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
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 <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Get a Lift


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Harry & 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?


After Harry buys the car and is talking to Burt, he says his drivers license expired in 1958. Art Carney was 39 in 1958. See more »


In the story, after arriving in Chicago, Harry rents a car and drives west. However, in reality he is actually driving east. I lived in the city (Geneva, IL) where they filmed Harry driving his rental car. Based on landmarks I could see, he drove along State St (Route 38) from the west side of the city, ending up at the Geneva Motel, which is on the far east end of the city. See more »


Jacob Rivetowski: You can't fight capitalism in the courts. You got to go to the streets. Man the barricades, plant the dynamite. Blow up the cesspool.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tonto is billed "and TONTO" See more »


Referenced in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) See more »


Long Train Runnin'
Written by Tom Johnston
See more »

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User Reviews

Memorable Story Which Stays With You
28 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every once in a while - but less and less these days - a movie comes around that has some impact, in that you find it hard to get it out your mind for awhile. That's what "Harry and Tonto" did to me, recently.

It wasn't the world's greatest film but it was great storytelling, sometimes a lost art among filmmakers in recent decades. "Harry" is a retiree and "Tonto" is his cat. The movie follows the two around as the pair travel from the East Coast to the West. It all begins when Harry's building is demolished as part of "urban renewal." He quickly finds out he doesn't want to live with his quirky son and his even-stranger kids, so he hits the road to Chicago to seek out other relatives. It goes from there.

The movie is filled with little vignettes. For instance, how the cat adapts for doesn't adapt to some modes of travel and the interesting and very diverse people Harry meets on the way (which winds up going all the way to Los Angeles).

Art Carney as "Harry Coombes" got the Academy Award for best actor. My vote might have gone to the cat. If you've ever owned a cat, you can appreciate how unbelievably-trained this feline was in the film. Tonto was amazing! Almost everyone in this film is a good person who tries to befriend Harry and Tonto, so you get a good feel throughout this almost-two-hour movie. It's one memorable short story after another - some funny, some sad.

I hate to use this cliché, but it's the kind of slow-moving, human-interest story movie you don't see anymore. That's a shame, because these kinds of films you don't forget.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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