with Roger, who was cheating on Irene. After she witnessed a crime the gangster Rocco wanted to kill her, but following his mother's advice he ended up using his connections to further her career. She finally became a reporter of celebrity gossip.
On New Year's Eve Joe was brought down from his room to celebrate the transition to 1944. Simultaneously the radio stars gathered on the roof of their building. The narrator concludes that he will never forget those radio voices, although with each passing of a New Year's Eve they seem to glow dimmer and dimmer.
- Woody Allen as Joe, the Narrator
- Hy Anzell as Mr. Waldbaum
- Seth Green as Young Joe
- Danny Aiello as Rocco
- Sydney Blake as Miss 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
- Julie Kurnitz as Irene Draper
- Renée Lippin as Aunt Ceil
- William Magerman as Grandpa
- Judith Malina as Mrs. Waldbaum
- Brian Mannain as Kirby Kyle
- Kenneth Mars as Rabbi Baumel
- Helen Miller as Mrs. Needleman
- Josh Mostel as Uncle Abe
- Don Pardo as "Guess That Tune" Host
- Tony Roberts as "Silver Dollar" Emcee
- Martin Rosenblatt as Mr. Needleman
- Rebecca Schaeffer as Communists' Daughter
- Roger Schwinghammer as Richard
- Wallace Shawn as Masked Avenger
- Martin Sherman as Radio Actor
- Mike Starr as Burglar
- Michael Tucker as Father
- David Warrilow as Roger Daley
- Kenneth Welsh as Radio Voice
- Dianne Wiest as Aunt Bea
|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 Getting 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|
Radio Days currently holds a "Fresh" 90% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7.9/10 from 29 reviews. 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 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."
According to his brother-in-law Jan Harlan, Stanley Kubrick loved Radio Days so much that he watched it "twice within two days, because 'it was like watching a home movie,' he told me... He absolutely adored it."
Awards and NominationsEdit
|1987||Academy Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Woody Allen||Nominated|||
|Best Art Direction||Art Direction: Santo Loquasto
Set Decoration: Carol Joffe, Leslie Bloom, George DeTitta Jr.
|1987||British Academy Film Awards||Best Film||Robert Greenhut, Woody Allen||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actress||Dianne Wiest||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Woody Allen||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Santo Loquasto||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Jeffery Kurland||Won|
|Best Editing||Susan E. Morse||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Robert Hein, James Sabat, Lee Dichter||Nominated|
|1987||Writers Guild of America Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Woody Allen||Nominated|
- "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 Life and Legend of Stanley Kubrick: A Panel". YouTube. Blueprint Cinema. July 16, 2016.
- "The 60th Academy Awards (1988) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Radio Days - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- Woody Allen On Location by Thierry de Navacelle (Morrow, 1987); a day-to-day account of the making of Radio Days