Get Carter (1971)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  18 March 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 20,941 users  
Reviews: 183 user | 90 critic

When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances in a car accident, London gangster Jack Carter travels to Newcastle to investigate.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Osborne ...
Tony Beckley ...
Peter the Dutchman
George Sewell ...
Geraldine Moffat ...
Glenda (as Geraldine Moffatt)
Dorothy White ...
Rosemarie Dunham ...
Petra Markham ...
Bryan Mosley ...
Glynn Edwards ...
Albert Swift
Bernard Hepton ...
Terence Rigby ...


A vicious London gangster, Jack Carter, travels to Newcastle for his brother's funeral. He begins to suspect that his brother's death was not an accident and sets out to follow a complex trail of lies, deceit, cover-ups and backhanders through Newcastle's underworld, leading, he hopes, to the man who ordered his brother killed. Because of his ruthlessness Carter exhibits all the unstopability of the android in Terminator, or Walker in Point Blank, and he and the other characters in the film are prone to sudden, brutal acts of violence. Written by Mark Thompson <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The original gangster is back. See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 March 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jack rechnet ab  »

Box Office


£750,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Not long after Get Carter (1971) was released, Michael Caine was in the West End and came across the gangster Jack Carter whose life the film was based upon. He was highly critical of the film, saying there is no gangster in the world like Jack Carter. He didn't have a wife, children or responsibilities of any kind. Rather than start an incident, Caine agreed with everything he said." Unfortunately, although entertaining, this is utter rubbish from start to finish! 1) Get Carter is fiction, based upon a novel by the late Ted Lewis. NOT a 'real' gangster called Jack Carter. (In fact, the novel doesn't even mention Newcastle, but was set in a generic northern town.) And it WASN'T based on the infamous Newcastle 'One Armed Bandit Murder' of the late '60s either, as urban myths would have you believe! 2) One of the many contradictory anecdotes told by Caine is that, coming from Elephant and Castle, South London, he did know gangsters, and the few conversations about the film that he had with them, were generally complimentary in their analysis, although he has mentioned about the character Carter being criticized for having no family, or responsibilities. However, he has also misquoted his own character on many occasions, and told many contradictory anecdotes about the film. 3) As alluded to, the film is an amalgam of the novel, and various underworld practices prevalent at the time. Two brothers running a powerful organized crime outfit. Illicit pornography. A feared enforcer etc, etc. In spite of the film featuring a certain John Bindon, and the home of Kinnear in reality being the former country house of Vince Landa, (he of the 'One Armed Bandit' outfit), where the notorious parties took place, THERE WAS NO 'REAL' Jack Carter, and Caine didn't 'come across' him, regardless of Caine's chosen account of the day. Sometimes the facts are less entertaining than a good yarn. See more »


(at around 1h 2 mins) the screeching of brakes can still be heard, briefly, after the car has come to a standstill. See more »


Jack Carter: [to Margaret] I've come for you, Margaret.
See more »


Referenced in Performance and Cocktails: Live at Morfa Stadium (1999) See more »


Love Is A Four Letter Word
Music by Roy Budd
Lyrics by Jack Fishman
See more »

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User Reviews

Better than Godfather
30 December 2004 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

If there can be anything such as a 'generic genre', then the great British gangster film must be it. But don't blame Get Carter for this, blame Madge's husband, Guy Ritchie. I saw Get Carter again recently and it must be the least dated film from the seventies ever made. This is largely because the situations, characters, settings and even fashions are so slice of life. It's a lot more convincing than a lot of the Sean Penn stuff at the moment, and even hyper-real stuff like Gummo or Julian Donkey Boy. I think this is because there's no exaggeration in Get Carter. It's not shot in some weird hicky town in the middle of nowhere, it's shot in Newcastle, one of the UK's major cities. And Get Carter tells it like it is. It is this no-nonsense style that still makes it look one of the coolest films around. Also, there aren't any heroes, which is a good thing. Well, how many 'heroes' have you met? Carter, though no hero, is a great character, make no mistake about that, and he shows just enough emotion for the audience to identify with him: like when he stumbles across his dead brother's daughter in some seedy porn film, and the whole motivation for his revenge mission in the first place. But he is a cold blooded killer too, hardened by London's gangland, and violence is his main emotional outlet in everything else - sex etc - he's pretty cool. It's not just the killers he's after, it's anyone even associated with it. And he dispatches them with a passion. "I know you didn't kill him!! I know!!" and "Goodbye ----!!" being two memorable sign offs. I really do believe this is a better film than Godfather. Godfather exists in a world most of us will never experience and is one of the best Hollywood films. Get Carter though, exists in our world, and the superb characters, acting and writing make it totally believable - even when Michael Caine walks naked out of the door of his seedy B & B with his shotgun to escort out some local hoods, the most memorable thing you remember about the scene is the previously belligerent moaning old lady neighbour scurrying into her house, terrified. Oh, and Budd's soundtrack is pure sleazy brilliance, well up to the standard of virtually everything else about the film.

32 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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