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'Diner' Marks 30th Anniversary

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It may be hard to believe, but the movie "Diner" is marking its 30th anniversary.

Director Barry Levinson and some of the cast members will return to Baltimore for a big celebration Saturday night.

Ron Matz has more on how a movie about fries and gravy and friendship became a classic.

"Diner" took place in Baltimore 1959. It was about guys hanging out, and was Barry Levinson's first movie as a director.

It was a different kind of comedy that Maryland Film Festival Director Jed Dietz says had an impact.

"You think of the kind of comedy this is.  There's really no plot. It's all about character. Nobody is spinning jokes. 'Seinfeld' is the personification of this kind of humor.  Even the Judd Apatow movies, the 'bromance' thing.  The guys hanging out with great affection for each other, even in tough times. All of that comes from 'Diner,'" said Dietz.

At the time, the cast was unknown, but the names today are familiar:  Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, Steve Guttenberg, Kevin Bacon, Tim Daly, Paul Reiser and Mickey Rourke.

"'Diner' launched all these careers.  The director, the producer and all these actors, none of them had been in a movie up until then. It was Barry's first film as a director. He looks back on it and he will tell you the studio probably didn't even know what they were doing when they let him make the movie," said Dietz.

Levinson and cast members of "Diner" will be in Baltimore Saturday night.

"Saturday we'll have an all day celebration at Johns Hopkins University.  At 2:30 we'll show 'Diner Guys,' about the real diner guys.  Then at 5 p.m. we'll show 'Diner' and then at 8 p.m. we'll have an open conversation with Barry Levinson, producer Mark Johnson and whatever members of the cast can get here, but we'll have a good group of the cast here," said Dietz.

It's a movie about fries and friendship and growing up in Baltimore.

"It's hard to imagine a better biographer of this city than Barry Levinson.  Maybe film is just the right way to capture the city's special personality. It's really different than any other place and Barry shows it to you," said Dietz.  "You look back on his Baltimore films, 'Diner,' then 'Tin Men,' 'Avalon,' and 'Liberty Heights,' and the documentary 'The Band That Wouldn't Die.'  He keeps coming back to Baltimore as a storyteller," said Dietz.

For ticket information about the 30th anniversary celebration Saturday night at Johns Hopkins University, click here.  

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