Streamers (1983)

R | 118 mins | Drama | 4 November 1983

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HISTORY

       The 5 Jul 1983 DV reported that financier Nick J. Mileti of International Distributors, Inc., purchased worldwide rights for $3 million, following three months of negotiations, which concluded 27 Jun 1983. The picture, which producer-director Robert Altman also financed, was shot in Dallas, TX, during spring 1983. Streamers was in postproduction at the time of the article, and was scheduled to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, on 31 Aug 1983. Cinecom International, with whom Altman had a “three-picture distribution deal,” hoped to acquire domestic rights, but lost to United Artists Classics, as announced in the 7 Sep 1983, HR and DV. Manson International’s acquisition of “worldwide licensing rights” was reported in the 14 Sep 1983 HR.
       The Venice premiere of Streamers attracted an overflow crowd, with some of the audience seated on the floor of the 1,400-seat theater. The six principal cast members, Guy Boyd, George Dzundza, David Alan Grier, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Matthew Modine, and Michael Wright, shared a Golden Lion award, an unprecedented honor in the festival’s forty-year history, according to the 13 Sep 1983 DV. Heading the panel of judges was filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci. A news item in the 20 Dec 1983 HR noted that festival officials were unwilling to incur the expense of issuing six award plaques, so Altman and Mileti ordered duplicates from a Los Angeles, CA, trophy shop as Christmas presents for the actors.
       The picture closed the New York Film Festival on 9 Oct 1983 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, ... More Less

