Nick and Charlie, a couple of aging thieves looking for a last score before they retire, come to ritzy Palm Beach, Florida, where they have an elaborate scheme to rob a Harry Winston jewelry store. The shop is well guarded and has high-tech security. Its manager, Edward, welcomes an elderly customer seeking an expensive gift for a terminally ill wife. The eager-to-please Edward has no idea that this old gentleman is actually a middle-aged criminal, Nick, in disguise.
Dressed as himself, Nick encounters a sophisticated, attractive woman named Carolyn who owns an antique shop next to the jewelry store. He gets better acquainted with her while haggling over a Louis XVI chair that she covets, and before long a romance begins to bloom.
An old woman drops by Harry Winston, also interested in making a purchase. She, too, is Nick in disguise. During these visits to the store, Nick is actually casing the joint, making mental notes of the security system in place, with help from Charlie, who is pretending to be a chauffeur.
Happy New Year is a 1987 film starring Peter Falk, directed by John G. Avildsen. The screenplay was written by Warren Lane, based on the French film La bonne année. The director of the French film, Claude Lelouch, has a cameo as a man on a train.
Although the film had extremely limited success in the theaters, it became something of a cult film. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988 for best makeup, losing to Harry and the Hendersons. Bill Conti composed the score and produced a cover of the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” performed by The Temptations which was featured extensively throughout the film.
Happy New Year (1987)
Directed by: John G. Avildsen
Starring: Peter Falk, Charles Durning, Claude Lelouch, Debra Garrett, Karina Etcheverry, Gary Maas, Earleen Carey, Tracy Brooks Swope, Joan Copeland
Screenplay by: Claude Lelouch, Warren Lane
Production Design by: William J. Cassidy
Cinematography by: James Crabe
Film Editing by: Jane Kurson
Costume Design by: Jodie Lynn Tillen
Set Decoration by: Don K. Ivey
Art Direction by: William F. Matthews
Music by: Bill Conti
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: August 7, 1987