My Cousin Vinny (1992)

R | 114 mins | Comedy | 13 March 1992

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HISTORY

A 17 Nov 1990 Screen International brief announced that actor Joe Pesci, who appeared in Twentieth Century Fox’s recent release, Home Alone (1990, see entry), and was filming the studio’s current production, The Super (1991, see entry), would also star as “Vinny Gambini” in Fox’s upcoming My Cousin Vinny, set to shoot in Feb 1991. An 18 Jan 1991 Screen International item added that Ralph Macchio would co-star.
       Principal photography began on 11 Feb 1991, according to the 12 Feb 1991 HR production chart, and took place mostly in Monticello, GA, as noted in the 2 Mar 1992 DV review. Although the bulk of filming was done on location, courtroom scenes were shot on a makeshift soundstage, according to a 6 Mar 1992 HR “Hollywood Report” column. The picture completed on 22 Apr 1991 in Covington, GA, according to a 2 May 1991 DV item. As noted in the 7 May 1991 HR, a release date had not yet been set.
       The film came in slightly under its $11.9 million budget, and as of early Mar 1992, a sequel was already being discussed.
       Critical reception was largely positive, with several reviewers pointing to Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei’s performances as highlights. A 23 Mar 1992 NYT article noted the film had early success at the box office, and was currently vying with Wayne’s World (1992, see entry), for the number two box-office position after Basic Instinct (1992, see entry). The 31 Jan 1993 Philadelphia Inquirer cited a cumulative domestic box-office gross ... More Less

