Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues
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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

One of the better movies about the drug culture of the early 70's

Author: jbernhard from Somerville Mass
24 June 2006

It's a crying shame Warner's has never released this. I don't know if it's the subject matter or the classic packed soundtrack full of big acts that's preventing them from doing something with this one. The comment on the front page about the slugs seems to have been written by someone who has not seen the film. There is no Jimmy and NO SLUGS. What you do get is a very pro pot themed film about a guy who moves weed cross country for his dealer, seemingly just because he enjoys the thrill. Back in the early 70's you could get stuff in and out of airports without any effort too. The film does not advocate harder drugs though, and shows the pot dealer ( a terrific John Lithgow in his debut...with HAIR! ) and his friends to be the good guys, while the cops are corrupt and evil and the organized crime guys are flat out murderous. Fans of Barbara Hershey will not be let down either, she looks great and has nude scenes as the hippie girlfriend who gets mixed up in a deal gone bad.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Good cast. Decent movie. Check it out.

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
11 December 2007

This is the kind of movie that only could have been made in the 1970's in that its HERO is a drug trafficker (albeit, also attending Harvard Law School), yet rather being a morality tale, it's actually a love story! The casually amoral attitude towards drugs and drug-dealing and the low-budget 70's counterculture vibe makes it somewhat similar to "Easy Rider" (many forget that the anti-heroes in that movie finance their motorcycle trip across America with a big cocaine deal). Unlike "Easy Rider" however, this is not an iconic touchstone for what over the next 40 years would become the Most Annoying Generation (i.e. the Baby Boomers), so it's easier to appreciate this movie based on its own, admittedly flawed, merits. The beginning of this movie is kind of like "Easy Rider" in that it seems to not only be about people who smoke a lot of dope, but also made BY people who were smoking a lot of dope. About halfway through though it turns into a pretty decent counterculture crime drama.

A Harvard law student (Robert Lyons) is sent from Boston to San Francisco to smuggle back a shipment of dope. There he falls in love with an uninhibited young girl (Barbara Hershey). Back in Boston, he convinces the campus drug dealer (John Lithgow) who sent him to have the girl bring out another shipment, so he can see her again. She ends up getting busted, but the pair realize that half the load was apparently pinched by a corrupt cop (Charles Durning), so they plot to steal it back from some Cubans he sold it to. Unfortunately, complications arise when they accidentally steal $80,000 in heroin as well as the $4,000 in dope. . .

Robert Lyons was a semi-successful movie actor at the time (at least in weird counter-culture flicks like this and "The Todd Killings"), even if he's mostly a television actor now. He's a little stiff at times but generally functional as the lead. John Lithgow, in one of his earliest roles, is great as a fey Harvard theater director who is also the major campus drug supplier. The love story in the middle of all this would be pretty far-fetched if the girl in question were not played by uber-sexy Barbara Hershey, who was THE quintessential early 70's hippie chick. And right behind her in the quintessential early hippie chick race was Joy Bang, who is also in the cast as Lithgow's tough-as-nails girlfriend and financial partner. Good cast. Decent movie. Check it out.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Everyone loses

5/10
Author: JasparLamarCrabb from Boston, MA
8 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Everyone loses in this offbeat counterculture comedy/drama written by Michael Critchon (under the pseudonym Michael Douglas). Robert F. Lyons is a Harvard law student who mules for theater director/dope dealer John Lithgow. He meets Berkeley beatnik Barbara Hershey on one run and falls in love...and gets her busted by crooked narc Charles Durning when he has her try to bring some drugs back to Cambridge. Incompetents Lithgow and Lyons try to exact revenge on Durning only to run afoul of Cuban Mafioso. It's an entertaining time-capsule of the early '70s with Lyons giving an exceptional performance. He's what THE PAPER CHASE'S James Hart would have been had he been an entrepreneurial stoner. Lithgow is terrific in an early role, trying to appear much more sinister than he is and Hershey is really beautiful in what amounts to a rather small role (despite top billing). With Joy Bang as Lithgow's not so helpful wife.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of the Better Teen Flicks

8/10
Author: georget-1 from Northern Colorado
23 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a great little Saturday night flick that kept me laughing and highly entertained. This was actually a fairly intelligent teen comedy for the day without the Adam Sandler style inanity. The director had some very interesting techniques that really kept my attention. There was the guitar solo that was sung off-key, but by the end of the song, it really worked. The cool "dealer" kid all buffed out in his shades, sitting on the pot, and somehow devolving into an infant. The big dope deal, and just after our hero departed the house, every cop on the West Coast descends upon it. I really liked it, and I wish it was available on re-release somewhere.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

comedy????

