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The Laughing Policeman (1973)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  23 January 1974 (Sweden)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,466 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 18 critic

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.

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(screenplay), (novel) (as Per Wahlhoo) , 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD
...
Insp. James Larrimore SFPD (as Lou Gossett)
Albert Paulsen ...
Henry Camerero
...
Lt. Nat Styner (Steiner on End Credits) SFPD
...
Insp. John Pappas SFPD
...
Kay Butler
...
Bobby Mow, Snitch
...
Nurse Monica, Beth's Roomate
Shirley Ballard ...
Grace Martin
William Hansen ...
Mr. Schwermer, Bus Vicitm
Don Borisenko ...
Det. Mike Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
...
Duane Haygood, Drug Pusher
Louis Guss ...
Gus Niles / Andrew Medford - Bus Victim
...
Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
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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:

This movie is so real it makes every other movie in this town look like a movie. 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  »

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

In the original screenplay, Martin was supposed to laugh at the end, true to the film's title. This idea was abandoned, either by director Stuart Rosenberg or Walter Matthau during shooting. See more »

Goofs

The Anthony Zerbe character is Lieutenant "Styner" according to his desk nameplate, but "Steiner" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Know what I mean?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make Me Feel So Young
(uncredited)
Music by Josef Myrow
Played on the radio in the car
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Laughing Policeman
8 February 2005 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

This sullen, violent police drama is as detailed an investigation as you will find on film. The opening scene of The Laughing Policeman is extremely tense and sets the tone for a Dirty-Harry-style flick that delivers one of Matthau's moodiest performances. Basically, a mass murder takes place on a San Francisco bus, and we find out that a policeman was one of the victims. He turns out to be Matthau's late partner. Bruce Dern is assigned to be his new partner, working with Matthau, a conflict of interest, to find out why this SFPD detective was on the bus in the first place. Their subsequent relationship is a play the standard, portrayed in the Laughing Policeman as "mute cop/bad cop". So, teams of gritty cops (a young Lou Gossett) meander through the roughest neighborhoods of San Francisco bullying pimps, pushers, hip drag queens and sidewalking street-wheelers in an attempt uncover what turns out to be a very complex underworld fraternity. The purpose (seeing as this plays as a Matthau character study), to quell Matthau's melancholic contribution to this Dirty Harry spin-off. It is more violent and much more precise than Dirty Hary but not as entertaining. A must see, however, for all Matthau fans.


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