After being released on parole, a career burglar assaults his former probation officer, returns to a life of crime, and goes on the run.

Directors:

Ulu Grosbard, Dustin Hoffman (uncredited)

Writers:

Edward Bunker (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Max Dembo
Theresa Russell ... Jenny Mercer
Gary Busey ... Willy Darin
Harry Dean Stanton ... Jerry Schue
M. Emmet Walsh ... Earl Frank
Rita Taggart ... Carol Schue
Kathy Bates ... Selma Darin
Sandy Baron ... Manny
Jake Busey ... Henry Darin (as Jacob Busey)
Tina Menard ... Hotel Manager
Stephanie Ericsson Stephanie Ericsson ... Bar Patron (as Stephanie Ericsson Baron)
Dave Kelly Dave Kelly ... Counterman
Don Sommese Don Sommese ... Waiter
Kit Jee Wong Kit Jee Wong ... Grocer
Peter Kwong ... Grocery Clerk
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Storyline

After many juvenile detentions and six years in prison, the small time thief and burglar Max Dembo is released on parole. Max has an initial friction with his nasty parole officer Earl Frank, but the officer agrees to let him live in a hotel room if he gets a job within a week. Max goes to an employment agency and the attendant Jenny Mercer helps him to get a job in a can industry. Max decides to go straight and visits his old friend Willy Darin and his family. When Willy brings Max home, he injects heroin and leaves his spoon under Max's bed. Max dates Jenny, and on the next day after hours, he finds Frank waiting for him snooping around his room. Frank finds the spoon and sends Max to prison for tests to prove whether he had a fix or not. Despite the negative result, Frank leaves Max for a week imprisoned. When Max is released again, Frank gives a ride and presses him to tell who had a fix in his room. Max hits Frank, steals his car, and seeks out his former friends to restart his ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

can he go straight or will he go straight back inside? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film went 23 days over schedule and $1,000,000 over budget. It did not make back its negative costs at the box office. See more »

Goofs

In the final diner scene, Jenny is smoking a cigarette and hands the cigarette to Max. In the next shot, the cigarette is back in Jenny's hand. See more »

Quotes

Max Dembo: You know what I'd like to do... Why don't you run me by that hotel we'll check it out.
Mickey: Yeah, well I'll drive you out there but I'm not gonna rob it for you, you have to do that yourself. I got stomach trouble... no guts.
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Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.6 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Two of Us
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Norma Green (as Norma Helms)
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User Reviews

 
An absolutely wonderful sleeper.
17 August 1999 | by Skip McCoySee all my reviews

This is such a great film. The cast is so excellent. You've got Dustin Hoffman, who turns in one of his best performances, but it only gets better from there. Gary Busey plays Hoffman's buddy and husband to Kathy Bates-both excellent. Harry Dean Stanton (probably one of my favorite actors) plays one of Hoffman's partners in heist. His performance is right on the money as always. M. Emmet Walsh plays Hoffman's nearly inhumanly sleazy parole officer. Walsh does such a good job here too(I read somewhere that the Coens saw him in this movie and that was what led them to cast him in Blood Simple). Theresa Russell does a nice job as Hoffman's girlfriend. Eddie Bunker himself shows up as a bartender. It's no one wonder Tarantino would want to study this film-it's remarkable.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Cantonese

Release Date:

21 April 1978 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

No Beast So Fierce See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,900,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First Artists, Sweetwall See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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