Things Change

For the song by Dwight Yoakam, see Things Change (song).
Things Change

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Mamet
Produced by Michael Hausman
Written by David Mamet
Shel Silverstein
Music by Alaric Jans
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • October 21, 1988 (1988-10-21)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Things Change is a 1988 comedy and drama film directed by David Mamet. It was co-written by Mamet and Shel Silverstein, and stars Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche.


Gino, a humble shoe-shiner in Chicago, is approached by a Mafia don who offers him a large sum of money to take the rap for a murder committed by another gangster. Gino agrees, planning to buy a fishing boat with the money he will earn after a three-year sentence.

While preparing for his court confession, Gino is watched over by Jerry, a bottom-rung gangster who has recently gotten into trouble for failing to follow orders. During a short and boring stay at a local hotel, Jerry decides to give Gino one last weekend to remember in Lake Tahoe before he goes to prison.

After arriving at the resort and casino, Jerry's tall tales and Gino's quiet dignity quickly get Gino mistaken for a wealthy and powerful mafioso, leading to complications for both men. He is summoned to the Nevada home of crime boss Vincenzo, where a frantic Jerry is certain that his ruse will lead to grave consequences. Vincenzo takes a liking to Gino, however, and the two elderly men bond.

Narrowly escaping after the Chicago don turns up at Vincenzo's home, a relieved Jerry manages to get Gino back to Chicago safely. On the day Gino is to confess in court, however, Jerry discovers that his superiors were merely stalling for time. Gino is to be killed, and Jerry is to be the one who does the killing.

Film connections

Things Change was Mamet's directorial follow-up to House of Games and also takes place in the world of crime. The two films share many cast members, including Joe Mantegna, Ricky Jay, Mike Nussbaum, William H. Macy, and J. T. Walsh, as well as many production staff members.


Co-stars Mantegna and Ameche received Volpi Cups at the Venice Film Festival for their performances in the film.


Release and reception

Things Change was released on October 21, 1988 in 99 U.S. theaters, grossing US$3.5 million.[1] The film carries an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.9/10.[2]

See also


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