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

"Columbo" The Most Crucial Game (1972)

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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:
One of the weaker Columbo episodes 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:
Donald Chaffin ... Fisherman (uncredited)
LeRoy Ellis ... Basketball Player (uncredited)
Keith Erickson ... Basketball Player (uncredited)
Ben Frommer ... Photographer (uncredited)
Mickey Golden ... Spectator (uncredited)
Marvin Goux ... Rockets Staff (uncredited)
Harold 'Happy' Hairston ... Basketball Player (uncredited)
Jim McMillan ... Basketball Player (uncredited)

Pat Riley ... Basketball Player (uncredited)
Flynn Robinson ... Basketball Player (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
Henry Mancini .... composer: Sunday Mystery Movie theme
Hal Mooney .... music supervisor
Other crew
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Jackson Gillis .... executive story consultant
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther 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 »
Revealing mistakes: Wagner's place in "The Most Crucial Game" is Franklin's house in "Murder by the Book".See more »
Lt. Columbo:This is what bothers me: Why were you fired from that job after only three days? Because, if you don't mind my noticing, you'd be an ornament in any office.See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited from A Gathering of Eagles (1963)See more »
Eine kleine NachtmusikSee more »


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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
One of the weaker Columbo episodes, 18 September 2001
Author: vze2nkqb

Despite the presence of frequent Columbo guest star Robert Culp and a strong supporting cast, `The Most Crucial Game' is a pretty weak offering. The main problem is the ending: Columbo doesn't really prove that Culp has committed the murder, all he's done is break his alibi.

This one is okay to watch once, but there are better episodes.

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