A 17 Nov 1990 Screen International brief announced that actor Joe Pesci, who appeared in Twentieth Century Fox’s recent release, Home Alone (1990, see entry), and was filming the studio’s current production, The Super (1991, see entry), would also star as “Vinny Gambini” in Fox’s upcoming My Cousin Vinny, set to shoot in Feb 1991. An 18 Jan 1991 Screen International item added that Ralph Macchio would co-star.
       Principal photography began on 11 Feb 1991, according to the 12 Feb 1991 HR production chart, and took place mostly in Monticello, GA, as noted in the 2 Mar 1992 DV review. Although the bulk of filming was done on location, courtroom scenes were shot on a makeshift soundstage, according to a 6 Mar 1992 HR “Hollywood Report” column. The picture completed on 22 Apr 1991 in Covington, GA, according to a 2 May 1991 DV item. As noted in the 7 May 1991 HR, a release date had not yet been set.
       The film came in slightly under its $11.9 million budget, and as of early Mar 1992, a sequel was already being discussed.
       Critical reception was largely positive, with several reviewers pointing to Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei’s performances as highlights. A 23 Mar 1992 NYT article noted the film had early success at the box office, and was currently vying with Wayne’s World (1992, see entry), for the number two box-office position after Basic Instinct (1992, see entry). The 31 Jan 1993 Philadelphia Inquirer cited a cumulative domestic box-office gross of $52.7 million.
       Austin Pendleton’s portrayal of “John Gibbons,” a stuttering public defender, drew criticisms from the National Stuttering Project (NSP), as noted in the 26 Mar 1992 San Francisco Chronicle. After learning of Marisa Tomei’s Academy Award nomination, NSP chairperson Ira Zimmerman announced plans for a protest at the Academy Awards ceremony. Tomei ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of “Mona Lisa Vito.” No further mention of the planned NSP protest was found in AMPAS library files.
       A 6 Oct 1992 DV news item confirmed that screenwriter Dale Launer was working on a sequel for Twentieth Century Fox. The story involved Vinny Gambini arranging a surprise wedding for his fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, in Paris, France. When another case of mistaken identity leads Mona Lisa to be arrested by Scotland Yard, Vinny is forced to argue her case in a British court. The first draft was expected to be turned in to Fox by the spring of 1993. However, no further mention of the sequel was found in contemporary sources.
       A 14 Aug 2007 HR news brief stated that Indian production company BR Films planned to make an “authorized Indian adaptation” of My Cousin Vinny, and was in the process of obtaining approval from Twentieth Century Fox. HR noted it was a “sign of change in a country where filmmakers rarely obtain official permission” to adapt or remake foreign pictures. However, a 30 Apr 2009 HR item reported that the remake, then titled Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai, or “This Guy Is Cool,” was never officially authorized by Fox, and the studio served BR Films legal notice after determining the Indian company was using “protected elements” from the film and illegally referencing My Cousin Vinny in promotional materials.
       In 1998, Joe Pesci recorded an album of jazz songs, with “some comedy,” inspired by the character Vinny Gambini, titled Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You, as announced in a 25 Jul 1998 Billboard article. The album, which included a song titled “Yo Cousin Vinny,” was set to be released by Columbia Records on 29 Sep 1998. The cover featured Pesci in a red tuxedo, similar to the one he wore in the film.
       End credits include the following statements: “The Major League Baseball trademarks depicted in this motion picture were licensed by Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.”; and, “Special Thanks: Leonard Levine; the Staff and Residents of the Redirection Program at the Lee Arrendale Correctional Institution.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Billboard
25 Jul 1998
p. 12.
Daily Variety
2 May 1991.
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1992
p. 4, 35.
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1992
p. 8, 56.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 2007
p. 6, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 2009.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1992
p. 8.
New York Times
13 Mar 1992
p. 6.
Philadelphia Inquirer
31 Jan 1993
Section N, p. 2.
San Francisco Chronicle
26 Mar 1992.
---
Screen International
17 Nov 1990.
---
Screen International
18 Jan 1991.
---
Variety
9 Mar 1992
p. 55.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jonathan Lynn Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam/Addl cam op
2d asst cam
Addl cam asst
Addl cam asst
Addl cam asst
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Elec
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Rigging gaffer
Rigging grip
Rigging grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Addl 1st asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Draftsman
Leadperson
On set dresser
