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Studs Lonigan is a novel trilogy by American author James T. Farrell: Young Lonigan (1932), The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan (1934), and Judgment Day (1935). In 1998, the Modern Library ranked the Studs Lonigan trilogy at 29th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Studs Lonigan
Studs Lonigan poster.jpg
Directed byIrving Lerner
Produced byPhilip Yordan
Written byPhilip Yordan
StarringChristopher Knight
Frank Gorshin
Jack Nicholson
Venetia Stevenson
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyHaskell Wexler
Edited byVerna Fields
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • October 22, 1960 (1960-10-22)
Running time
95 minutes

The trilogy was adapted into a minor 1960 film and a 1979 television miniseries, both of which were simply titled Studs Lonigan.



Farrell wrote these three novels at a time of national despair. During the Great Depression, many of America's most gifted writers and artists aspired to create a single, powerful work of art that would fully expose the evils of capitalism and lead to a political and economic overhaul of the American system.[citation needed]

Farrell chose to use his own personal knowledge of Irish-American life on the South Side of Chicago to create a portrait of an average American slowly destroyed by the "spiritual poverty" of his environment. Both Chicago and the Catholic Church of that era are described at length and faulted. Farrell describes Studs sympathetically as Studs slowly deteriorates, changing from a tough but fundamentally good-hearted, adventurous teenage boy to an embittered, physically shattered alcoholic.


Parts of Farrell's novels were made into a B movie in 1960, directed by Irving Lerner and starring Christopher Knight in the title role. Other cast members included Frank Gorshin, Venetia Stevenson, and Jack Nicholson (in one of his first movie roles).[1] The film was not widely reviewed. Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker that "it’s an honorable low-budget effort by a group of people trying to break the Hollywood molds, and there are a few passages of daring editing that indicate what the film was aiming for. It’s an underfinanced American attempt at I Vitelloni.[2]


In 1979 Studs Lonigan was produced as a television miniseries starring Harry Hamlin, Colleen Dewhurst, Brad Dourif, Dan Shor, and Charles Durning. Production Designer Jan Scott won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Limited Series or a Special. Reginald Rose wrote the adaptation of the trilogy. The miniseries preserves the novel's tragic ending but humanizes Studs Lonigan's family and friends to a very considerable degree.


The entire miniseries is housed at the University of Georgia's Peabody Collection. The University has made the series available online by using the keyword "Studs Lonigan" in the search box. [3]

Reception and legacyEdit

The American writer Studs Terkel was nicknamed after Studs Lonigan.[4]


  1. ^ Studs Lonigan at the TCM Movie Database
  2. ^ Kael, Pauline. "Studs Lonigan". The New Yorker.
  3. ^ "Brown Media Archive Collection". Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  4. ^ Baker, James Thomas (1992). Studs Terkel. Twayne. p. 15.

External linksEdit