- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 55 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: March 23, 2009
- Originally Released: 1987
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Performers, Cast and Crew:
New York Times - 09/18/1987
"...Very successful....Pakula's achievement is in making a film that's simultaneously theatrical and cinematic..."
Variety - 09/16/1987
"...A peculiar and demanding film....[Anderson acts] with great sensitivity and an aching pathos that's free of mannered affectation..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/24/1987
"...A tender, often beautifully acted film....There's a sweetness about it, a twisted, nervous delicacy..."
Uncut - 08/01/2000
"ORPHANS walks an emotional frontline through anger, revenge and despair, with humour as black as a pallbearer's hat."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Matthew Modine ("And the Band Played On," "Pacific Heights") and Kevin Anderson ("In Country") portray two orphans, a streetwise petty thief and his sheltered brother. They lure a stranger (Albert Finney) to their home to rob him, only to have the stranger "turn the tables" and dramatically change their lives. From the play by Lyle Kessler, featuring performances Leonard Maltin praises as "so powerful," adding "Finney can do no wrong."
ORPHANS stars Albert Finney (THE DRESSER, ANNIE) as a well-dressed affluent-looking drunkard who is abducted for ransom by two despondent teenage brothers. Once in their squalid tenement, however, he ends up becoming a complex father figure to them both. An adaptation of the popular 1985 play by Lyle Kessler, this psychological thriller effectively transports the play's claustrophobic environment to the screen. Matthew Modine (FULL METAL JACKET, BIRDY) and Kevin Anderson round out this emotional three-man show.
Orphaned brothers Treat (Matthew Modine) and Phillip (Kevin Anderson) live in a squalid New Jersey tenement where dominant sibling Treat, so fearful that he will lose his brother keeps him imprisoned in their home and terrorizes him with tales of what would happen were he to go outside. Treat meanwhile works the streets of New York as a petty thief where he meets Harold (Albert Finney), a prosperous-looking drunk. Treat lures Harold to their home, whereupon discovering he's wealthy decides to hold him for ransom. What Treat doesn't know is that Harold is a gangster on the lam and that both he and his brother are actually less in need of his money than his presence as a father figure in their lives. Conveying complex emotional themes, the film--as well as the 1985 Lyle Kessler play that it was based on--enjoyed widespread success.
- Released theatrically in New York City on September 18, 1987.
- Shown at the Toronto Festival of Festivals September 11, 1987.
- Matthew Modine joined the film's cast fresh from Stanley Kubrick's yearlong shoot of FULL METAL JACKET.
- Albert Finney, who saw the play in an off-Broadway performance, was responsible for its subsequent production in London.
- The fate of Albert Finney's character, Harold, was different in the original stage version, which premiered in a small Los Angeles theatre.