Radio Days (1987)

PG   |    |  Comedy

Radio Days (1987) Poster

A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.




  • Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker in Radio Days (1987)
  • Don Pardo and George Maniere in Radio Days (1987)
  • Seth Green in Radio Days (1987)
  • Wallace Shawn in Radio Days (1987)
  • Seth Green in Radio Days (1987)
  • Radio Days (1987)

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29 December 2013 | Red-125
| Growing up in Rockaway in the late '30's and early 40's
Radio Days (1987) was written and directed by Woody Allen. The movie is set during the "golden years of radio," when radio programs, listened to at home, were an important aspect of American entertainment.

The film is narrated by Woody Allen, and is a nostalgic--and possibly autobiographical--look at the childhood of a young boy growing up in Rockaway, Queens. Allen grew up in Brooklyn, but the culture and customs of lower-middle class Jews in Rockaway would have been similar to those that Allen probably witnessed in Brooklyn.

The movie is set in the late 1930's and early 1940's. Surprisingly, World War II doesn't hold a prominent place in the film. Although the war was thousands of miles away, no aspect of life in the U.S. was untouched by it. Allen chose to concentrate on other matters--failed hopes, unfulfilled romances, and family bickering.

Despite these negative aspects of day-to-day life, the film projects a cheery, upbeat attitude. After all, it was a time when someone who looked like Wallace Shawm could star as radio's "Masked Avenger." Woody's subdued narrative lets us know that he loved those around him and was loved by them in turn.

Life wasn't perfect, but it could have been worse, and who knew what good things the future might bring.

We saw Radio Days on DVD. It probably would work somewhat better on the large screen, but it's worth seeking out and seeing in any format.

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