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Coogan's Bluff (1968)

Approved  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  2 October 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 10,984 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 27 critic

An Arizona deputy goes to New York City to escort a fugitive back into custody.


(as Donald Siegel)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Roth
Tisha Sterling ...
James Ringerman
Betty Field ...
Ellen Ringerman
Tom Tully ...
Melodie Johnson ...
James Edwards ...
Sgt. Jackson
Running Bear
Pushie (as David F. Doyle)
Taxi Driver
Meg Myles ...
Big Red
Marjorie Bennett ...
Mrs. Fowler
Young Hood


Coogan, an Arizona cop, is sent to New York to collect a prisoner. Everyone in New York assumes Coogan is from Texas, much to his annoyance. To add to Coogan's problems the prisoner isn't ready, so he decides to cut a few corners. In the process the prisoner escapes, and Coogan is ordered home. Too proud to return home empty handed, Coogan sets out into the big city to recapture his prisoner. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Prisoner On the Loose, A Cop Over the Edge. This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Them. See more »


Action | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coogans bluff  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last film role for Betty Field. See more »


Lampposts: The movie is set in New York yet shows side street lighting usually found in San Francisco. By 1967, half of New York had replaced street lighting with new aluminum poles, and those that had not been replaced would have seen the more common 'bishops crook' masts or 'long arm' poles. See more »


Mrs. Ellen Ringerman: [to Coogan, who's looking for her son] I don't usually make no deals with cops.
Coogan: Be smart if you did...
Mrs. Ellen Ringerman: Smart? Smartness is one thing, motherhood's another
See more »


Referenced in Californication: Dicks (2014) See more »


Lyrics by Wally Holmes
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Sung by The Pigeon-Toed Orange Peels
See more »

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User Reviews

A smart career move for Clint
21 August 2002 | by (San Marcos, CA) – See all my reviews

Clint Eastwood has always been one of the most career-savvy superstars of all time. Looking over his filmography, since his career breakthrough it is obvious he has never done a film strictly for the money and has solid reasons behind every film he has made. Even his worst films have a purpose: "The Rookie," for instance, which most people would agree is a career low, was obviously made to satisfy the brass at Warner Bros. by delivering a modern-day Dirty Harry clone so he would be left alone to work on his Academy Award-winning classic "Unforgiven," which came out two years later. So it is with "Coogan's Bluff," which most viewers would probably dismiss as second-rate Eastwood, but in reality served as a savvy bridge from Westerns (the type of genre he was primarily known for at the time) into more modern day roles.

As directed by his mentor Don Siegel, "Coogan's Bluff" actually opens in the Arizona desert, which strongly resembles the background of his spaghetti westerns. Indeed, the first character we see is a loincloth-attired man, who appears to be Indian, so the audience is tricked into thinking they're watching a western. Then, we see a jeep driving down a dirt road, with a stetson-wearing Clint at the wheel. He is Dept. Sheriff Coogan, and there we see our first view of Clint as a modern lawman. It isn't long before he's in New York City, chasing down an escaped extradited criminal (Don Stroud), romancing a beautiful parole officer (Susan Clark) and butting heads with a strong-willed police captain (Lee J.Cobb, a terrific, yet sadly forgotten character actor of the day). Therefore, in a matter of fifteen minutes, Siegel cleverly introduces Eastwood as a contemporary figure, a transition that will be complete when he returns to modern times three years later in his most famous role, "Dirty Harry" Callahan.

But "Coogan's Bluff" is an enjoyable film on its own terms. Eastwood at times is very funny here--his retort to an unethical cab driver is priceless--and the film moves along at a brisk pace. Just don't expect action galore or a high body count. Clint doesn't kill anybody here; there's no broad conspiracy or mystery to solve; his job is simply to find the prisoner and take him home. In fact, the film is at its best when its dealing with Coogan as a fish-out-of-water, dealing with various New York thieves, crooks, drug dealers, hippies, and the aforementioned cab driver. There is, however, a well-choreographed fight scene in a bar and an exciting motorcycle chase for a climax, but that's as much action as there is. It's also pretty short for an Eastwood film: where most of his films run over two hours, this one clocks in at a brisk 94 minutes, next to "Joe Kidd" and "The Dead Pool," one of his shortest adventures.

So there you have it, a "minor" effort that served a "major" purpose in what has become an important Hollywood career. *** (out of *****)

39 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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