Barry Levinson’s Four Baltimore Films

Sep 21, 2020 | Newsletter

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


Barry Levinson is an actor but known mostly as an exceptional writer and director. He was nominated by the Academy for “Best Original Screenplay” for the film …And Justice for All (1979). He won an Academy Award for Best Director for Rain Man (1988). Some of his other film achievements were Tootsie, The Natural, Good Morning, VietnamBugsy, and Wag the Dog. In 2010, Barry Levinson received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America.

But sentimentalists are most fond of Levinson’s four semi-autobiographical films  about his growing up in Baltimore. These films reflect the heart and soul of Levinson. They are wonderfully nostalgic, sometimes painful, filled with his emotional memories, and always compassionate.

Happily, all four are available on streaming platforms:


Diner (1982)

Five male friends, in their twenties, meet frequently at the local diner to discuss issues they are facing. Eddie vows to call…


Tin Men (1987)

In 1963 Baltimore, two aluminum siding salesmen, Ernest Tilley and Bill “BB” Babowsky are fierce rivals…


Avalon (1990)

In 1914, Sam Krichinsky emigrates from Eastern Europe to Baltimore. It’s a city with  tightly-knit Jewish Russian families…


Liberty Heights (1990)​

In Baltimore, 1954, Jewish families like the Kurtzmans, are experiencing many changes: Schools are now desegregated, rock ‘n’ roll…


Coming Soon, Can’t Wait

Sep 25: Netflix. The Trial of the Chicago 7. Aaron Sorkin directing the seven men charged with conspiracy during the anti-Vietnam war protests.
Dec 18: Platform TBD. West Side Story. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Broadway classic. 
Opening TBD, 2021: Netflix. Diana: A Musical
Opening TBD, 2021: Netflix. The Crown. Season 4, late 2020; Season 5, 2021. 

News Briefs & Commentary

With theaters slowly opening again, I do hope theater owners take heed to the following:

Don’t gouge patrons with high ticket prices because you want to make up for the huge losses of the shutdown….And because you are now limiting sales to 50% of your seating capacity…Same goes for concession prices….Don’t require seat reservations if you know the theater is going to be half-empty….Cut down on the 20+ minutes of commercials and trailers before the start of each film…Fix all broken seats…Listen to patron complaints about faulty sound, picture, and, most importantly, poor ventilation…Take forceful action with patrons who remove masks in the darkened theater…When your employees return, pay them well. Many, also, suffered financially during the shutdown. Yes, your budget is tight, but high turnover and resentful employees will harm your operation.


My best,


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