7.2/10
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66 user 59 critic

Night Moves (1975)

Los Angeles private detective Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter and he stumbles upon a case of murder and artifact smuggling.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Janet Ward ...
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Anthony Costello ...
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Ben Archibek ...
Charles
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Boy in Bar
C.J. Hincks ...
Girl in Bar
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Stud (as Maxwell Gail Jr.)
Susan Barrister ...
Ticket Clerk
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Storyline

Private detective and former football player Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as a former Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her daughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection between the runaway girl, the world of Hollywood stuntmen, and a suspicious mechanic when an unsolved murder comes to light. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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Maybe he would find the girl... maybe he would find himself. See more »


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R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 August 1975 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Dark Tower  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Private Investigator Harry Moseby's (Gene Hackman) fee was $125 per day plus legitimate expenses. After adjusting for inflation, that would be equivalent to $675.00 in 2016. See more »

Goofs

Harry rents a car when he is in Florida. When the car is filmed either from the front or the back, the car has a rear view mirror. When the car is filmed from the side, the rear view mirror is missing. See more »

Quotes

Harry Moseby: Harry thinks if you call him Harry again he's gonna make you eat that cat!
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User Reviews

 
Neo-noir, with Hackman pouring it on in the best ways...
23 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Night Moves (1975)

An odd convolution of 1940s film noir and 1970s New Hollywood. The hero is a kind of watered down Bogart—not as romanticized, and with less exaggerated one-liners (which film noir lovers will miss but which those who like realism will appreciate). Gene Hackman is terrific, and he plays Harry Moseby, a down and out ex-football player with a drained candor that makes him pathetic as much as likable. He ends up mixed up in a Dashiell Hammett kind of plot, for sure, looking for the daughter of a rich woman and then getting way over his head.

The artifacts of New Hollywood liberation are plain to see: nudity (female only) and a kind of sexed up background even when the plot is going somewhere else. This was for the sake of an audience still astonished that the movies could do such things (they couldn't before 1967) and it's still kind of raw and edgy in a lasting way. It also feels dated, too, making you wonder if it was really so sexually liberated back then.

The trail for this daughter takes us to the Florida Keys and out into the ocean. There are mysterious motives everywhere, and it's only Moseby we trust. Completely. And we even feel him starting to get a grounding for his drifting self amidst these miscellaneous people. And we see a kind of generosity that is based on this selfish need to do something right, and all its conflicting meanings. So eventually the movie is less about who killed who for this or that reason, and more about this man and his quest for clarity.

But clarity has a cost, and the movie will take several surprising turns. Not all of the plot is supported very well. We are led along at times, and frankly told things that might have been better revealed through the plot. It's not a perfectly nuanced drama in this way. These are nitpicks, for sure, because the larger feeling takes over and is commanding. And that's the lasting reputation of the film, that it pulls off this kind of modernized noir world with originality.

The director is Arthur Penn, who's great "Bonnie and Clyde" kicked off the shift into New Hollywood sensibility. (Beatty is always given too much credit for that film's audacity because he starred and funded it, but the film was Penn's at heart.) This might be called the last of Penn's great cycle from the period, and if not the equal to his 1967 breakthrough, it is in many ways more delicately felt and mature. And so in a way more watchable today a second or third time. Hackman is the one great actor here, however, and if there's a key problem with "Night Moves," it's that he almost but not quite supports the film alone. The three or four secondary characters are all of them thin, or contrived to be types, and so it falters.

See it anyway. It surprised me the way "Point Blank" from this era did. Excellent.


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