Taglines: Five ordinary people needed a miracle. Then one night, Faye Riley left the window open.
Frank and Faye Riley (Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy), an elderly couple who run an apartment building and café in the run-down East Village neighborhood, come under threat by a nearby property development. The development manager, Lacey, sends a hoodlum named Carlos and his gang of thugs to bribe the couple and their tenants to move out. When the tenants resist, Carlos and his thugs punch through artist Mason Baylor’s (Dennis Boutsikaris) door, intimidate pregnant single mother Marisa Esteval (Elizabeth Peña) and break retired boxer Harry Noble’s (Frank McRae) jar of tiles. After Frank Riley refuses to move, Carlos vandalizes the café.
This assault convinces three of the tenants to move out. Mason’s girlfriend, Pamela is tired of living in an old, depressing building with a guy whose art career is going nowhere. She dumps Mason, packs up and before leaving, advises Mason to quit being an artist and get a steady job. The Rileys’ friends, Muriel and Sid Hogensin take Lacey’s bribe and decide to move to a nice retirement home in New Jersey. Frank feels a little betrayed by the Hogensins for taking Lacey’s bribe but they explain that the building and the area it’s in just doesn’t feel like home anymore. They advise Frank that maybe he and Faye should do the same and come live with them at the retirement home. With the assault and Faye’s dementia growing, Frank contemplates giving in.
Things look bleak until the appearance of a pair of small living space ships descend into the Rileys’ apartment that evening, repairing many of the items that were broken. They have the ability to repair anything that’s broken in a matter of seconds and even making it look brand new. Apparently, when they repair something, they don’t repair just recent damage, but “all” of the damage. They even repair the vandalized cafe, putting Frank and Faye back in business. The two extraterrestrials take up residence in the shed at the top of the apartment building, and are dubbed “The Fix-Its” by the residents of the building. Carlos comes back to threaten the tenants once again, but the Fix-Its lure him to the top of the building and into the shed where they scare him away.
Batteries Not Included (stylized *batteries not included) is a 1987 family-comic science fiction film directed by Matthew Robbins about small extraterrestrial living space ships that save an apartment block under threat from property development. The story was originally intended to be featured in the TV series Amazing Stories, but executive producer Steven Spielberg liked the idea so much that he decided to make it a theatrical release. It is also notable for being the feature film screenwriting debut of Brad Bird, who was one of the writers and producers of the movie.
Many of the film’s foreign releases (including at least Swedish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, American Spanish, and Japanese) used the title Miracle on 8th Street.
Batteries Not Included (1987)
Directed by: Matthew Robbins
Starring: Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Frank McRae, Elizabeth Peña, Michael Carmine, Dennis Boutsikaris, Tom Aldredge, Jane Hoffman, Doris Belack, Wendy Schaal
Screenplay by: Brad Bird
Production Design by: Ted Haworth
Cinematography by: John McPherson
Film Editing by: Cynthia Scheider
Costume Design by: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Set Decoration by: George R. Nelson
Art Direction by: Angelo P. Graham
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: December 18, 1987