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The Idolmaker (1980)

Based on the life of rock promoter/producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered, among others, Frankie Avalon and Fabian.


Taylor Hackford

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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The life story of rock producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered such musical acts as Frankie Avalon and Fabian in the late 1950s.

Director: Craig Brewer


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Sharkey ... Vincent Vacarri
Tovah Feldshuh ... Brenda Roberts
Peter Gallagher ... Caesare
Paul Land ... Tommy Dee
Joe Pantoliano ... Gino Pilato
Maureen McCormick ... Ellen Fields
John Aprea ... Mario Vacarri
Richard Bright ... Uncle Tony
Olympia Dukakis ... Mrs. Vacarri
Steve Peck Steve Peck ... Mr. Frank Vacarri (as Steven Apostlee Peck)
Leonard Gaines Leonard Gaines ... Luchetti
Deney Terrio Deney Terrio ... Jerry Martin
Charles Guardino Charles Guardino ... Jesse
Michael Mislove ... Ed Sharp
Kenneth O'Brien Kenneth O'Brien ... Walt Bennett


1959. Twenty-seven year old Vinnie Vacarri works as a waiter at his older brother Mario's upscale Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, but much to Mario's chagrin, Vinnie lets work at the restaurant slide whenever opportunities arise to achieve his dream of being in the music business. Along with his best friend and music partner, pianist Gino Pilato, Vinnie writes songs, and believes he has everything but the most important thing to make it big, namely the look, he most self-conscious about his receding hairline. As such, he and Gino are looking for someone to perform their songs on their own terms. He thinks he's found the person in his friend Tomaso DeLorusso, a saxophonist who has been struggling himself in the club scene to find his niche. With Gino largely staying in the background, Vinnie begins a professional association with Tomaso, who he reinvents as rock singer Tommy Dee, this the beginning of Vinnie's foray into talent manager, he knowing the look and sound he wants, with his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The crowds, the cheers, the top of the charts. They don't just happen. He makes them happen. See more »


PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





English | Italian

Release Date:

14 November 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Sombra de um Ídolo See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kirkwood, Koch Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film's score by Jeff Barry was criticized for being anachronistic featuring contemporary music inimical to the 1950s and 1960s era the movie documents. See more »


Before Guido's first gig, he and Tommy are in the dressing room, with Tommy smoking. Tommy talks Guido into smoking. The book of matches is modern. Matchbooks used to have the striking strip on the side that opens, directly below the matches. Unfortunately, sparks, similar to the one that flew at Guido, could have landed flown into an open book, causing all the matches to burst into flames. In 1973 a law was passed, mandating that the striker be placed on the back of the book. The matchbook Guido lays on the table does not have a striker on the side that opens, making it out of place in the early 1960's. See more »


Vincent Vacarri: Hey, I'm not dumb! You don't even know me and you call me dumb. Wanna know what's dumb? The last eight covers in a row you did on Elvis in the army, with the badges? That's dumb. And that's boring.
See more »


Remade as The Idolmaker See more »


I Can't Tell
Music and Lyrics by Jeff Barry
Sung by Colleen Fitzpatrick
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User Reviews

The Premiere of The Idolmaker
27 November 2004 | by nightilldawnSee all my reviews

It was fall of 1980 and I was listening to NBC Radio ( A.M. ). At the time, that station played great music of the day. I remember calling up a radio contest which said that you could win tickets to the premiere of a new movie called " The Idolmaker " at Radio City Music Hall in New York City ( Manhatten ). I could not believe that I actually got thru and when I did was told that I had won. They wanted my name, address and phone number and told me that I would be receiving tickets to the premiere of the movie. What made matters even more great was the fact that my ex-husband worked for Rockefeller Center, not NBC otherwise we wouldn't have been eligible for winning these tickets. What luck! The premiere of this movie was amazing!!! I loved the acting, and the singing was to die for. After the movie ended, the stars of the show got up on the Radio City stage and spoke a few words thanking everyone who attended. I was privileged to have been seated in the 5th row from front. Peter Gallagher was so handsome in person as was Paul Land. Ray Sharkey ( may he rest in peace ) was at his finest hour. Even though this movie received a bad review and it didn't do too well in the theaters, I believe that many people were not given the opportunity to see what a fine movie this really was. Prince and Michael Jackson are big fans of this movie and for good reason. " You can be anything you want to be " , and that is the motto of this movie. Singer, songwriter, artist-you can make it!

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