       The 5 Jul 1983 DV reported that financier Nick J. Mileti of International Distributors, Inc., purchased worldwide rights for $3 million, following three months of negotiations, which concluded 27 Jun 1983. The picture, which producer-director Robert Altman also financed, was shot in Dallas, TX, during spring 1983. Streamers was in postproduction at the time of the article, and was scheduled to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, on 31 Aug 1983. Cinecom International, with whom Altman had a “three-picture distribution deal,” hoped to acquire domestic rights, but lost to United Artists Classics, as announced in the 7 Sep 1983, HR and DV. Manson International’s acquisition of “worldwide licensing rights” was reported in the 14 Sep 1983 HR.
       The Venice premiere of Streamers attracted an overflow crowd, with some of the audience seated on the floor of the 1,400-seat theater. The six principal cast members, Guy Boyd, George Dzundza, David Alan Grier, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Matthew Modine, and Michael Wright, shared a Golden Lion award, an unprecedented honor in the festival’s forty-year history, according to the 13 Sep 1983 DV. Heading the panel of judges was filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci. A news item in the 20 Dec 1983 HR noted that festival officials were unwilling to incur the expense of issuing six award plaques, so Altman and Mileti ordered duplicates from a Los Angeles, CA, trophy shop as Christmas presents for the actors.
       The picture closed the New York Film Festival on 9 Oct 1983 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, as reported in the 12 Oct 1983 DV. Much of the audience left during the first hour, although those staying to the end applauded the actors as their names appeared on screen. Afterward, Mileti delivered a ten-minute “self-congratulatory” address, which the audience reportedly greeted with hisses. He was joined onstage by screenwriter David Rabe, several cast members, and Katharine Altman, appearing on behalf of her father, Robert Altman, who was on location with another project. The article described the screening as “the least well-received fest closer in memory.”
       Streamers opened 4 Nov 1983 in Los Angeles to mixed reviews. The Jan 1984 Box estimated receipts of $12,000 after seven days in a single Los Angeles theater, which compared favorably to the film’s New York City engagement.
       News items in the 9 Mar 1988 Var and 11 Mar 1988 HR stated that Altman filed suit against Mileti for unpaid fees. According to an agreement signed 17 Jun 1983, Altman was to receive $400,000 as producer and director, and fifty percent of gross receipts. Mileti allegedly refused to make the payments, as well as residuals to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). Altman sought indemnity for the residuals, along with an “unspecified” amount for damages and full accounting of gross receipts. The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
      End credits include the following statements: "Special thanks to Major Jim Brackenridge and the Sam Houston Rifles"; "The World Premiere of Streamers was presented at the Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut"; "First New York production by the New York Shakespeare Festival; produced by Joseph Papp, directed by Mike Nichols"; and, "Filmed at The Studios at Las Colinas, Dallas, Texas."
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1984
p. 47.
Daily Variety
5 Jul 1983
p. 1, 17.
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1983.
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1983.
---
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1983.
---
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1983
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1983
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1983
p. 1, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1983
p. 3, 31.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1983
Section J, p. 1, 15.
New York Times
9 Oct 1983
p. 73.
Variety
6 Jul 1983
p. 6, 34.
Variety
7 Sep 1983
p. 17.
Variety
9 Mar 1988.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Nick J. Mileti Presents
A Robert Altman Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Const coord
COSTUMES
Costumer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec
Trans/Audio, Inc.
Sd ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des by
MAKEUP
Barber
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col and prints by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Streamers by David Rabe (New Haven, 1975).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Boy From New York City," performed by The Ad Libs, written by George Davis and John Taylor, courtesy of Trio Music Co., Inc.
"Boys In The Attic," performed by Ellie Greenwich, written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Kent and Rob Parissi, courtesy of My Own Publishing, Inc., Jent Music and Parissi Music
"What A Guy," performed by The Raindrops, written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, courtesy of Hudson Bay Music Co.
+
SONGS
"Boy From New York City," performed by The Ad Libs, written by George Davis and John Taylor, courtesy of Trio Music Co., Inc.
"Boys In The Attic," performed by Ellie Greenwich, written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Kent and Rob Parissi, courtesy of My Own Publishing, Inc., Jent Music and Parissi Music
"What A Guy," performed by The Raindrops, written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, courtesy of Hudson Bay Music Co.
"Let's Go Together," performed by The Raindrops, written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, courtesy of Trio Music Co.
"The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget," performed by The Raindrops, written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, courtesy of Trio Music Co.
"I'm Gonna Make You Mine," performed by Alan Braunstein, written by Alan Braunstein, courtesy of Big Al Music
["Beautiful Dreamer," written by Stephen Foster.]
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 November 1983
Premiere Information:
Venice Film Festival premiere: 31 August 1983
New York Film Festival screening: 9 October 1983
Los Angeles opening: 4 November 1983
Production Date:
spring 1983
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27118
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a United States Army barracks near Washington, D.C., two soldiers, Rooney and Cokes plant a firecracker under the bed of a fellow soldier, and recall a bridge they destroyed during their recent tour of duty in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a young soldier named Martin slits his wrist in hope of being discharged. His friend, Richie Douglas, bandages the wound and leads Martin to the infirmary. Two of their barracks mates, Billy a white midwesterner, and Roger, an African-American, contemplate the unpleasant prospect of being deployed to Vietnam. When Richie returns from the infirmary, he invites Billy to spend a romantic evening with him. Billy is annoyed, but Roger insists that Richie is only joking. While Billy telephones his ailing father, an African-American soldier named Carlyle invites Roger to a bowling alley. Roger declines, explaining that he and Billy are expected to clean the barracks. Carlyle berates him for succumbing to white authority, then teases Richie for his effeminate behavior. Billy returns following Carlyle’s departure, and they discuss the prospect of fighting in Vietnam. Billy supports the war, while Richie fears deployment, having heard of the atrocities perpetrated by the Viet Cong. He also envies the close friendship between Billy and Roger, lamenting the absence of a similar relationship in his own life. Rooney and Cokes return to the barracks drunk, and reminisce about their exploits as paratroopers. Cokes recounts an incident in which a fellow soldier fell to his death following a parachute malfunction, and another in which he trapped a Vietnamese soldier in a “spider hole” with a live hand grenade. Rooney and Cokes ... +


