AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Brewster's Millions
Director: Walter Hill (Dir)
Release Date:   22 May 1985
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 May 1985
Production Date:   30 Apr--8 Aug 1984 in Los Angeles and New York City
Duration (in mins):   101
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Cast:   Richard Pryor (Montgomery Brewster) in
    John Candy (Spike Nolan)  
    Lonette McKee (Angela Drake)  
    Stephen Collins (Warren Cox)  
    Jerry Orbach (Charley Pegler)  
    Pat Hingle (Edward Roundfield)  
    Tovah Feldshuh (Marilyn)  
  and Hume Cronyn (Rupert Horn)  
    Joe Grifasi (J. B. Donaldo)  
    Peter Jason (Chuck Fleming)  
    David White (George Granville)  
    Jerome Dempsey (Norris Baxter)  
    David Wohl (Eugene Provost)  
    Ji-Tu Cumbuka (Melvin)  
    Milt Kogan (Heller)  
    Carmine Caridi (Salvino)  
    Yakov Smirnoff (Vladimir)  
    Rick Moranis (Morty King)  
    Gloria Charles (Astrid)  
    Yana Nirvana (Louise)  
    Grand Bush (Rudy)  
    Conrad Janis (Businessman in car)  
    Rosetta Le Noire (Judge)  
    Joseph Leon (Stamp store proprietor)  
    Robert Ellenstein (Mr. Carter)  
    Reni Santoni (Vin Rapelito)  
    Alan Autry (Biff Brown)  
    Joseph G. Medalis (Bank executive)  
    Malachy McCourt (George the doorman)  
    Roger Til (Maitre d')  
    Allan Miller (Political newscaster)  
    Mike Hagerty (Furniture warehouseman)  
    Kelly Yaegermann (Law office receptionist)  
    Regina Hooks (Tina)  
    Allan Graf (Camden Brave)  
    Archie Hahn (Iceberg man)  
    Jeffrey Mylett (Tailor)  
    Richard Hochberg (Tailor)  
    R. D. Call (Courtroom guard)  
    Frank Slaten (Bailiff)  
  Journalists at rally: Lin Shaye    
    Wesley Thompson    
    Strawn Bovee    
  [and] Matt Landers    
    Kip Waldo (Heckler at rally)  
    Shaka Cumbuka (Heckler at rally)  
    Brad Sanders (Luther)  
    Bill McConnell (Plaza bartender)  
    Margot Rose (Torchy's waitress)  
    Joel Weiss (Paparazzo)  
    Candy Jennings (Pretty woman in bar)  
    Bennie Bobbins (Hackensack Bulls coach)  
  Hackensack Bulls: Gary Alexander (Johnson)  
    Joey Banks (Wilson)  
    Steven Benson (Benson)  
  [and] Mike Paciorek (Scharf)  
  Yankees: Ken Medlock (Dixon)  
    Robbie T. Robinson (Mitchell)  
  [and] Ken Knighten (3rd batter)  
    Hank Robinson (Yankee game umpire)  
    Arthur Reichle (Minor league umpire)  

Summary: At a Minor League baseball game in Hackensack, New Jersey, pitcher Montgomery Brewster, of the Hackensack Bulls, notices a man in the stands taking his picture and mistakenly believes he is being scouted by the Major League. Celebrating their victory at a bar following the game, Brewster and his friend, catcher Spike Nolan, get into a brawl and are arrested. However, J. B. Donaldo, the man who has been watching Brewster, posts bail for the two men, then drives them to New York City. There, Brewster meets a group of lawyers who inform him that his great uncle, Rupert Horn, has named him sole heir of a great fortune. Watching a home movie filmed before his great uncle’s death, Brewster learns the unusual conditions of the will. In an attempt to make Brewster hate spending money, Rupert demands that his heir liquidate $30 million in thirty days. If Brewster succeeds, he will receive the full inheritance of $300 million, but he must prove that his only remaining assets are the clothes on his back. After hearing several other rules for spending the money, including not telling his friends why he is spending it, Brewster is offered a $1 million escape clause, but he accepts the challenge for $300 million. The lawyers assign Brewster an accounting paralegal named Angela Drake to keep track of his spending, but he is warned not to reveal the truth to her or he will forfeit the inheritance. Brewster sets out with his friend, Spike, to start spending the money, and perplexes Spike with his careless decisions. Brewster buys new uniforms for the Hackensack Bulls, and arranges for them to play the New York Yankees at month’s end. As Brewster hires people to perform various jobs, invites groups of people on the street to lunch, and causes a ruckus around New York City, news crews begin to follow the new multi-millionaire. He soon sets up shop at a luxury