The Rat Pack (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rat Pack (1998)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: While it evokes its time period with a keen sense of swagger, The Rat Pack is troubled by uneven lead performances and fairly routine biopic trappings.

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Movie Info

Shot in 33 days, this $9.6 million biographical drama of behind-the-scenes interactions within the Rat Pack group of Frank Sinatra (Ray Liotta), Dean Martin (Joe Mantegna), and Sammy Davis Jr. (Don Cheadle) is set against the political backdrop of the '60s, establishing links of singers, gangsters, actors, and politicans (sometimes brushing shoulders in the same rooms). The film also explores Sinatra's relationship with John F. Kennedy (William Peterson). Deciding to support Kennedy, Sinatra patches up his feud with Peter Lawford (Angus Macfadyen), since Lawford's wife, Pat (Phyllis Lyons) is JFK's sister -- and a Sinatra-Kennedy friendship soon follows. However, when Joe Kennedy (Dan O'Herlihy) decides Sinatra's nightclub, mob and commie connections are a no-no for JFK, the patriarch's interference angers Sinatra. Meanwhile, Sammy Davis Jr. enters into an interracial liaison with May Britt (Megan Dodds), and the dynamics of the situation are visualized in an imaginative musical fantasy sequence in which Davis sees himself singing and dancing for an unresponsive line of white supremacists. Broadway's Savion Glover stepped in with the film's choreography. Substitute singers featured the voice of Michael Dees for Sinatra and Mantegna duplicating Dino. Also covered here are the events that led to the filming of Ocean's Eleven (1960). For an actual Rat Pack stage performance, see The Rat Pack Captured (1965). Filmed in LA, the TV movie premiered August 22, 1998 on HBO.

Cast

Ray Liotta
as Frank Sinatra
Joe Mantegna
as Dean Martin
Don Cheadle
as Sammy Davis Jr.
Angus Macfadyen
as Peter Lawford
William L. Petersen
as John F. Kennedy
Dan O'Herlihy
as Joe Kennedy
Zeljko Ivanek
as Bobby Kennedy
Bobby Slayton
as Joey Bishop
Deborah Kara Unger
as Ava Gardner
Megan Dodds
as Mai Britt
Barbara Niven
as Marilyn Monroe
Robert Miranda
as Sam `Momo' Giancana
Veronica Cartwright
as Rocky Cooper
Michelle Grace
as Judy Campbell
Tyrees Allen
as George Jacobs
John Diehl
as Joe DiMaggio
Tom Dreesen
as Himself
Michael Townsend Wright
as Walter Winchell
Alan Woolf
as Mickey Cohen
Joe Cortese
as Johnny Roselli
Dey Young
as Jeanne Martin
Phyllis Lyons
as Pat Lawford
Charles Walker
as Jefferson
Michael T. Wright
as Walter Winchell
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Critic Reviews for The Rat Pack

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (12)

This depiction of the Rat Pack, in their misogynistic, racist, mob-friendly fullness, feels rounded and human in a way that some of the most dewy-eyed remembrances of Sinatra, at the time of his death, were not.

March 8, 2021 | Full Review…

It's a diffused, pointless, tabloid drama rendered, for the most part, in stilted, waxworks fashion.

April 29, 2020 | Full Review…

Watching it is like having a hangover without the fun of getting happily plastered in the first place.

April 29, 2020 | Full Review…

They researched the facts and worked on the characterizations, but the makers of "The Rat Pack" ultimately lose their way.

April 29, 2020 | Full Review…

What's surprising is the way the deftly handled drama exposes the darkness without destroying the glamour.

April 29, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The story is familiar; the actors fail to generate electricity, and the script contains some real embarrassments.

April 29, 2020 | Full Review…

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