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My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Admitting to accidental shoplifting, young, carefree travelling New Yorkers Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) are shocked to find themselves imprisoned in a sleepy Alabama town, charged with murder.

mycousinvinny4Gambini’s one phone call summons his cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci), a badly dressed rookie lawyer (and former auto mechanic from Brooklyn) who has managed to pass the bar exams after five failures and is looking forward to his first court case.

Pesci has great fun with his role – a character inspired by the character of Joey La Motta in Raging Bull (which Pesci played a dozen years earlier) and a huge departure from his Oscar-winning turn as a gangster in Goodfellas (1990) – and he makes light work of befuddling Fred Gwynne’s sleepy Alabama judge.

But the biggest surprise is Marisa Tomei, who plays his coarse leather-clad girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito.

Although she’s great in what was her first major role, there was widespread surprise when she walked off with the best-supporting-actress Oscar, beating three British nominees, including Miranda Richardson for her role in Damage.


Vinny Gambini
Joe Pesci
Mona Lisa Vito
Marisa Tomei
Bill Gambini
Ralph Macchio
Stan Rothenstein
Mitchell Whitfield
Judge Chamberlain Haller
Fred Gwynne
Jim Trotter III
Lane Smith
John Gibbons
Austin Pendleton
Sheriff Farley
Bruce McGill
Sam Tipton
Maury Chaykin
Constance Riley
Pauline Meyers
Ernie Crane
Raynor Scheine
George Wilbur
James Rebhorn
Chris Ellis
Michael Simpson
Grits cook
Lou Walker
Jimmy Willis
Kenny Jones
Hotel clerk
Larry Shuler

Jonathan Lynn