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The Nickel Ride (1974)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  15 January 1975 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 249 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 20 critic

Small-time criminal Cooper manages several warehouses in Los Angeles that the mob use to stash their stolen goods. Known as "the key man" for the key chain he always keeps on his person ... See full summary »



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Title: The Nickel Ride (1974)

The Nickel Ride (1974) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Complete credited cast:
Richard Evans ...
Bart Burns ...
Lou Frizzell ...
Mark Gordon ...
Harvey Gold ...


Small-time criminal Cooper manages several warehouses in Los Angeles that the mob use to stash their stolen goods. Known as "the key man" for the key chain he always keeps on his person that can unlock all the warehouses, Cooper is assigned by the local syndicate to negotiate a deal for a new warehouse because the mob has run out of storage space. However, Cooper's superior Carl gets nervous and decides to have cocky cowboy button man Turner keep an eye on Cooper. Written by Woodyanders

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The action was his life... without it he was dead. See more »


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 January 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Nickel Ride  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996. See more »


Anytime There's Music, You're My Song
Written by Michael Chain
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User Reviews

vastly underrated neo-noir in 70s Los Angeles
28 March 2005 | by (los angeles, ca.) – See all my reviews

This is a really superb neo-noir and simultaneously realistic look at downtown Los Angeles in the beginning of the seventies. Jason Miller is perfectly cast as Cooper, the morose ex-carny-roustabout-turned-lower-echelon-crime figure. He functions as a semi-independent mob overseer of the storage and fencing of stolen merchandise for an eclectic variety of underworld thieves that cut across all racial divides. The crux of the story involves Cooper trying to close a deal on the purchase of a whole block of abandoned rail warehouses in the derelict 5th and Alameda area of downtown L.A. If he can't pull it off, it may mean the end of not only his career but his life. Director Robert Mulligan is an extremely uneven director having helmed decent pictures like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE SPIRAL ROAD, UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE and BABY, THE RAIN MUST FALL as well as sleepers like THE OTHER. But he's also had his share of clunkers like SUMMER OF '42. However, THE NICKEL RIDE is his masterpiece. Many of things that others seem to find fault with in the film is exactly what makes the picture so unpretentious and sublime. You really have to pay attention to the dialogue and interaction of characters to get the back story and relationships. Something that most viewers are either unable or unwilling to do. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter. The beauty of this film lies not only in the exceptional, low-key, non-showy performances from every single actor involved, but also the visceral evocation of the dying-on-the-vine area of downtown L.A. -- whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. Equally brilliant is the almost imperceptible building of suspense through the gradual ratcheting-up of understandable paranoia in Cooper's character. By the time of the climax the unseen aura of impending doom -- a feeling which is so borderline we're not sure if Cooper is right-on or is imagining the whole thing -- is really disturbing. There are a couple of violent shock sequences in the last third of the picture that really pack a wallop because of the orchestration of elements. As mentioned by someone else here at IMDb, THE NICKEL RIDE does take the same low-key genre approach as similar neo-noir FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE and HICKEY AND BOGGS -- and it stacks up very favorably alongside them, easily equaling their masterpiece status. Highly recommended. However, the movie was such a flop on initial release I doubt Fox will ever release it on DVD. But keep your eyes peeled because they do run it occasionally letterboxed on the Fox Movie cable channel.

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