6.4/10
1,779
35 user 24 critic

The Laughing Policeman (1973)

In San Francisco, one victim in a mass murder is a police detective. His partner and a new partner investigate in the city's seamy side.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Per Wahlhoo) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man, his wife, and their friend, stage a bloody bank robbery, unaware they are stealing money from the Mob.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, Felicia Farr
The Outfit (1973)
Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Earl Macklin robs a bank owned by the mob, serves his prison time and is released, only to start a private war against the crime outfit that owned the bank.

Director: John Flynn
Stars: Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An idealistic rookie cop joins the LAPD to make ends meet while finishing law school, and is indoctrinated by a seasoned veteran. As time goes on, he loses his ambitions and family as police work becomes his entire life.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Jane Alexander
Busting (1974)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

LA cops Gould and Blake get in over their heads when they don't heed orders from above and go after a big crime boss. While higher ups in the police department want the cop duo to just ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Elliott Gould, Robert Blake, Allen Garfield
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Bored with his highway traffic duties, Arizona motorcycle patrolman John Wintergreen is assigned to Homicide where his polite investigative style irks his macho boss.

Director: James William Guercio
Stars: Robert Blake, Billy Green Bush, Mitchell Ryan
Prime Cut (1972)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A vicious Kansas City slaughterhouse owner and his hick family are having a bloody "beef" with the Chicago crime syndicate over profits from their joint illegal operations. Top enforcer Nick Devlin is sent to straighten things out.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek
The Seven-Ups (1973)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A tough detective who is part of an elite New York City unit is trying to find out who killed his partner, but uncovers a plot to kidnap mobsters for money.

Director: Philip D'Antoni
Stars: Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Victor Arnold
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it's paid, how could they get away?

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Police officer Patty Butler, alias "Chicklet," is the live-in girlfriend of Thomas 'Stick' Henderson to gather evidence. Detective Bo Lockley is instructed to try to find her, not knowing she's also a cop.

Director: Milton Katselas
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Yaphet Kotto, Susan Blakely
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After his last crime has him looking at a long prison sentence for repeat offenses, a low level Boston gangster decides to snitch on his friends to avoid jail time.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan
Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver ... See full summary »

Director: John Flynn
Stars: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Unassuming and single thirty-three year old Tillie Shlain is at that phase of her life of being known as a soon to be spinster if she doesn't marry soon. She isn't looking forward to ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Walter Matthau, Carol Burnett, Geraldine Page
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Larsen
...
Larrimore (as Lou Gossett)
Albert Paulsen ...
Camerero
...
Steiner
...
Pappas
...
Kay
...
Bobby Mow
...
Monica
Shirley Ballard ...
Grace
William Hansen ...
Schwermer
Don Borisenko ...
Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
...
Haygood
Louis Guss ...
Gus Niles
...
Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
Edit

Storyline

A policeman is among the victims when the passengers of a late-night bus are machine-gunned. With only one semi- conscious survivor and no other witnesses, the detectives try to learn from the identities of the dead why this happened and who the killer could be. Climax includes excellent chase. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every clue is cold. Every lead is blind. Every suspect is dead. When will the killer strike again...and why are the cops so scared? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1974 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

An Investigation of a Murder  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,280,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

While most movies might film an exterior shot and film the corresponding interiors scenes elsewhere or on a studio set, The Laughing Policeman was filmed in actual San Francisco locations with the corresponding interior scenes filmed in those same locations. See more »

Goofs

When Larsen follows Henry Camerero into the back door of a gay bar, the sign outside it says "The Ramrod". However, when Camerero exits the bar through the front door a few minutes later, the sign above the door says "The Frolic Room". See more »

Quotes

Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Know what you can do for us, Rodney? You're gonna walk down the street, you're gonna get in the back seat of that white car, or I'm gonna kick your nuts right up around your neck. You know what I mean, boy?
Insp. James Larrimore SFPD: Partner, go to the car and get on the radio.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Oh, what did I do, break another rule?
[to Davis]
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: And what are you gonna do, son? Eyeball me to death?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Erotic Fantasies (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't We Got Fun
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan and Gus Kahn
Sung by the street performers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Unjustly obscure police depiction
5 November 2003 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

For some reason, this crime drama is almost completely overlooked. Even though it has it's faults, it is mostly a terrific examination of a police investigation. (In fact, in Australia, it was titled "Investigation of a Murder" which is far more apt a title than what it is here.) Matthau plays a police detective whose partner has been gunned down in a mass murder aboard a city bus. He is paired with Dern to find out if there's a connection between the massacre and the policeman's presence on the bus. They form an uneasy alliance (due to their clashing personalities and styles of working) and attempt to solve the baffling case. Gossett makes a strong impression as a fellow detective, though his character sort of drifts out of the picture at some point. Crosby and Cassidy have small, early roles as women who were affected by the murders. What's brilliant about the film is the wondrous verisimilitude and almost complete authenticity of the settings and performances. Only occasionally, can someone be caught "acting". Most of the time, the camera acts in an almost documentary fashion, eavesdropping on the various events and conversations. This type of gritty, realistic, matter-of-fact film is simply not made anymore today. The comparatively simple bus massacre is more striking and vivid than any of the overdone action scenes that litter all of today's films. There's a stark quality to the production that fits it well. Where the film strays is in it's endless cop vignettes which don't always have anything to do with the plot and which distract from, rather than enhance, the story. It's as if the writers tried to include too much from the source novel and wound up muddying the waters of the primary story. This also makes the film hard to follow at times. What's priceless is the display of the unmistakably tacky clothes and furnishings of the 1970's. There are also amusing glimpses into the San Francisco gay bar scene with real patrons displaying their faces (sometimes made up in drag) before the camera. Matthau says little in the film, but holds the attention with his various personal demons and conflicts. He chews gum incessantly and listens to standards on his radio to keep his emotions in check. Dern, as a more lively sort, is a great counterpoint and holds his own nicely. The mystery winds up being not all that big a mystery at all, but there's still a decent payoff with a "French Connection-esquire" car chase through San Francisco.


26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?