Fingers (1978 film)

Fingers is a 1978 crime drama film directed by James Toback. The film is about a troubled young man being pulled between his mob father and his mentally-disturbed pianist mother. [1]

Theatrical poster
Directed byJames Toback
Written byJames Toback
StarringHarvey Keitel
Tisa Farrow
Jim Brown
CinematographyMichael Chapman
Edited byRobert Lawrence
Distributed byBrut Productions
Release date
  • March 2, 1978 (1978-03-02)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States


Jimmy "Fingers" Angelelli (Harvey Keitel) is a brilliant young pianist who also works as a debt collector for his father Ben (Michael V. Gazzo), a local loan shark. Wherever Jimmy goes, he always carries a stereo with him, playing classic rock from the 1950s and 1960s. While trying to concentrate on an upcoming recital interview at Carnegie Hall, Jimmy loses focus when he falls for a woman named Carol (Tisa Farrow). He gets further sidetracked when collecting a large debt from a mafioso named Riccamonza (Tony Sirico), who eventually threatens Ben's life. This forces Jimmy to seek retribution.



James Toback said he originally wanted Robert de Niro to play the lead, but then decided to use de Niro's best friend Harvey Keitel. "Harvey agreed to play Jimmy and quickly began to astonish me by taking the character into dimensions of darkness well beyond my original imagining", wrote Toback.[2]


The film was remade in 2005 in France as The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

The movie is referenced by the John Travolta character Chili Palmer in the 1995 movie Get Shorty (film).


Two notable pieces from the film are "Angel of the Morning" by Merrilee Rush and "Summertime, Summertime" by The Jamies. Director Toback initially wanted to use the song "Summertime" because the movie had "a summertime feel to it", and they wanted to shoot it during the summer months. The whole film, however, is framed by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata in E minor (BWV 914), which Keitel's character plays throughout the film, including during his audition at Carnegie Hall.


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