8/10
Author: vegasmoose702 from United States
1 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was a comedy???? I love this movie (maybe because I grew up in Boston and most of the movie takes place there, the same reasoning behind my love for "The Friends of Eddie Coyle"?) I saw "Dealing" with my older sister (she said she was my mom to get me in) when I was 13 (sis/mom said I was 11 to pay kid's price)though I did find a few scenes humorous ("F* U Susan", "F* U Peter", "F* everybody", I wouldn't call it a comedy. Considering it was 1972, I'm almost amazed this movie was released in the "big theaters", trafficking marijuana, police corruption, heroin, free love, etc. J. Edgar must have been rolling on the floor of Tricky Dick's Oval Office in a fit. I often look back on this movie in my memories and laugh (mostly about being embarrassed watching the "sex scene" sitting next to my sister), but I still believe this movie to be a drama and I would love to get a copy of it (as well as the movie "Clay Pigeon" that was in the coming attractions that day

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Mildly engaging curiosity

7/10
Author: NORDIC-2 from Barre, VT
12 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The December 1969 and January 1970 issues of 'Playboy' magazine featured the two halves of "Dealing," a story by "Michael Douglas" (the pseudonym for brothers Michael and Douglas Crichton a few years before the real Michael Douglas became famous). Soon after Alfred A. Knopf published the story in book form, the filmmaking team of Paul Williams, director, and Edward R. Pressman, producer ('Out of It'; 'The Revolutionary') purchased the movie rights and Williams and co-screenwriter David Odell fashioned a script. Peter (Robert F. Lyons), a somewhat lackadaisical Harvard law student, occasionally acts as a cross-country drug courier for a fellow student who deals marijuana (played by a menacing John Lithgow, in his first movie role). On one of his missions to California, Peter meets and falls in love with Susan (Barbara Hershey) and enlists her as another courier. Arriving on a flight from Berkeley to Boston with two suitcases full of pot, Susan is arrested by a crooked narcotics detective named Murphy (Charles Durning) who keeps half the pot to sell on his own. To spring Susan from jail, Peter concocts a risky but ultimately successful scheme to blackmail Murphy. In so doing, Peter graduates from adolescent aimlessness to adult purposefulness. Part pseudo-counterculture comedy, part coming-of-age story, part caper film, 'Dealing' is entertaining but of no great moment. Not on VHS or DVD.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nifty early 70's drug deal opus

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
8 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Laid-back Harvard law student Peter (a fine and engaging performance by Robert F. Lyons) works as a drug courier for quirky marijuana dealer John (smoothly played by John Lithgow in his film debut). Peter meets and falls for uninhibited hippie chick Susan (Barbara Hershey at her most radiant and charming) while making a dope run. Things get sticky after Susan gets busted by crooked narc Murphy (Charles Durning in splendidly slimy form). Director Paul Williams, who also co-wrote the flip script with David Odell, astutely captures the carefree and blithely amoral vibe of the early 70's drug counterculture; there's a neat anti-establishment bent to this picture, with dope pushers shown in a sympathetic light and the police depicted as evil and corrupt. Moreover, Williams not only also vividly nails the nervy thrill of breaking the law and getting away with it, but also tosses in a sweet love story for good measure. Joy Bang lends sturdy support as John's no-nonsense girlfriend Sandra. Popping up in quick bits are Paul Sorvino as a taxi driver and Victor Argo as a Cuban mobster. Michael Small's mellow bluesy score hits the get-down groovy spot. Edward R. Brown's handsome widescreen cinematography provides a pleasing glossy look. As a yummy plus, the delectable Mrs. Hershey bares her gorgeous body. Further enhanced by a choice rock soundtrack and a winningly irreverent sense of humor, it's a funky gas.

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