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Draper
Asst props
Const coord
Const foreman
Gang boss
Scenic chargeman
Lead scenic
On set scenic
Const asst
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Asst carpenter
Asst carpenter
Sign painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Asst painter
Laborer
Laborer
Laborer
Const driver
Const driver
Const driver
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus consultant
Mus editing
Supv mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus clearances
Scoring mixer
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
SOUND
Boom op
Cable op
Sd editing
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
1st asst sd ed
2d asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Sd eff coord
Addl sd eff rec
Foley walker
Foley walker
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Dolby consultant
Voice casting
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
3d eff man
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Mr. Pesci's makeup by
Mr. Pesci's hair by
Key makeup
Asst makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Local casting
Extras casting
Scr supv
Post prod supv
Post prod asst
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Prod coord
Asst coord
Asst to Mr. Schiff
Asst to Mr. Lynn
Asst to Mr. Pesci
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Animal wrangler
Animal wrangler
Magic consultant
First aid nurse
Const first aid
Catering and craft service by
Nashville, Tennessee
Legal tech adv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Way Down South," written by Edgar Winter, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, produced by Barry Beckett for Beckett Productions, courtesy of Epic Associated Records
"Don't Look at My Shadow," written by Steven Sills, produced by Jess Harnell & Chuck Duran, performed by Jess Harnell
"It Just Takes One," written by Jan Buckingham & David Vidal, performed by Prentis Goodwin
+
SONGS
"Way Down South," written by Edgar Winter, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, produced by Barry Beckett for Beckett Productions, courtesy of Epic Associated Records
"Don't Look at My Shadow," written by Steven Sills, produced by Jess Harnell & Chuck Duran, performed by Jess Harnell
"It Just Takes One," written by Jan Buckingham & David Vidal, performed by Prentis Goodwin
"Secretly," written by Dick Manning, Al Hoffman & Mark Markwell, performed by Jimmie Rodgers, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Mind Your Own Business," written by David Cole and Robert Clivilles, performed by Clivilles & Cole, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Stand By Your Man," written by Billy Sherrill & Tammy Wynette, produced by Jess Harnell & Chuck Duran, performed by Gail Lopata Lennon
"A Second Hand Love," written by Phil Spector, Hank Hunter, performed by Connie Francis, courtesy of Malaco Records, Inc.
"Keep It Yourself," written by Alan Mirikitani, performed by BB Chung King & The Screaming Buddah Heads
"Funny How Time Slips Away," written by Willie Nelson, produced by Jess Harnell
"Bible Belt," performed by Travis Tritt, produced by Gregg Brown, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 March 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 March 1992
Production Date:
11 February--22 April 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
11 March 1992
Copyright Number:
PA554522
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
DeLuxe®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31328
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a road trip through the South, New Yorkers Bill Gambini and his friend, Stan Rothenstein, stop at a convenience store called the Sac-O-Suds in Beechum County, Alabama, where they buy groceries, then drive away. Bill realizes he failed to pay for a can of tuna just as a police car pulls them over. Bill and Stan are arrested. Assuming he is being charged with petty theft, Bill confesses guilt at the police station. Sheriff Farley reveals that he is being charged with the murder of the Sac-O-Suds clerk, Jimmy Willis, and Stan is being charged as an accessory. The young men panic. They are allowed to make phone calls, but Stan cannot reach his parents, who are travelling in Chile. Bill calls his mother and tells her he needs a good attorney. She cannot afford to pay an expensive lawyer, but informs him that his cousin, Vincent “Vinny” LaGuardia Gambini, has become an attorney. Soon, Vinny Gambini and his fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, arrive in town. With their flashy clothes and thick New York accents, they seem out of place. When he visits them in jail, Bill and Stan are discouraged to learn that Vinny has only six weeks’ experience as a personal injury attorney, after spending six years trying to pass the New York bar exam. Futhermore, he has no courtroom experience. Vinny meets with Judge Chamberlain Haller, who must approve all out-of-state attorneys. Vinny lies that he has been practicing law for sixteen years and has had several murder cases. Haller gives him a book on Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, and warns that Vinny will not receive special treatment in his courtroom. Mona Lisa ... +


