When I told my husband that I was going to be reviewing the classic 1970s A&E mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man, I was surprised to learn that he had watched the mini-series when it originally aired! I’m a bit too young to have watched this series when it originally aired so I was looking forward to seeing for myself!
Recently released by A&E Television, I was interested in watching Rich Man, Poor Man because I was impressed by the all-star cast – I’ve always loved Edward Asner, Bill Bixby and Nick Nolte so I was thrilled to learn that they were all cast members of this mini-series!
Based on a book by Irwin Shaw,Rich Man, Poor Man follows the Jordache family from the end of World War 2 until the 1960s, focusing on two brothers (one considered the “rich man” and the other the “poor man”) who take two totally different routes in the way that the live their lives. Rudy is the “rich man” who gets an education and wants to take what he learns to develop an empire. In contrast, Rudy’s brother, Tom, is the “poor man” who learns to use his fists and his street smarts to try and get what he wants in life. All of the events take place in a complicated family dynamic that involves an emotionally-distant immigrant father and a disturbed mother and it adds a complex layer to the story.
In addition to the mini-series (which is labeled as “Book 1” in the dvd set), the dvd collection also contained a 22 episode series that grew out of the original mini-series (called “Book 2”).
Though the mini-series is over 35 years old, I really enjoyed the storyline! While I am sure it was a much more risque and cutting-edge venture in television when it first aired, I liked the complex characters and storylines – I found the entire set quite engaging!