hotel and begins a flirtation with Angela Drake, who is uninterested in his advances. When Angela’s lawyer fiancé, Warren Cox, comes to visit her at the hotel, he compliments the decor and explains his knowledge of decorating came from his former wife, Marilyn, an interior designer. Brewster offers to hire him and Marilyn to redecorate his hotel room, and Warren accepts, much to Angela’s chagrin. Warren, who works at the law firm overseeing Brewster’s inheritance, asks for a leave of absence to work for Brewster, and the lawyers order him to act as a spy. At the hotel, Brewster is hounded by artists and inventors, answering his call for ideas. As he invests in every witless plan, Spike and Angela are aghast and later stage an intervention to encourage Brewster to hire a financial advisor, but his spending continues. Elsewhere, the law firm continues their surveillance of Brewster in hopes that he will fail and the firm will get to keep the $300 million. The lawyers reveal the truth about Brewster’s money to Warren, and bribe him with a partnership, ordering him to create an accounting error that will forfeit Brewster’s inheritance. Meanwhile, the strain of keeping the secret from Angela and Spike troubles Brewster. Despite his seemingly worthless investments, Brewster makes huge profits. In an effort to spend, he runs for mayor and pays for the expensive campaign advertising while turning down contributions, and begins to make a dent in his fortune. On game day against the Yankees, the Minor league Bulls hold their own, but the Yankees win and Brewster, learning he’s a favorite to win the mayoral election, addresses the fans that he is pulling out of the race. The day also marks the end of his baseball career, and he invites the fans back to his hotel for a party, where he spends his last $38,000. Angela completes her accounting of Brewster’s money, and he invites her to be his date to the party, but she is furious at his careless actions. After she storms away, Brewster admits his love for her. At the party, Spike takes up a collection to give to his bankrupt friend, but Brewster turns down the money. Minutes before Brewster returns to the law firm to claim his inheritance, Warren shows up and returns $20,000, claiming the money was his interior decorator’s deposit, thereby ruining Brewster’s chance at the $300 million. In the conference room, Brewster admits his defeat. Watching through a window, Warren waits in anticipation and reveals the truth of the past month’s events to Angela, who rushes to Brewster’s defense. Warren insults Angela, prompting Brewster to punch him, and the lawyer vows to sue. Brewster offers Angela the $20,000 as a retainer fee for being his lawyer, and she quickly writes him a receipt before the clock strikes midnight and his time expires. Brewster is awarded the full $300 million inheritance and walks away with Angela. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Production Text: A Lawrence Gordon-Joel Silver Production
A Walter Hill Film
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures (An MCA Company)
Director: Walter Hill (Dir)
  Gene Levy (Unit prod mgr)
  Beau Marks (1st asst dir)
  Emmitt-Leon O'Neil (2d asst dir)
  Mike Rauch (Unit prod mgr, New York Crew)
  J. Tom Archuleta (2d asst dir)
Producer: Lawrence Gordon (Prod)
  Joel Silver (Prod)
  Gene Levy (Exec prod)
  Mae Woods (Assoc prod)
Writer: Herschel Weingrod (Scr)
  Timothy Harris (Scr)
Photography: Ric Waite (Dir of photog)
  Charles F. Wheeler (Addl photog by)
  Rick Neff (Cam op)
  Dick Colean (Cam op)
  Baird Steptoe (Cam asst)
  Ricky Mention (Cam asst)
  Bobby Altman (Cam asst)
  Stephen Vaughan (Still photog)
  Ray Kinzer (Key grip)
  Tim Brennan (Best boy)
  Ken Tosic (Best boy)
  Michael Orefice (Best boy)
  Don Whipple, Jr. (Dolly grip)
  Albert Ramos (Dolly grip)
  Derek Garth (Grip)
  Carl Boles (Key gaffer)
  Harley Christiansen (Lamp op)
  Ron Ash (Lamp op)
  LeRoy Patton (Collaborative dir of photog, New York crew)
  Panavision® (Panaflex® camera and lenses by)
Art Direction: John Vallone (Prod des)
  William Hiney, Jr. (Art dir)
Film Editor: Freeman Davies (Ed)
  Michael Ripps (Ed)
  Carmel Davies (Asst film ed)
  Robert Hernandez (Asst film ed)
  Howard Heard (Asst film ed)
  Yoko Seto (Apprentice film ed)
