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The Iceman Cometh (1973)

PG | | Drama | 10 November 1973 (USA)
A salesman with a sudden passion for reform has an idea to sell to his barfly buddies: throw away your pipe dreams. The drunkards, living in a flophouse above a saloon, resent the idea.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hildy Brooks ...
Pearl (as Nancy Juno Dawson)
Evans Evans ...
Martyn Green ...
John McLiam ...
Stephen Pearlman ...
Tom Pedi ...


It's 1912 and the patrons of 'The Last Chance Saloon' have gathered for their evening of whiskey to contemplate their lost faith and dreams, when Hickey (Lee Marvin) arrives. Hickey is out to convince everyone that he can help them all find peace of mind by ridding them of the foolish dreams and by bringing them back to reality. Hickey is working especially hard on Larry Slade (Robert Ryan) a former anarchist who has lost his will for life and is awaiting the eventuality of death. Larry is not affected by the cajolings of Hickey but his young companion Parritt (Jeff Bridges) is strangely affected and this leads to revelations about his own mother and feelings of betrayal and loss. As the night wears on the mood changes as everyone has the their faith and dreams slowly destroyed by Hickey. As the anger builds everyone turns on Hickey about his wife and the iceman. This leads to more revelations and with Hickey having the faint questioning of his own new found convictions. Written by Dr pepper <j0468@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They drank and they dreamed...tomorrow they would conquer the world...then along came Hickey.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buzcu Geliyor  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Jeff Bridges was first offered this movie by his agent, he turned it down, having just completed The Last American Hero (1973) for Lamont Johnson. When Johnson heard this, he immediately called Jeff and reprimanded him for his foolish decision. See more »


Larry Slade: As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It's irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say.
See more »


Referenced in The Cosby Show: The Iceman Bricketh (1991) See more »

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19 May 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am adding my comment because the TV version did not show up on the IMDB cross-reference list. This play was previously produced in the early 1960s for the TV "Play of the Week" series. It starred Jason Robards Jr. as Hickey. Many consider this his finest performance and this TV version, the finest production. I saw both the movie version listed here and the TV version. As good as Lee Marvin's performance was, I also agree that the TV version is superior. See this if you can. The Iceman Cometh also happens to be my favorite play.

An aside; I believe that Jason Robards Jr. was not offered the part for the movie version because at that time, his alcoholism got the better of him. There is irony here since the play demonstrates the impact of alcoholism and the pipe dreams that come from it. Up till then, the role of Hickey belonged to Mr. Robards Jr. as it should have. Mr. Robards Jr. interpretation of Eugene O'Neill's plays have always been masterful. I am convinced he was deeply hurt and has always regretted not being able to perform in the movie production.

An experiment that I am sorry ended.

This movie was an early part of a new production experiment in which the audience prepaid for the series (I am not sure of the series name but I seem to remember the American Film Theater or Institute). I had subscribed to it and I am sorry that the experiment failed after producing perhaps no more than 10 fine productions of classic plays.

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this film is so dark, I wonder if the writer thought FlorenceLawrence
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