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Cold Turkey (1971)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  19 February 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,455 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 11 critic

Hoping for positive publicity, a tobacco company offers $25 million to any American town that quits smoking for 30 days. Amidst a media frenzy, Eagle Rock, Iowa accepts the challenge while the company's PR man tries to sabotage the effort.



(screen story), (screen story) (as William Price Fox Jr.) , 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rev. Clayton Brooks
Natalie Brooks
Mr. Stopworth
Hiram C. Grayson
Bob Elliott ...
Hugh Upson / David Chetley / Sandy Van Andy (as Bob)
Ray Goulding ...
Walter Chronic / Paul Hardly / Arthur Lordly (as Ray)
Mayor Quincey L. Wappler
Dr. Proctor
Graham Jarvis ...
Amos Bush
Mrs. Wappler
Barbara Cason ...
Letitia Hornsby
Judith Lowry ...
Odie Turman
Sudie Bond ...
Helen Page Camp ...
Mrs. Watson
Zen Buddhist


Reverend Brooks leads the town in a contest to stop smoking for a month, But some tobacco executives don't want them to win, and try everything they can to make them smoke. If townspeople don't go nuts from wanting a cigarette, or kill each other from irritation and frustration, they will win a huge prize. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What happens when an evil tobacco company offers $25,000,000 to an entire town to stop smoking for thirty days? What happens when 4,006 heavy smokers from Eagle Rock, Iowa take up the challenge? See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for smoking content throughout and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 February 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der 25 Millionen Dollar Preis  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the opening scene where Merwin Wren is talking to Hiram C. Grayson, a banjo can be heard playing Elmer Bernstein's theme music from The Magnificent Seven (1960). The tune was known for its use in television commercials for Marlboro cigarettes in the 1960s. See more »


Prior to being challenged to start smoking himself, the Reverend is shown (talking with his wife after a speech) holding a lit cigarette. See more »


Tobacco Executive: You said no town in America would sign up.
Wren: Must've - must've got my wires crossed somewhere.
Tobacco Executive: Now you'll say they won't go through with it.
Wren: Bottom line? Never.
Tobacco Executive: How do you know they won't smoke and hide out? How do you know that, Wren?
Wren: Well, they, uh... they took an oath. On, uh, like, a bible.
Tobacco Executive: We didn't think it was on a slab of bacon.
See more »


Referenced in Midnight Hard (1971) See more »


Listen to the Mockingbird
Music by Richard Milburn and lyrics by Septimus Winner (1855)
Played during band medley
See more »

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User Reviews

Hilarious, Underrated Satire
14 October 2000 | by (Lexington, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Fantastic movie comedy -- easily one of the best satires of American life ever put on film. Norman Lear wrote and directed this gem just before moving on to "All In The Family". "Cold Turkey" and "All In The Family" are his two greatest creations. It begins with the script. It's funny from beginning to end. The script has clever dialogue, inventive ideas, an eye for detail. I can't do it justice. Just see the movie. The cast includes many of my all-time favorites, including Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Tom Poston, Barnard Hughes, and Jean Stapleton. You'll see a lot of people you recognize from other movies and sitcoms of the 1970s, including many who turned up on "All In The Family" and other Lear shows. "Cold Turkey" is also the best movie showcase for possibly the greatest comedy team of all time. Bob & Ray are brilliant satirizing newscasters of the time, like Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Paul Harvey, and Hugh Downs. If you're not a Bob & Ray fan, hopefully this movie will make you one. Randy Newman's soundtrack is terrific. If it ever came out on a CD, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. And it helps that the movie, which is set in a small Iowa town, was actually filmed in a small Iowa town, rather than some Hollywood backlot. It gives the movie a feeling of authenticity. This movie should have been on the AFI 100 Best Comedies list. See it.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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screenplay for cold turkey avianroo
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