  Jim Garrett (Apprentice film ed)
  Donah Bassett (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Richard C. Goddard (Set dec)
  John Zemansky (Prop master)
  Ed Villa (Prop asst)
  Edmund Villa (Asst prop master)
  Chuck Setin (Asst prop master)
  Dean Wilson (Asst prop master)
  John Lattanzio (Const coord)
  Jim Davis (Const foreman)
  Jimmy J. Hinkle (Prod painter)
  Rudy Bonner (Standby painter)
  Ron Chambers (Leadman)
  John Schacht (Leadman)
  Mike Rutgard (Leadman)
  Jim Picciolo (Leadman)
  Jesse Johnson (Leadman)
  Louis Conway (Leadman)
  Marjorie Stone (Set des)
  Cate Bangs (Set des)
Costumes: Marilyn Vance (Cost des)
  Basco by Gene Pressman and Lance Karesh (Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:)
  Basile (Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:)
  Jhane Barnes (Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:)
  Kilgour French & Stanbury (Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:)
  Perry Ellis (Clothes from Barney's New York, representing:)
  Dan Moore (Men's cost supv)
  Barbara Siebert-Bolticoff (Women's cost supv)
  Brian Callahan (Men's set costumer)
  Stephanie Colin (Women's set costumer)
  Alice Daniels (Mr. Pryor's costumer)
  Lantz Fuller (Men`s ward)
  Murray Lantz (Men`s ward)
Music: Ry Cooder (Mus)
  Jim Henrikson (Mus ed)
  Kathy Bennett (Asst mus ed)
Sound: Jim Webb (Prod sd mixer)
  Scott Senechal (Boom op)
  Stephan Hunter Flick (Supv sd ed)
  John Dunn (Sd ed)
  Bonnie Koehler (Sd ed)
  Stephen Purvis (Sd ed)
  Destiny Borden (Asst sd ed)
  John Pospisil (Asst sd ed)
  Donald Flick (Foley ed)
  Linda Whittlesey (Foley ed)
  Vince Melandri (ADR ed)
  Diane Marshall (Foley by)
  Hilda Hodges (Foley by)
  Robert L. Hoyt (Re-rec mixer)
  John J. Stephens (Re-rec mixer)
  T. A. Moore, Jr. (Re-rec mixer)
  Ronald R. Harris (ADR mixer)
  Greg Lowe (ADR rec)
  Raechel Donahue (Vocal eff adv)
  Joseph D. Blair (Re-rec)
  David W. Gray (Dolby Stereo consultant)
  Dolby Stereo® in Selected Theatres (Sd)
  Malcolm Morris (Rec)
Special Effects: Clay Pinney (Spec eff)
  Universal Title (Opt eff and mont)
  R/Greenberg Associates, Inc., New York City (Titles and visual eff des and prod by)
Make Up: Michael Germain (Makeup artist)
  Tony Lloyd (Mr. Pryor's make-up)
  Dagmar Loesch (Hairstylist)
  Julia Walker (Mr. Pryor's hair stylist)
  Joe McKinney (Makeup)
Production Misc: Judith Holstra (Casting)
  Marcia Ross (Casting)
  Stephanie Novik (Casting asst)
  Elaine K. Thompson (Prod assoc)
  Rafe Blasi (Pub coord)
  Central Casting (Extras casting)
  Jim Green (Extras casting, Central Casting)
  Carl Joy (Extras casting, Central Casting)
  Luca Kouimelis (Scr supv)
  Rich Rosenberg (Loc mgr)
  Lisbeth Wynn-Owen (Prod coord)
  Nancy Aprile (Cost estimator)
  Suzanne Nupoff (Asst to Lawrence Gordon)
  Ron Rotholz (Asst to Joel Silver )
  Deborah Johnson (Asst to Walter Hill)
  Harriet Monroe (Asst to Gene Levy)
  Kimberly Sizemore (Asst to Richard Pryor)
  Rashon Khan (Asst to Richard Pryor)
  Paul Mooney (Prod consultant)
  Anthony Gibson (Prod asst)
  Amy Tebo (Prod asst)
  David Kohan (Prod asst)
  Jason Clark (DGA intern)
  Ronnie Baker (Transportation coord)
  Russ Dwyer (Transportation capt)
  Jim Sparger (Driver)
  George Callandrillo (Driver)
  Preston Simms (Craft service)
  Cinema Catering (Caterer)
  Sergio Hernandez (Caterer)
  Jose Jimenez (Caterer)
  Sylvia Fay (Extras casting, New York crew)
  Michael Dick (Loc mgr, New York crew)
  Jackie McEvoy (Prod office coord, New York crew)
  Amy Luder (Asst to the prod)
  Adena Feldman (Secy to prod)
  Ron Rotholz (Prod asst)
  Karen McFadden (Account asst)
  Brad Siniard (First aid)
  Fred Inman (Police coord)
  Lansing Parker (Atmosphere coord)
  John Flynn (Athletes registry)
  John Forse (Athletes registry)
Stand In: Bennie Dobbins (Stunt coord)
  Ron Oliney (Stand-in)
  Ed Walker (Stand-in)
  Candy Jennings (Stand-in)
  Sean McCaughy (Stand-in)
  Tony Lattanzio (Stand-in)
Color Personnel: Aubrey Head (Supv col consultant)
  Terry P. Haggar (Col consultant)
  Larry Rovetti (Daily col consultant)
  Rob Hummel (Daily col consultant)
  Technicolor, Inc.® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: “In the Nick of Time,” words and music by Huey Lewis and Ry Cooder, performed by Patti LaBelle, courtesy of MCA Records, INC.
