IMDb > "Columbo" The Most Crucial Game (1972)

"Columbo" The Most Crucial Game (1972)

« Prev | 11 of 68 Episodes | Next »


User Rating:
7.4/10   952 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
John T. Dugan (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for The Most Crucial Game on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
5 November 1972 (Season 2, Episode 3)
The manager of a football team murders its callow owner, making it look as if the young man had had an accident in his swimming pool. Lt. Columbo is on the case. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Fast-Moving, Interesting Episode But Ending Was Disappointing See more (26 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Robert Culp ... Paul Hanlon

Dean Jagger ... Walter Cunnell

James Gregory ... Coach Rizzo

Valerie Harper ... Eve Babcock
Susan Howard ... Shirley Wagner

Dean Stockwell ... Eric Wagner

Val Avery ... Ralph Dobbs
Kathryn Kelly Wiget ... Miss Johnson
Richard Stahl ... Mr. Fremont

Don Keefer ... Deputy Coroner
Cliff Carnell ... Plainclothesman
Joe Renteria ... Box Attendant Jimmy
Ivan Naranjo ... Sgt. Hernandez, L.A.P.D.
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
LeRoy Ellis ... Himself (uncredited)
Keith Erickson ... Himself (uncredited)
Ben Frommer ... Photographer at Practice (uncredited)
Harold 'Happy' Hairston ... Himself (uncredited)
Jim McMillan ... Himself (uncredited)

Pat Riley ... Himself (uncredited)
Flynn Robinson ... Himself (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Jeremy Kagan 
Writing credits
John T. Dugan (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Edward K. Dodds .... associate producer
Dean Hargrove .... producer
Original Music by
Dick DeBenedictis (music score) (as Dick De Benedictis)
Cinematography by
Harry L. Wolf (director of photography) (as Harry Wolf)
Film Editing by
J. Terry Williams  (as J Terry Williams)
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
John McCarthy Jr. (set decorations) (as John McCarthy)
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Brad H. Aronson .... assistant director (as Brad Aronson)
Sound Department
Edwin S. Hall .... sound
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Grady Hunt .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Hal Mooney .... music supervisor
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Jackson Gillis .... executive story consultant
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Universal TV (from Universal City, California) (as Universal® Studios)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
74 min
Color (Technicolor)
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2005) | UK:PG (video rating) (2005) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Robert Culp's character of Paul Hanlon wears a green single-breasted blazer as one of his costumes. Culp also wore a green blazer in both of his other appearances as the murderer, Investigator Brimmer in "Death Lends a Hand" and Dr. Bart Keppel in "Double Exposure".See more »
Continuity: As Columbo sits in his car listening to the Rockets game on the car radio, watch his cigar. The ash falls on his raincoat, and we see that the size of his stubby stogie is barely a butt. Mere milliseconds later, we see the cigar again, magically regenerated, having grown back to almost full size.See more »
Lt. Columbo:You know, I had tickets for the game? Didn't even use 'em. Couldn't enjoy it. Till I find the answer, I can't think of anything else.See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited from A Gathering of Eagles (1963)See more »
Eine kleine NachtmusikSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
20 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Fast-Moving, Interesting Episode But Ending Was Disappointing, 12 August 2006
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States

Robert Culp is the "bad guy" here, after killing his boss: a young, spoiled owner of a pro football team who is basically a good-for-nothing. Culp, the general manager of the team, does all the work for the team and has little use for the "kid."

He decides to kill the owner while the latter is in his swimming pool during the middle of the one of the team's games. (The owner could care less about his club play) Culp has to make it look like he never left the stadium during the murder, so they can't blame it on him.

In the end, Lt. Columbo figures a flaw in his alibi, but I thought it was kind of weak, to be honest. I wonder, if it was real-life story, if the court would have gone along with it. I doubt it; Culp probably would have walked.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting 75 minutes. It also was interesting to see Valerie Harper's very short (too short) appearance near the end as a call girl. That was bizarre. There were good "names" in here with a young Dean Stockwell playing that owner; James Gregory as the coach and Dean Jagger as the man who used to be the lawyer for Stockwell's dad. Lots of other interesting characters in here, too. Too bad the ending was so abrupt and weak.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (26 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for "Columbo" (1971)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Columbo HAD solid evidence but didn't use it (SPOILERS) Bowler-6
Eric Wagner's house GloriaMundy
See more »

Related Links

Main series Episode guide Full cast and crew
Company credits External reviews IMDb TV section
IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.