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Harry and Tonto (1974)

R  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama  |  15 January 1975 (France)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,565 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 30 critic

When his apartment building is torn down, a retired lifelong New Yorker goes on a cross country odyssey with his beloved cat Tonto.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Grocery Clerk
Herbert Berghof ...
Avon Long ...
Rashel Novikoff ...
Mrs. Rothman
Philip Bruns ...
Burt (as Phil Bruns)
Burt Jr.
Norman (as Joshua Mostel)
Dolly Jonah ...
Sybil Bowan ...
Old Landlady
Joe Madden ...
Bette Howard ...
Morgue Clerk
Patricia Fay ...
Airport Security Woman
Muriel Beerman ...
Taxi Driver


Harry is a retired teacher in his 70s living in the Upper West Side of New York City where his late wife and he raised his children--where he's lived all his life. When the building he lives in is torn down to make way for a parking garage, Harry and his beloved cat Tonto begin a journey across the United States, visiting his children, seeing a world he never seemed to have the time to see before, making new friends, and saying goodbye to old friends. Written by Gary Dickerson <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get a Lift


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Harry e Tonto  »

Box Office


$980,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Pieces of liver were placed around Art Carney in order to attract the cats that played Tonto into cuddling with Carney in pivotal scenes. See more »


We see the same light Green Lincoln , a light Green Chevrolet and many of the same cars in almost every traffic scene. See more »


Nick Lewis - Used Car Dealer: I am 62 years old.
[Indicates to Harry the rather obvious hair piece he's wearing]
Nick Lewis - Used Car Dealer: I can't get it up unless I take a dose of strychnine.
Harry: Strychnine? I thought strychnine was poisonous?
Nick Lewis - Used Car Dealer: Naw, no... It really gives you a lift, you know? But I wanna' tell ya, it isn't worth it. 'Cause I get such terrible headaches. Right through my skull. "Bong! Bong!" Like a sledgehammer. So, a fella' has to decide whether he wants a migraine headache... or a piece of ass, you know?
Harry: Well, Nick, you live and learn.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tonto is billed "and TONTO" See more »


Featured in 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2004) See more »


Seems Like Old Times
Written by John Jacob Loeb and Carmen Lombardo
See more »

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User Reviews

Let Me Give You a Straight Story About Harry.
24 September 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A wonderful movie experience that speaks volumes with its quiet, methodical pace. "Harry and Tonto" concerns a retired school teacher in his 70s (shocking Oscar-winner Art Carney) who is forced to leave the only home he has ever known when his apartment in New York is demolished to make way for a parking garage. Possibly this will be no big deal as he and Tonto (his faithful cat) decide to go live with his son (Philip Burns). Quickly it is apparent though that the arrangement will not work and Carney decides that maybe it is time to see the nation he has never gotten a chance to see before by heading west (with a little luggage and his cat of course). Along the way he meets back up with his daughter (Ellen Burstyn), has his grandson (Josh Mostel) follow him from New York, encounters a strange hitchhiker (Melanie Mayron) and even has a short jail stay with Chief Dan George. As the trip continues a fine line is developed between Carney's old ties and his new ones. Carney is one of those people who instantly appears to be everyone's life-long friend. The trip is an opportunity to meet new friends and sometimes, very sadly, say goodbye to old ones. In the end Carney's journey does not only take him cross-country, it also takes him to new and sometimes forgotten emotional experiences that he desperately needed to have. "Harry and Tonto" is a simple film that did not rely on a big budget or trivial situations to tell its story. This is a human tale that speaks to anyone who is willing and able to listen. Director and co-writer Paul Mazursky (Oscar-nominated for the latter) created a movie that touches its audience with heart, emotion and smarts. Carney is a revelation. He is basically only known for his silly turn on television's "The Honeymooners", but he proved he could play a part that is very difficult to pull off. Carney, only 56 at the time, plays much older than he was and received much support come Oscar season (some looking suspiciously like sympathy votes). In the end, Carney did win Oscar gold over such other names as Al Pacino ("The Godfather, Part II"), Jack Nicholson ("Chinatown"), Dustin Hoffman ("Lenny") and Albert Finney ("Murder on the Orient Express"). In retrospect, it is still hard to decide which of those five delivered the finest performance of that year. One thing is for sure though, "Harry and Tonto" is one of those rare movies that always seems to stand the test of time. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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carney better than pacino (godfather II) and nicholson (chinatown)?? GazongaGizmo
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