Composer: Ry Cooder
  Huey Lewis
Source Text: Based on the novel Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon (New York, 1902).
Authors: George Barr McCutcheon

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal City Studios, Inc. 15/7/1985 dd/mm/yyyy PA252489

PCA NO: 27741
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
  Lenses: Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®

Genre: Comedy
Subjects (Major): Baseball
  Idle rich
Subjects (Minor): Accountants
  Baseball players
  New York City
  New York Yankees (Baseball team)
  Political campaigns
  Yankee Stadium (New York City)

Note: The film begins with the following prologue: “This is the story of Montgomery Brewster, a relief pitcher in the minor leagues of life, who got handed the American Dream...on a very hot plate.”
       On 9 Jul 1982, DV announced filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich planned to include Brewster’s Millions among the six independent pictures he scheduled for 1983; the projects were funded through a $20 million deal with U.S. and foreign investors. Based on the 1902 George Barr McCutcheon bestselling novel, Brewster’s Millions, the film had been previously remade in the U.S. four times, in 1914, 1921, 1935, and 1945 (see entries), as well as in 1926 as Miss Brewster’s Millions (see entry), and in England, under the title Three on a Spree (1961). Bogdanovich’s version was reportedly most similar to Allan Dwan’s 1945 release, which was also based on a 1906 theatrical adaptation by Winchell Smith and Bryon Ongley. Bogdanovich’s Brewster’s Millions was scheduled to begin filming early 1983, in TX. According to a 16 May 1984 Var article, screen rights for the property were acquired by Lawrence Gordon Productions in 1982.
       The project remained in limbo nearly two years until a 16 Mar 1984 LAT article reported that Brewster’s Millions was set to mark Universal Pictures’ first film under the guidance of its new president, Frank Price. At that time, Bogdanovich was no longer associated with the picture, as Walter Hill was listed as director, and Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver were named producers. LAT noted that Richard Pryor, who had been cast in the role of “Montgomery Brewster,” was one of Frank Price’s main assets when he was head of Columbia Pictures, and he was therefore able to lure the star to Universal based on their past relationship. Screenwriters Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod had recently achieved box-office success with the 1983 release Trading Places, which shared the theme of an African American man being initiated into the lifestyle of a millionaire. The 16 May 1984 Var article, which announced the casting of comedian John Candy as “Spike Nolan,” stated that that the film was budgeted at $15 million.
       Although LAT reported that principal photography would begin 16 Apr 1984, the 24 Apr 1984 HR announced that filming was pushed back one week to start 30 Apr 1984, in San Pedro, CA. Production notes in AMPAS library files maintained that filming ultimately began that day at Universal Studios soundstages in Los Angeles, CA, not in San Pedro, and production ended 8 Aug 1984 after three weeks of location work in New York City. HR noted that shooting in Los Angeles was scheduled to end before the Olympic Games began, as the festivities were hosted in the city that summer. Additional locations listed in production notes included Los Angeles’ L’Orangerie restaurant and the Biltmore Hotel, while New York City sites included the Cartier boutique on Fifth Avenue and the Plaza Hotel.
       A multi-city premiere on 21 May 1985 in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, and New York City was scheduled to benefit the victims of famine in Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Ghana. The events were sponsored by the Black American Response to the African Crisis and Richard Pryor’s Indigo Productions, as announced in the 16 Mar 1985 LAT.
       The picture opened domestically 22 May 1985 to mixed, fairly negative reviews. Many critics noted Pryor’s unsuccessful departure from his biting, vulgar comedic routines to his overly charming and sanguine performance in Brewster’s Millions. While the Aug 1985 Box complained the film was a “perplexing disappointment,” it reported a $9.9 million gross its first week in 1,521 theaters, and net earnings of $24 million after nineteen days.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   Aug 1985.   
Daily Variety   9 Jul 1982   p. 1, 21.
Daily Variety   31 Aug 1984.   
Hollywood Reporter   24 Apr 1984.   
Hollywood Reporter   20 May 1985   p. 3, 10.
Los Angeles Times   16 Mar 1985.   
Los Angeles Times   22 May 1985   p. 1, 4.
New York Times   22 May 1985   p. 23.
Variety   16 May 1984   p. 44, 137.
Variety   22 May 1985   p. 14.

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