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Slaves of New York (1989)

R | | Comedy, Drama | March 1989 (USA)
Eleanor lives with the artist Stash. Just like his artist friends, he is completely unknown but is waiting for the big break. Stash is mean to her and finally she leaves him. Ironically, ... See full summary »


James Ivory


Tama Janowitz (based on the stories by), Tama Janowitz (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernadette Peters ... Eleanor
Chris Sarandon ... Victor Okrent
Mary Beth Hurt ... Ginger Booth
Madeleine Potter ... Daria
Adam Coleman Howard ... Stash
Jsu Garcia ... Marley (as Nick Corri)
Charles McCaughan ... Sherman
John Harkins ... Chuck Dade Dolger
Mercedes Ruehl ... Samantha
Joe Leeway ... Jonny Jalouse
Anna Katarina ... Mooshka
Bruce Peter Young Bruce Peter Young ... Mikell
Michael Schoeffling ... Jan
Steve Buscemi ... Wilfredo
Jonas Abry Jonas Abry ... Mickey


Eleanor lives with the artist Stash. Just like his artist friends, he is completely unknown but is waiting for the big break. Stash is mean to her and finally she leaves him. Ironically, she gets her big break - as a hat designer. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slaves of New York See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,118, 19 March 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Wilfredo's clothing line and the outfits and costumes in the fashion show were created by New York costume designer Stephen Sprouse. See more »


At about 1:17:55 when Stash comes home after spending the night with Daria, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen on the red door. See more »


Eleanor: What happened? Where were you?
Stash: Daria was helping me at the studio and I walked her home and took her dog for a walk and it was attacked by a cheetah.
See more »


Fall in Love with Me
Lyrics by Iggy Pop
Composed by David Bowie, Hunt Sales, Tony Fox Sales
Performed by Iggy Pop
Produced by Bewlay Brothers
Published by Bewlay Bros. Music (ASCAP) / James Osterberg Music (BMI) / Fox Hunt Music (BMI) / Fleur Music LTD. (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

Sadly underrated film
19 March 2001 | by Muffy-5See all my reviews

It can't be easy to bring a Tama Janowitz novel to the screen. Her characters are strange and chronically flawed. Her plots progress like real life -- loosely, with lots of extraneous details and false starts -- yet contain a lot of wacky situations which we have trouble relating to reality (until we really think about it, and realize it's weird because it REALLY HAPPENS, everyday). I love her sense of humour and her style of writing, especially since her novels don't follow a traditional form of plot development.

That said, this movie could have been better. I don't think that the split-screen presentation of different scenes works at all, and many of the actors don't seem to understand why they're uttering the lines -- I don't think they "get it." Adam Coleman Howard (Stash) struggles valiantly, but always seems one step behind his character. Madeleine Potter (Daria) isn't very convincing either. Bruce Peter Young (Mikell) looks by turns bored and baffled. And -- perhaps the biggest injustice of all -- the knight in shining armour at the end is a terrible actor; instead of being happy and hopeful at the emergence -- finally! -- of a single genuine person in Eleanor's life, I couldn't get beyond his wooden delivery.

Everyone else is great, however. Bernadette Peters seems tailor-made to star in a Janowitz adaptation, as do many of the other oddball characters (Wilfredo, Mooshka, Samantha, the Japanese film crew). Things pick up in the second half, and it certainly gets funnier as it goes along...Eleanor mentions a dream she had the other night about a baby with long arms and legs like a chimpanzee, "but it was cute." The party (and the blender) is a blast. After so long in more-or-less quiet neutral, the last half hour kicks into gear.

Some people mentioned, "how could Eleanor put up with Stash?" Well, look around, sadly...there are lots of Eleanors and lots of Stash's (people who are "abridged" like their "tentacles have been cut off at the wrist"). As for the odd artsy SoHo characters...compare this film to "Mondo New York" and see that, if anything, Janowitz has missed out on a few bizarre and self-indulgent art types.

Don't expect to be on the edge of your seat when you watch this one. Just sit back, enjoy, and take it for what it is: an expose on the New York art world in the 80's, and an examination of one woman attempting to deal with a city full of shallow, uncaring, jealous and stupid people.

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