Diner is a 1982 American comedy-drama written and directed by Barry Levinson. The film is Levinson's screen directing debut, and the first of Levinson's four "Baltimore Films" set in his hometown during the 1940s, '50s, and '60s: Diner (1982), Tin Men (1987), Avalon (1990), and Liberty Heights (1999).
Set in the northwest section of Baltimore, Maryland, during the last week of 1959, Diner tells the story of a circle of male friends – now in their early twenties – who reunite for the wedding of one of their group. The title refers to the Hilltop Diner that was located at Reisterstown Road and Rogers Avenue, Baltimore, their late-night hangout. However, the Hilltop had been converted into a liquor store, so the location in the film is in the Canton section of Baltimore. An element of the story includes the Baltimore Colts winning the 1959 NFL Championship Game. The semi-autobiographical film explores the changing relationships among these friends as they become adults through what is mostly a series of vignettes rather than a traditional narrative. Levinson encouraged improvisation among his cast to capture realistic camaraderie.
- Steve Guttenberg as Edward "Eddie" Simmons
- Daniel Stern as Laurence "Shrevie" Schreiber
- Mickey Rourke as Robert "Boogie" Sheftell
- Kevin Bacon as Timothy "Fen" Fenwick Jr.
- Tim Daly as William "Billy" Howard
- Ellen Barkin as Shrevie's wife, Beth Schreiber
- Paul Reiser as Modell
- Kathryn Dowling as Barbara
- Michael Tucker as Bagel
- Jessica James as Eddie's mom, Mrs Simmons
- Colette Blonigan as Carol Heathrow
- Kelle Kipp as Diane
- Clement Fowler as Eddie's dad, Mr Simmons
- Claudia Cron as Jane Chisholm
This was the first credited feature film role for Daly, Barkin and Reiser.
The film inspired a 1983 CBS television pilot written and directed by Levinson. Mike Binder starred as Eddie, Paul Reiser returned as Modell, Michael Madsen took over as Boogie and James Spader was Fenwick.
A stage musical, with the book by Levinson and music by Sheryl Crow is being prepared, with plans for a Broadway production, originally opening in Autumn 2013. Kathleen Marshall is the director and choreographer. A "creative workshop" reading was held in December 2011, directed by Kathleen Marshall. A previously announced premiere at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco in October 2012 to November 2012 was cancelled. Instead, the musical had a staged workshop in New York and then was expected to open on Broadway in April 2013 (since postponed). The producer said, "the producers and creative team of 'Diner' embarked on an exploratory exercise to determine if the show would play as effectively in a theatre with a capacity no larger than 1,100 seats, for which there is greater opportunity. Holding themselves to uncompromising standards they happily discovered that their answer was 'yes'." As announced in March 2014, the musical is expected to open at the Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia, in December 2014 through January 2015, with direction and choreography by Kathleen Marshall. Crow said: "And to think we are going to premiere it so close to Baltimore, where the story took place, at Signature Theatre, which has birthed so many new musicals, well, I couldn't be happier."
- Costume Design: Gloria Gresham
The film maintains a 96% "Fresh" rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. It is ranked #57 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs list. Levinson also received an Academy Awardnomination for Best Original Screenplay.