The Gauntlet (1977)

R  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  21 December 1977 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 14,657 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 32 critic

A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill McKinney ...
Mara Corday ...
Jail Matron
Bookie (as Douglas McGrath)
Jeff Morris ...
Desk Sergeant
Samantha Doane ...
Dan Vadis ...
Carver Barnes ...
Bus Driver
Robert Barrett ...


In Phoenix, the alcoholic and mediocre detective Ben Shockley is assigned by the Chief Commissary Blakelock to bring the witness Gus Mally from Las Vegas for a minor trial. Shockley travels to Vegas and finds that Gus Malley is an aggressive and intelligent prostitute with college degree and she tells him that the odds are against her showing up in court. Shockley learns that she will actually testify against a powerful mobster and the mafia is chasing them trying to kill them both. He calls Blakelock and request a police escort from Phoenix to protect them. But soon he discovers that someone is betraying him in the police department. Now, Shockley and Malley hijack a bus and Shockley welds thick steel plates and transforms the cabin in an armored bus trying to reach the Forum. But they will need to drive through a gauntlet of police officers armed with heavy weapons. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Clint Eastwood is the man in the middle of The Gauntlet


Action | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ruta suicida  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie was made and released after there had been three 'Dirty Harry' pictures, the third, The Enforcer (1976), released the previous year before this film. The picture is considered an inversion of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" screen persona where Eastwood is instead a cop who is on the receiving end of the violence. This is so most of the screen violence in the picture is directed at Eastwood instead of him being the deliverer of it. 'Allmovie' has said that the picture "sends up his Dirty Harry-ness in this 1977 cop film-action movie-romantic comedy" and Eastwood's "Ben Shockley is the opposite of Eastwood's ultra-capable loner Harry Callahan from the Dirty Harry series, allowing Eastwood to poke fun at his image...the exaggerated action set pieces also parody the Eastwood cop hero's usual invincibility". See more »


Between the time Shockley leaves Gus and the time he arrives at city hall, the amount of blood on his forehead varies considerably. See more »


Gus Mally: You've got fluff in your brain and I'm afraid the only way you'll ever clean it out is to put a bullet through it. Does your wife know you masturbate?
See more »

Crazy Credits

A disclaimer at the end reads: "Law enforcement procedures depicted in this film do not necessarily represent those of any law enforcement agency mentioned herein." See more »


Just A Closer Walk with Thee
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User Reviews

Once again, Clint shows you why he's the best in the business.
23 March 2006 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

How many rounds of ammunition can you fire into a house before it will collapse? Or maybe you'd like to see how many rounds you can fire into a bus before it will stop running. If you're interested, or if you just like Clint Eastwood, then The Gauntlet is for you! Our film centers around Clint playing a sloppy policeman from Phoenix who is assigned to transport a sassy hooker (Sondra Locke) from Las Vegas back to his jurisdiction. This will not be an easy task. First of all, this Eastwood character is no Dirty Harry. His Ben Shocklee is an alcoholic, and barely capable of doing his job. The hooker's testimony could potentially bring down some important figures, so the cops and mafia also don't want them to return to Phoenix. In addition to all that, the woman is such a bitch that even a trip across town with her would be almost too much to bear. The two are put in one harrowing situation after another as Clint proves that he has the moxy to simply "get the job done".

This film, if made by or starring inferior talent, would be nothing short of ridiculous. Several situations that arise in this film seem improbable at best, and often ludicrous. Eastwood's charm, and the razor-sharp dialog keep it moving along. You end up almost believing it could happen. Clint Eastwood is that talented. His acting and direction are as good as ever.

The film has plenty of memorable scenes. Along with the shootouts, we get some very amusing and often very funny situations. One of my favorites is when Eastwood single-handedly talks an entire motorcycle gang into surrendering one of their bikes or facing the consequences of his pistol. And what would an Eastwood/Locke film be without a scene where she is sexually assaulted? Though disturbing, the scene has a hilarious conclusion. Another scene belongs to Locke, herself. In it, she puts a foul-mouthed police flunky in his place using some very sexually explicit words.

That a film which would seemingly be quite ridiculous on paper is made into such a fine product is a testimony to the genius of Clint Eastwood. He is without a doubt my favorite actor of all time.

9 of 10 stars for The Gauntlet.

The Hound.

23 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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