29 user 16 critic

Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995)

Johnny Destiny burns into Las Vegas in his hot Plymouth RoadRunner, stopping only to pick up a stranger stranded in the desert. But then, things aren't always as they seem. Anything can ... See full summary »


Jack Baran

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dylan McDermott ... Julian Goddard
Nancy Travis ... Lucille
James Le Gros ... Thoreau (as James LeGros)
Quentin Tarantino ... Johnny Destiny
Jim Belushi ... Tuerto (as James Belushi)
Janet Carroll ... Escabel
David Cross ... Ralph Dellaposa
Richard Edson ... Gage
Bobcat Goldthwait ... Mr. Smith
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Dravec
Lisa Jane Persky ... Katrina
Sarah Trigger ... Francine
Tracey Walter ... Pappy
Allen Garfield ... Vinnie Vidivici
Ralph Brannen ... Henchman


Johnny Destiny burns into Las Vegas in his hot Plymouth RoadRunner, stopping only to pick up a stranger stranded in the desert. But then, things aren't always as they seem. Anything can happen in that town of many possibilities...especially since there's been some weird electrical disturbances. As the stranger, fresh out of prison, tries to put his life back together--to recover his money from an old bank heist and the girl he lost in doing the job--something keeps interfering with his plans. Is it fate...or just Destiny? Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Romantic Adventure of Mystical Proportion. See more »


Crime | Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

28 April 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Destiny - Hoher Einsatz in Las Vegas See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$676,659, 30 April 1995

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to David Cross in his memoir, a blackjack dealer asked him if he could get Jim Belushi's autograph for her sick 8-year-old son. Cross agreed to do it. But when he asked, Belushi vehemently refused to give an autograph. See more »


Referenced in Once and Again: Destiny Turns on the Radio (2001) See more »


Puddin' & pie
Performed by Danny Gatton
Written by Danny Gatton and Bill Holloman
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An overlooked delight!
20 January 2013 | by sctwilmSee all my reviews

One of the more obvious truths in show business is that, since people have different tastes in art, there are many different kinds of movies, and many different ways of talking about them. As my Uncle Al used to say, "Kid, that's why Mister Ford makes 'em in a lot of different colors now."

My late father was a lyricist back in the days of Tin Pan Alley; he sold his first song lyric before he was twenty, and he spent his entire life delighting in, and making his living with, his imagination. He treasured imaginative ways of telling stories, and I guess that's why I married a poet. I will forgive an otherwise uninspired movie if it offers an imaginative and unusual way of thinking about an idea.

Art, like religion, is a cultural universal; every society on earth makes art. In homogeneous cultures, and in all totalitarian societies, artistic orthodoxy is highly valued. The more diverse a culture becomes, the more tolerant it becomes of subversive art. The American film industry today is the most diverse in the world. Instead of an unchanging stream of movies glorifying the fatherland or the revolution, we Americans, or at least some of us, have been entertained by the animated fantasy of Walt Disney, the profound vision of Orson Welles, and even the as-yet-immature imagination of Jack Baran. Who's Jack Baran? I'm coming to that.

One of my father's favorite songs was Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen's "That Old Black Magic," which contains the line, "You're the mate that fate had me created for." And that's what DESTINY TURNS ON THE RADIO, directed by Jack Baran, is all about, a comedic fable about luck or fate or destiny, and the mythology that our culture has constructed around it. It's not a new idea, but it's an interesting idea, and it's more interesting to me than whether the good guy will get the bad guy before he blows up another building. The fact that young Jack Baran didn't quite pull it off is forgivable.

DESTINY TURNS ON THE RADIO was written by two young graduates of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, which supports independent filmmaking, that is, movies not driven by the major studios and their commercial formulas for box-office success. Well, they certainly avoided formulas. They've also avoided box-office success. I saw this movie twice the week it opened, and I can say for a fact that at least four other people in my town also saw it because they were in the theater with me.

I found DESTINY TURNS ON THE RADIO to be provocative, witty and entertaining, but I surely can see why it's not everyone's cup of tea. Its theatrical colloquy and supernatural premise combine to create a script that probably reads a lot better than it plays. The incongruity between the theme and the characters demands an extreme suspension of disbelief, something most film-goers are simply not willing to do. So what's to like? Well, I liked this movie because it appealed to me like a quirky short story by P. G. Wodehouse, lightweight but clever. I liked it because James LeGros does a terrific job in a supporting role. I also liked it because Nancy Travis sings "That Old Black Magic" in a scene that had me tripping over my tongue.

I guess what I'm saying is that I liked DESTINY TURNS ON THE RADIO because I think my father would have liked it. It is an imaginative first effort from a bunch of young filmmakers, and investing in it was an act of courage. And evidently, for many people, so was sitting through it.

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