In a United States Army barracks near Washington, D.C., two soldiers, Rooney and Cokes plant a firecracker under the bed of a fellow soldier, and recall a bridge they destroyed during their recent tour of duty in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a young soldier named Martin slits his wrist in hope of being discharged. His friend, Richie Douglas, bandages the wound and leads Martin to the infirmary. Two of their barracks mates, Billy a white midwesterner, and Roger, an African-American, contemplate the unpleasant prospect of being deployed to Vietnam. When Richie returns from the infirmary, he invites Billy to spend a romantic evening with him. Billy is annoyed, but Roger insists that Richie is only joking. While Billy telephones his ailing father, an African-American soldier named Carlyle invites Roger to a bowling alley. Roger declines, explaining that he and Billy are expected to clean the barracks. Carlyle berates him for succumbing to white authority, then teases Richie for his effeminate behavior. Billy returns following Carlyle’s departure, and they discuss the prospect of fighting in Vietnam. Billy supports the war, while Richie fears deployment, having heard of the atrocities perpetrated by the Viet Cong. He also envies the close friendship between Billy and Roger, lamenting the absence of a similar relationship in his own life. Rooney and Cokes return to the barracks drunk, and reminisce about their exploits as paratroopers. Cokes recounts an incident in which a fellow soldier fell to his death following a parachute malfunction, and another in which he trapped a Vietnamese soldier in a “spider hole” with a live hand grenade. Rooney and Cokes sing “Beautiful Streamer,” set to the melody of “Beautiful Dreamer,” about a soldier facing death when his parachute fails to open. Cokes collapses, but denies his chronic fainting spells are caused by leukemia. Rooney declares that he and Cokes have already survived two wars and intend to survive this one as well. Later, Roger, Richie, and Billy retire to their bunks. Billy speaks of his friend, Frank, with whom he used to promote free drinks from homosexual men. Although Billy refused their sexual advances, Frank eventually submitted. Carlyle enters the barracks, drunk and despondent, and falls asleep on the floor. The next day, Richie watches through a window as Roger and Billy play basketball outside, while a group of soldiers play poker on the opposite end of the room. Martin enters the barracks, empties his locker, and extends his middle finger toward the others as he leaves. Carlyle returns, apologizes for his behavior the previous night, and questions Richie about his sexuality. Though Richie refuses to answer, Carlyle harasses him, then apologizes again, blaming his behavior on boredom and restlessness. Billy witnesses the exchange and complains about Carlyle’s erratic behavior to Roger. However, Roger argues that Billy is simply unaccustomed to inner-city culture and needs to keep an open mind. While Roger is in the shower, Richie outrages Billy by asking if “Frank” was an allegorical stand-in for Billy’s own homosexual tendencies. Roger emerges from the shower, saying he plans to drive into Washington with Carlyle to visit a brothel, and invites his two barracks mates to come along. Billy accepts, despite his reservations about Carlyle, and Richie watches longingly as they leave. Hours later, Roger, Billy, and Carlyle return to the barracks, and Richie joins them as they drink beer and talk about their families. A flirtation ensues between Carlyle and Richie, and they ask Billy and Roger to leave so they can be alone. Both men refuse to condone a homosexual tryst in their barracks, but Carlyle ignores them and orders Richie to get on his knees. Billy throws a shoe at Carlyle, who counters by cutting Billy’s palm with a knife. Billy hurls epithets at both Richie and Carlyle, prompting the latter to stab him in the gut. Roger runs to Billy’s side as he lays dying. An inebriated Rooney enters, and upon seeing the bloody knife, threatens Carlyle with a beer bottle. Carlyle stabs Rooney repeatedly and runs from the barracks. Richie goes for help and returns with two officers, Dr. Banes, and an orderly. As the doctor declares both victims dead, two military policeman escort Carlyle into the barracks. Roger and Richie identify Carlyle as the assailant, though both claim ignorance over what triggered the incident. Carlyle denies guilt, then asks the officers to release him, as he is quitting the army. Carlyle is taken into custody and the barracks is placed under quarantine. Afterward, Roger admonishes Richie for not being honest about his homosexuality, then assures him that his attraction to Billy was not reciprocated. Cokes climbs through a window looking for Rooney, and describes an auto accident they witnessed earlier in the evening, in which a pedestrian was run over by an unmanned car. Upset by the murders, Richie sobs into his pillow, prompting Cokes to ask why he is upset. Rather than tell Cokes of his friend’s death, Roger admits that Richie is gay. Cokes says there are worse things, such as having leukemia. He thinks back on the people he has killed, and is tortured by the memory of the Vietnamese soldier in the spider hole. He imagines the man singing “Beautiful Streamers” in the final moments before his death. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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