Blue in the Face

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Blue in the Face
Promotional film poster
Directed byPaul Auster
Wayne Wang
Written byPaul Auster
Wayne Wang
Produced byPeter Newman
Greg Johnson
Diana Phillips
CinematographyAdam Holender
Harvey Wang
Edited byMaysie Hoy
Christopher Tellefsen
Music byJohn Lurie
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
October 13, 1995
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million
Box office$1,268,636

Blue in the Face is a 1995 American comedy film directed by Wayne Wang and Paul Auster. It stars Harvey Keitel leading an ensemble cast, including Giancarlo Esposito, Roseanne Barr, Michael J. Fox, Lily Tomlin, Victor Argo, Mira Sorvino, Lou Reed, Keith David, Jim Jarmusch, Jared Harris, RuPaul, and Madonna.

Blue in the Face was filmed over a five-day period as a follow-up to Wang's 1995 film Smoke. During production of Smoke, Keitel and the others ad-libbed scenes in-character between takes and a sequel was made using this improvised material.

Lily Tomlin was nominated for an American Comedy Award as "Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture" for her performance in this picture.

Blue in the Face features songs by singer Selena. Her bilingual duet with David Byrne, "God's Child (Baila Conmigo)", appears on the film's soundtrack.


The film once again centers on the Brooklyn Cigar Store and manager Auggie (Harvey Keitel), although most of the other characters are different. The store owner's frustrated wife Dot (Roseanne Barr) is one of them, and one of the plotlines follows her attempts to seduce Auggie. Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Lily Tomlin and Lou Reed as himself also put in appearances.



The film received mixed reviews.[1][2][3] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 43% based on reviews from 23 critics, with an average rating of 5.7/10.[4]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, remarking that the movie "was shot in six days, and sometimes feels like it…Some of the bits work and others don't, but no one seems to be keeping score, and that's part of the movie's charm.[3] Ebert also notes that "Smoke is, of course, a much better film, and if you haven't seen it, then you should start there and not here. Blue in the Face is more of a footnote."[3]


  1. ^ Thomas, Kevin (13 October 1995). "MOVIE REVIEW : Wang's 'Blue in the Face' a Valentine to Brooklyn". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (13 October 1995). "Blue in the Face (1995) FILM REVIEW; In Hip Brooklyn, Take 2 On That Old Cigar Store". New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (20 October 1995). "Blue In The Face". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Blue in the Face". Rotten Tomatoes.

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