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Bone (1972)

 -  Comedy  -  July 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 528 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 16 critic

A thief breaks into the home of a wealthy, happily married Beverly Hills couple. He soon finds out, though, that the couple is neither as wealthy as he thought they were and are not as ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
The Girl
Casey King ...
The Boy
Brett Somers ...
X-Ray Lady
Dick Yarmy ...
Bank Teller
James Lee ...
Rosanna Huffman ...
Ida Berlin ...
Lady on Bus


A thief breaks into the home of a wealthy, happily married Beverly Hills couple. He soon finds out, though, that the couple is neither as wealthy as he thought they were and are not as happily married as they appeared. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

July 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beverly Hills Nightmare  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The German Shepherd in the film was Larry Cohen's own dog, and the red sweater sported by Yaphet Kotto in latter portions of the movie was also Cohen's - which Kotto then took and never gave back. See more »


Bone: [Holding a dead rat and jumping up and down] Usually, they's pretty smart. But when you're sucked up, bein' smart don' mean nothin'!
Bill: My wife is really rather squeamish.
Bone: Here, you wanna touch it?
Bill: No, it's dead. I don't like dead things.
See more »


References Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

A Good Bone to Gnaw On
6 December 2008 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

In the United States, race relations are and will remain a relevant issue for many years to come. The current Presidential Race has revealed that, despite the superficial progress this country has made, race relations haven't really improved all that much. Yes there's a black man on the brink of becoming the first black President, but considering it has taken almost 300 years for this country to even consider the black man to be a worthy candidate is, in itself, a reflection of how blacks in the US remain second class citizens politically, economically and socially. Today, blacks comprise 13 percent of the national population, but also 30 percent of people arrested, 41 percent of people in jail and 49 percent of those in prison. One in ten black men in their twenties and early thirties are in prison or jail. Thirteen percent of the black adult male population has lost the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws. This is hardly the picture of equality.

Hollywood has had many kicks at the racial cat, but few have been as brazen as Larry Cohen's 1972 Bone. Cohen opens the film with a title card that declares "The year is 1970. The most powerful nation on earth wages war against one of the poorest countries -- which it finds impossible to defeat. And in this great and affluent nation exists its smallest richest city...And it is called Beverly Hills." With this opening Cohen defines the battlefield of a class war that spans the globe, one where the white ruling elite (aka The Establishment) is intent on keeping its vice grips tight on the throat of the poor. But to the eroding Establishment's chagrin, the poor -- oppressed, disenfranchised and pi$$ed off -- are fighting back. Cohen isn't subtle about getting his point across and this opening shot of a light bulb turning on then off sends a clear message to the audience: like it or not, you will be illuminated.

The characters within Cohen's story represent the ideological instead of the individual. Yaphet Kotto who stars as the titular character epitomizes white establishments greatest fear: black, big, strong, motivated, angry and smart. Bone represents the uprising, more specifically the black power movement, and, ultimately, the same poor people who the most powerful nation in the world cannot defeat: the Viet Cong. Bone's presence sets into motion a series of events that reveal things are not as cozy as they seem in white America: its broke (both financially and spiritually), its in denial and its in decline.

Andrew Duggan is Bill, a famous, rich, car dealership owner/car salesman, who is selling a failing American Dream. When Bone pulls the veil off of Bill, the Establishment is revealed as a bankrupt and immoral sham. Bill's only love is for paper and after Bone sends Bill on an errand to clean out his bank account or suffer the loss of his wife, Bill sides with his money despite a half-hearted attempt to maintain his carefully constructed and maintained public appearance.

Cohen recognizes the white elite are an obvious and easy target, and as quickly as Bill is emasculated, Cohen redirects his critique to the Uprising, showing that once the disenfranchised have a taste of wealth, they too lose sight of their ideals. Bill's wife Bernadette symbolizes the ignorance/innocence of the status quo and once Bone gains her respect/acceptance, he allows himself to be seduced by her. This slave/slave owner's wife seduction symbolizes a misdirected/idealized quest for power that is reduced to fu**ing the same force that has been fu**ing you your entire life. But this conquest results in selling out to the same system, thusly subsuming the Uprising through assimilation. In other words, once the Uprising buys into the system, the Uprising becomes the Establishment.

But Cohen doesn't stop there, in fact, he goes to great length to ensure that no one gets a free pass. The secondary characters within Bone also represent particular demographics, and they too are indicted with equal impunity. Bone's strength is that it chooses not to make a hero out of anyone or any cause and in doing so, it distributes the blame equally. We are the sum total of all our decisions and no matter how hard we fight to change things, all we're ever capable of doing is rearranging the chess pieces on the chess board.

Watching Bone today makes you realize that as much as times have changed, they remain exactly the same. That's not to say Bone isn't dated by specifics (wardrobe, production design, The Vietnam War, etc)

  • it definitely is a film that encapsulates its era - but what is

striking is its depiction of an America bitterly divided (see above still for visual metaphor) by race, sex, class and ideology. Sound familiar?

3 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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One of teh best movies of our time. happinessisbunk
Entertaining Mr Bone... garp-26
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