32 user 17 critic

Sometimes a Great Notion (1970)

A family of fiercely independent Oregon loggers struggle to keep the family business alive amidst changing times.



(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Viv Stamper
Leeland Stamper
Joe Ben Stamper
Linda Lawson ...
Andy Stamper
Sam Gilman ...
John Stamper
Willard Eggleston
Jim Burk ...
Biggy Newton
Howie Elwood
Joe Maross ...
Floyd Evenwrite
Roy Poole ...
Les Gibbons
Bennie E. Dobbins ...
(as Bennie Dobbins)


Hank Stamper and his father, Henry Stamper own and operate the family business by cutting and shipping logs in Oregon. The town is furious when they continue working despite the town going broke and the other loggers go on strike ordering the Stampers to stop, however Hank continues to push his family on cutting more trees. Hank's wife wishes he would stop and hopes that they can spend more time together. When Hank's half trouble making brother Leland comes to work for them, more trouble starts. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He wouldn't knuckle under for God himself! See more »


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 December 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Never Give a Inch  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The book makes reference to the movie "Summer and Smoke", but incorrectly names Paul Newman as the co-star with Geraldine Page in that film, rather than her actual co-star Lawrence Harvey. Lee Remick was also in "Summer and Smoke" See more »


During the Motorcycle race, Hank takes a spill and gets an entire left side caked with wet mud. The rest of the race and picnic, the level of mud on Hank's clothes changes back and forth from muddy to not so muddy. See more »


[first lines]
Floyd Evenwrite: He's been over there a while. Ya think he's doing any good?
Biggy Newton: [shrugs]
Floyd Evenwrite: I got payments to make on a Chevrolet. Goddamn scabs over there!
See more »


References Bend of the River (1952) See more »


All His Children
Lyrics by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman
Music by Henry Mancini
Sung by Charley Pride
See more »

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User Reviews

A fine, workable adaption of an excellent but unfilmable novel
27 December 2000 | by (adams, oregon) – See all my reviews

Kesey's superb epic novel with its shifting points of view and verb tense is far too complex a work to adapt directly. Kesey's prose while exceptionally cinematic in its description and action ironically proves unfilmable.

That said, Paul Newman and his production team have created a most admirable and solid, if rather top heavy adaption of Kesey's excellent novel.

The dialogue while rather shallow and weak in spurts (Kesey's rich vernacular is lost)is overcome by a wonderful ensemble cast featuring some of America's finest. Who better that Henry Fonda to play Newman's father? Richard Jaekel richly earns the Oscar nomination as the dim-witted but enthusiastic born again lumberjack Joe-Ben. The famous scene where Newman tries desperately to save Jaekel's character from drowning is heartbreakingly tragic and darkly comic. It is a marvelous example of direction.

Newman spent a great deal of time in my native Oregon researching the part and the film and his homework shows. Kesey's rich descriptions of the land remain largely intact. The sense of time and place is impressively captured in the photography of rusting metal, dripping ferns, rotting wood and mildewed carpets. This is a film that one can almost smell.

Newman is one of the finest artists ever to come out of Hollywood. Not only as an actor, but also as a director. He instinctivly knows how to illicit naturalistic, comfortable and utterly human performances from his casts and Sometimes a Great Notion is no exception. Well worth a look. 7 out of 10 stars.

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Read the book. Forget the movie. jimmyg1935-1
One of the most under-rated films in history ch5563
favorite line...... rhonda-yates
This Movie Needs a DVD NOW! Wailmer1990
So Hank screwed his step-mom? nashphil
This was filmed around my hometown! lovesick80
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