"Who cares about what's on the flip side of the record'"--Beth (Ellen Barkin) "I do!"
- Shrevie (Daniel Stern)
Variety - 03/02/1982
"...[The actors are] terrific as the friends. Each etches out their individual predicament with wonderful subtlety..."
New York Times - 04/02/1982
"Movies like DINER -- fresh, well-acted and energetic American movies by new directors with the courage of their convictions -- are an endangered species....The sort of small, honest, entertaining movie that should never go out of style..."
Uncut - 05/01/2006 5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t begins by lampooning masculine insecurity and bravado, and ends up by making sincere grown-up statements about them. A smart-mouthed but tender classic."
Barry Levinson's (TIN MEN, AVALON) directorial debut chronicles the relationships between a group of friends living in Baltimore in 1959. The uniting factor for this group is their fear of growing up. They spend hour after hour in the local greasy-spoon diner, joking, boasting, bragging, and ultimately escaping reality. Ladies' man Boogie (Mickey Rourke), a hairdresser by day and law student by night, is also in over his head with the local bookie. Momma's boy Eddie (Steve Guttenberg) is about to get married--but only if his fiancée passes a football trivia test. Shrevie (Daniel Stern) is married to Beth (Ellen Barkin) but is more comfortable hanging out with his friends and organizing his record collection. Graduate student Billy (Timothy Daly) is trying to sort out his own love life. And Fenwick (Kevin Bacon) is a poor little rich boy with a warped sense of humor and no direction. Paul Reiser rounds out the group as the nagging but funny Modell.
A group of buddies hangs out in their neighborhood diner, whiling away the time joshing, bragging, and whining. But beneath the jokes runs a current of fear and disappointment over adulthood.
Character Study |
Coming Of Age |
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical release: April 2, 1982.
Filmed in Baltimore, Maryland.
DINER is number 57 on the American Film Institute's list of America's 100 Funniest Movies.
Michael Tucker appears as Bagel in DINER and reprises the role in Levinson's film TIN MEN.
Paul Reiser and Timothy Daly made their film debuts in DINER, which also marked Ellen Barkin's first credited appearance in a motion picture.
Baltimore Colts assistant general manager Ernie Accorsi was asked to come up with 20 questions that would be part of the prewedding football test. (The test supposedly consisted of 100 questions in the film, but only 20 were actually written down. Accorsi claimed they were so difficult that even the most dedicated Colts fans would never be able to pass.) He never received a film credit for the work. In 2001, Accorsi was the general manager of the New York Giants, who lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. The Baltimore Ravens were owned by Art Modell; Paul Reiser plays a character named Modell in DINER, which was filmed in Baltimore.
The scene with Boogie in the movie theater with the popcorn is a cinema classic.