Heart Beat (film)

Heart Beat is a 1980 American drama film written and directed by John Byrum, based on the autobiography by Carolyn Cassady.[2] The film is about seminal figures in the Beat Generation. The character of Ira, played by Ray Sharkey, is based on Allen Ginsberg.[3] The film stars Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek and John Heard.

Heart Beat
Early 1990s VHS cover
Directed byJohn Byrum
Produced byMichael Shamberg
Alan Greisman
David Axelrod
Edward R. Pressman
Written byScreenplay:
John Byrum
Carolyn Cassady
StarringNick Nolte
Sissy Spacek
John Heard
Music byJack Nitzsche
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byEric Jenkins
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
April 25, 1980
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$954,046[1]

The movie received generally mixed reviews, although the soundtrack was met with critical acclaim. According to Box Office Mojo, its worldwide gross receipts were $954,046, making the movie a box-office disappointment.


The film explores the love triangle of real-life characters Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, and Carolyn Cassady in the late 1950s and the 1960s. It chronicles Jack Kerouac writing his seminal novel On the Road, and its effect on their lives.


Critical reception

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2½ out of 4 stars and praised certain aspects of the film:

Musical score and soundtrack

Heart Beat
Soundtrack album by
SOO 12029
ProducerJack Nitzsche

The score was composed by Jack Nitzsche and included the song "I Love Her Too" co-written by Buffy Sainte-Marie and sung by Aaron Neville and the soundtrack prominently featured saxophonist Art Pepper and other West Coast jazz musicians with the soundtrack album released on the Capitol label.[5][6]

Track listing

All compositions by Jack Nitzsche except where noted.

  1. "On the Road" - 3:16
  2. "Carolyn's Theme" - 1:53
  3. "Adagio for Strings" - 1:58
  4. "Three Americans" - 1:19
  5. "Jack's Theme" - 1:39
  6. "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" (Ernest Seitz, Gene Lockhart) - 2:10
  7. "I Love Her Too" (Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Byrum) - 3:50
  8. "Carolyn" - 3:18
  9. "Jam" - 2:28
  10. "Neal's Theme" - 1:55
  11. "901" - 3:01
  12. "Heart Beat" - 1:42


See also

  • On the Road, a 2012 film adaptation of Kerouac's novel of the same name


  1. Heart Beat at Box Office Mojo
  2. Cassady, Carolyn (July 1976). Heartbeat: My Life with Jack and Neal. Creative Arts Book Company. ISBN 978-0916870034.
  3. Brenner, Paul. "Heart Beat > Overview". AllMovie. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  4. "Heart Beat :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1980-02-11. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  5. Nitzsche On The Silver Screen accessed October 28, 2016
  6. Art Pepper catalog accessed October 28, 2016
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