On a road trip through the South, New Yorkers Bill Gambini and his friend, Stan Rothenstein, stop at a convenience store called the Sac-O-Suds in Beechum County, Alabama, where they buy groceries, then drive away. Bill realizes he failed to pay for a can of tuna just as a police car pulls them over. Bill and Stan are arrested. Assuming he is being charged with petty theft, Bill confesses guilt at the police station. Sheriff Farley reveals that he is being charged with the murder of the Sac-O-Suds clerk, Jimmy Willis, and Stan is being charged as an accessory. The young men panic. They are allowed to make phone calls, but Stan cannot reach his parents, who are travelling in Chile. Bill calls his mother and tells her he needs a good attorney. She cannot afford to pay an expensive lawyer, but informs him that his cousin, Vincent “Vinny” LaGuardia Gambini, has become an attorney. Soon, Vinny Gambini and his fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, arrive in town. With their flashy clothes and thick New York accents, they seem out of place. When he visits them in jail, Bill and Stan are discouraged to learn that Vinny has only six weeks’ experience as a personal injury attorney, after spending six years trying to pass the New York bar exam. Futhermore, he has no courtroom experience. Vinny meets with Judge Chamberlain Haller, who must approve all out-of-state attorneys. Vinny lies that he has been practicing law for sixteen years and has had several murder cases. Haller gives him a book on Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, and warns that Vinny will not receive special treatment in his courtroom. Mona Lisa and Vinny settle into a motel room. At dawn, they are awakened by a steam whistle. They go to a diner, where Vinny reluctantly eats grits for the first time in his life. He goes to the courthouse for Bill and Stan’s arraignment. Judge Haller reprimands Vinny for failing to stand up when addressing the court, and for dressing too casually in a leather jacket. Haller asks Vinny several times how his clients plead, but Vinny argues their innocence instead of answering “guilty” or “not guilty.” Haller holds Vinny in contempt of court, and he is arrested. Mona Lisa pays his $200 bail and picks him up at the jail, where a crowd of protestors picket the upcoming execution of a prisoner. Mona Lisa worries that Vinny’s cousin Bill could be sentenced to death if found guilty, and criticizes Vinny’s performance at the arraignment. Meanwhile, Stan expresses concern that Vinny is incompetent, but Bill is unwilling to fire his cousin. He believes Vinny will improve, and promises his friend that the Gambinis live to argue. At a preliminary hearing, Vinny fails to wear a suit and is again found guilty of contempt of court. Hoping to get a good night’s sleep, Mona Lisa and Vinny check into a new hotel, where they are awakened by the sound of hogs at a nearby market. Vinny meets with Bill, who confesses that he and Stan have hired public defender John Gibbons. Vinny talks Bill into changing his mind, but Stan retains Gibbons as his attorney. Jim Trotter, III, the district attorney prosecuting Bill and Stan, invites Vinny to go hunting. Vinny asks Trotter for copies of his files, and, when Trotter agrees, he returns to his hotel room triumphant. Mona Lisa, who has repeatedly offered support to Vinny and has been reading his book on Alabama court procedure, informs her fiancé that Trotter has to share his files by law. Fed up with Vinny’s inadequacy, Mona Lisa reminds him of his promise to marry her after he wins his first court case. She has been waiting ten years, and claims her “biological clock is ticking.” The bickering couple spends the night at a cabin, hoping for peace and quiet. However, they are frightened by noises in the middle of the night and end up sleeping in Jimmy’s car during a rainstorm. After another sleepless night, Jimmy ruins his new suit while trying to free his car from the mud. With only an hour before Bill and Stan’s trial begins, he is forced to buy a red velvet tuxedo from a second-hand store. Haller accuses Vinny of mocking him when he arrives late in the ridiculous clothing, and holds him in contempt of court yet again. An exhausted Vinny falls asleep during Jim Trotter’s opening statement. When it is his turn to speak, Vinny tells the jury that everything Trotter said is “bullshit,” and sits back down. Stan’s attorney, John Gibbons, stutters his way through an opening statement, and apologizes for being nervous. The first witness, Sam Tipton, is called to the stand. Tipton claims he saw Bill and Stan enter the Sac-O-Suds from his home. He proceeded to cook grits from scratch, and five minutes later, sat down to eat breakfast as Bill and Stan fled the Sac-O-Suds. With his newfound knowledge of grits and how they are prepared, Vinny catches Tipton in a lie, arguing that only instant grits could have been made in five minutes. Stan’s faith in Vinny is restored, and he re-hires him. Having been arrested a third time for contempt of court, Vinny tells Mona Lisa not to bail him out so he can have a night of sleep in jail. However, a blaring alarm bell wakes him up too early. When court re-convenes, Vinny questions an aged witness named Constance Riley, who claims she saw the defendants when they were fifty feet away from her. Vinny holds up fingers in back of the courtroom to prove that Constance cannot see clearly from that distance. Expert witness George Wilbur testifies that tire marks left in the Sac-O-Suds parking lot match the tires on Bill’s mint-green 1964 Buick Skylark. During a lunch break, Mona Lisa offers to help Vinny go over new evidence. She provides a stack of photographs she snapped on their trip, but Vinny dismisses them. Mona Lisa leaves in a huff. Vinny takes another look at her snapshots and realizes something. He calls her to the stand as an expert in the field of automobiles. Jim Trotter questions her expertise, but Mona Lisa, who comes from a family of mechanics, proves her knowledge by answering his questions. Vinny presents her with a picture she took of the tire tracks at the Sac-O-Suds. She examines the picture and sees the same thing he just discovered – the tire tracks are in a solid line, equally far apart, as they go over a median. Mona Lisa deduces the tracks must have been made by a 1963 Pontiac Tempest, the only car resembling a Buick Skylark with “positraction,” a limited slip differential, and the independent rear suspension necessary to make those marks. Vinny calls George Wilbur back to the stand, and he attests to Mona Lisa’s accuracy. Sheriff Farley runs a search for stolen or abandoned 1963 Tempests, and finds a report of two men driving such a car who were recently arrested in Georgia, and in possession of the same type of gun that killed Jimmy Willis. Trotter dismisses charges, and the case is thrown out. After parting ways with a jubilant Bill and Stan, Vinny and Mona Lisa drive back to New York and bicker about their upcoming wedding. +

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

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