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A Small Circle of Friends (1980)

Harvard in the 1960's: a time of social upheaval and student unrest. Three students bond together, challenge the system and begin to lose their ideals.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DaVinci Rizzo
Jessica Bloom
Nick Baxter
John Friedrich ...
Alex Haddox
Harry Norris
Harry Caesar ...
Mrs. Baxter
Crazy Kid: Draft Inductee (as Dan Stern)
Jason Laskay ...
Dorm Proctor
Jamie Squire ...
Karate Student
Mary Margaret Amato ...
Girl in Shower
David Hollander ...
Editor of 'Crimson'
Frank Rich ...
Assistant Editor of 'Crimson'


Harvard in the 1960's: a time of social upheaval and student unrest. Three students bond together, challenge the system and begin to lose their ideals. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Small Circle Of Friends...learning to live in the turbulent sixties! [AustraliaTheatrical] See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 October 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Amigo é para Essas Coisas  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is an allusion to the Phil Oschs song "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends, the first verse of which is, "Look outside the window,/There's a woman being grabbed/They've dragged her to the bushes/And now she's being stabbed/Maybe we should call the cops/And try to stop the pain/ But Monopoly is so much fun,/ I'd hate to blow the game/ And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody/Outside of a small circle of friends." See more »


The characters entered Harvard in 1967 and presumably were to graduate in 1971, and it shows them as apparently the first class involved with the draft lottery, which affected only seniors. However, the first class involved with the lottery was actually that of 1970, and the movie accurately shows the first ball being pulled from the drum with a date of September 14 in the drawing held for the 1970 class. See more »


Leonardo DaVinci Rizzo: Where's your boyfriend from?
Jessica Bloom: San Francisco.
Leonardo DaVinci Rizzo: That's not a boyfriend. That's a pen-pal!
See more »


References The Graduate (1967) See more »


Theme for the Masses
Harry Palmer
See more »

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User Reviews

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21 February 2010 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

This film follows the lives of three friends (Davis, Allen, and Parker) as they attend Harvard in the 1960's. They meet, bond, fall in and out of love, and challenge the system during the time of social upheaval and student unrest. Their friendship is complicated when a love triangle develops, and it takes a senseless tragedy to bring them crashing back down to earth.

Like many films set in this era, most key events, from LBJ refusing to seek a second term to the rise of the far left terrorist groups, are seen through the eyes of the main characters. But unlike films like 'Forrest Gump,' the historical references feel more organic to the film, and not just points on a timeline.

The three leads are very good as well. Through the various ups and downs in their friendships and the world around them, Brad Davis, Karen Allen and Jameson Parker manage to communicate the changes their characters go through over the two decades this film spans. Even though some of the film borders on melodrama, there are enough interesting sections of the film that keep it from becoming trite.

But what I liked most about this film was that it doesn't romanticize the counter-culture. It shows the flaws in the idealism and that not everyone who was against the war was an enlightened peace loving flower child. But it also shows the good things. Like the sense of community, protest through art, and an embracing of love over violence. 'A Small Circle of Friends' manages to show that the hippies were individuals making their own choices and dealing with the consequences, and not some giant smelly organism that shared a collective consciousness.

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