Pennies from Heaven

Watch Pennies from Heaven

"There's a world on both sides of the rainbow where songs come true and every time it rains, it rains Pennies from Heaven."
  • R
  • 1981
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 6.5  (6,082)
  • 64

Pennies from Heaven is a 1981 American musical film directed by Herbert Ross and based on a BBC television series from the 1970s. The movie stars Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, and Jessica Harper. The story takes place during the Great Depression in America and follows Arthur Parker (Steve Martin), a sheet music salesman who lives a dull and unhappy life with his wife (played by Jessica Harper). Arthur is a dreamer and often escapes reality through his love of popular songs from Broadway musicals. He imagines himself as the leading man in these songs and sees life through rose-colored glasses.

One day, Arthur meets Eileen (Bernadette Peters), a schoolteacher and aspiring singer who is also looking for an escape from her mundane life. The two quickly fall in love and share a passion for music and dance. They begin an affair, but it is short-lived, and eventually, they have to say goodbye.

As Arthur’s life spirals downward, he loses his job, his wife, and his home. He is arrested for fraud, and while in jail, he has a vivid dream of himself and Eileen singing and dancing. When he wakes up, he is inspired to make a fresh start and pursue his passion for music.

Arthur starts performing in a bar and meets a young woman named Georgia, whom he sees as a potential replacement for Eileen. But as he becomes more successful, he realizes that his dream of being happy is just that, a dream. He begins to see that life is not a musical, and the line between reality and fantasy is blurred.

This movie is a unique and unconventional musical that is not afraid to tackle difficult themes. The musical numbers are not typical Broadway-style dances with big production numbers but are instead a blend of live-action and animated segments that reflect Arthur’s inner world.

The film's cinematography and set design are stunning and give a nod to the 1930s with its vibrant colors and intricate details. The costumes are also perfect for the period and help transport the audience back to the Great Depression.

Steve Martin gives a surprisingly nuanced performance, shedding his usual comedy persona for a vulnerable and complex character. Bernadette Peters is delightful as always, and her singing is pitch-perfect. Jessica Harper delivers a powerful performance as Arthur's disillusioned and betrayed wife.

Overall, Pennies from Heaven is a melancholic and thought-provoking musical that juxtaposes the harsh realities of daily life with the escapist fantasy of musical numbers. It will make you want to tap your feet and sing your heart out, but it will also leave you with a sense of regret for the characters' unfulfilled dreams. This film is a hidden gem that deserves to be seen by anyone who loves musicals or enjoys films that blend genres.

Pennies from Heaven is a 1981 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 64.

Pennies from Heaven
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (6,082)
  • Metascore