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The Cars That Eat People (1974)
"The Cars That Ate Paris" (original title)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery  |  June 1976 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 2,351 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 45 critic

The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Mayor
...
Arthur Waldo
Kevin Miles ...
Dr. Midland
Rick Scully ...
George Waldo
Max Gillies ...
Metcalfe
Danny Adcock ...
Policeman
...
Charlie
Kevin Golsby ...
Insurance man
...
Darryl
Peter Armstrong ...
Gorman
Joe Burrow ...
Ganger
Deryck Barnes ...
Al Smedley
Edward Howell ...
Tringham
Max Phipps ...
Mulray
...
Beth
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Storyline

A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're the cars that ate Paris. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cars That Eat People  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two Australian films to feature the word "Paris" in the title in eight years. The second was Breakfast in Paris (1982). See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, when the Mayor gives Arthur instructions how to drive and smash the punk's car, his fake beard changes places between shots (under his chin - on his right cheek). See more »

Quotes

Arthur Waldo: I can drive!
See more »

Connections

Featured in True Love and Chaos (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
More weird than mysterious or horrific, an allegory mired in distractions
21 October 2009 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

One hour into this movie and I wasn't exactly sure what kind of movie it was trying to "be". It starts off as a smalltown horror mystery of sorts but Peter Weir saddles it with so much absurdist black comedy the mystery all but evaporates and we're looking at something that is more weird/awkward than mysterious/surreal, more slow-ponderous than slow-absorbing, large parts of it reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki and his static shots, cynical humor, deadpan delivery, and smalltown squalor. By the end of it however, the movie seems to emerge as some sort of societal parable, an allegory to the repression of a close-knit society that values appearances and tradition more than anything else and which must bury secrets in its own backyard to do so, but there's so much distraction and incoherence the point is never made with any clarity or force.

At one point the score turns Morricone circa Once Upon a Time in the West and we get a showdown in the street and young men dressed with cowboy hats. We get Carmageddon-style cars circling the statue of a cannon like Comanches painted for war. We get the vague promise of a subplot about car crash survivors turned vegetables who are kept in the hospital of the small town and who later turn up in a ball masque dressed in hoods and carton boxes (a nod to Shock Corridor?), but it never goes anywhere. Peter Weir went on to make such remarkable films as Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave, and while this never reaches the hypnotic levels of those films, it's intriguing in its own quirky awkward way. It's like a movie struggling with itself, a cult classic trying to break free from the confines of a forgettable eccentricity.


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