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Cold Turkey (1971)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 19 February 1971 (USA)
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:
Hiram C. Grayson
Walter Chronic / Paul Hardly / Arthur Lordly (as Ray)
Mrs. Wappler
Letitia Hornsby
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 <B.Martz@Genie.com>

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:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Dropping the cigarettes onto the crowd, in the last midnight town square gathering, was actually done by putting 8" diameter, 25'-long pipes against the trees in the town square. The pipes were then filled with cigarettes. Then, on cue, air was blasted into the pipe bottom, shooting them into the air and onto the crowd. After each take everyone was asked to gather up the cigarettes from the ground and turn them in so they could be reloaded into the cigarette canons and rained down again. The filming of this final scene took several weeks in the late fall in Iowa where it is pretty cold. In the movie it is supposed to be summer time so the actresses are dressed in summer dresses. In between takes everyone (actors and extras) were huddled in winter coats sucking on ice cubes. The ice cubes kept their mouth and breath cold so they wouldn't steam when they breathed. See more »


When Amos starts his no smoking patrol he is located on a gravel road leading into town. Why didn't they ever show any other roads leading into town with the no smoking patrol on them if they were trying prevent tobacco products from entering Eagle Rock? 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.
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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
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User Reviews

Early Signs of the Norman Lear Touch
23 July 2002 | by (Olathe, KS, USA) – See all my reviews

There is a lot more to this movie than initially meets the eye. The obvious humor is good enough, but the social commentary that is wryly interjected makes this a funnier movie the second time around. There is a lot of satire about the media, the tobacco industry and organized religion.

I can't be completely objective about this movie. It was filmed in my home town when I was 9 years old. My parents, grandmother and step-grandfather and LOTS of people I know are in the crowd scenes. One of those little fuzz balls in the back ground is me, but alas, Hollywood never called <grin>.

Norman Lear, Dick Van Dyke and many of the other cast members returned to Greenfield, IA for the 30th anniversary celebration. Norman Lear mentioned that the idea for "All in the Family" was rejected by the networks. They never felt that the program would fly in middle America. His experience with the good people of Iowa during the filming reinforced his belief that "All in the Family" would be a hit.

Watching this movie gives a glimpse into what was to become the genius of Norman Lear. I don't think it is one of the world's all time great comedies, but it is certainly worth a look - or perhaps two.

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