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The Frisco Kid (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  13 July 1979 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 6,197 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 17 critic

A Polish rabbi wanders through the Old West on his way to lead a synagogue in San Francisco. On the way he is nearly burnt at the stake by Indians and almost killed by outlaws.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ramon Bieri ...
Mr. Jones
...
...
Darryl Diggs (as George Ralph DiCenzo)
Leo Fuchs ...
Chief Rabbi
...
Rosalie
...
Matt Diggs
Jack Somack ...
Samuel Bender
...
Sarah Mindl (as Beege Barkett)
...
O'Leary
Walter Janovitz ...
Old Amish Man (as Walter Janowitz)
Joe Kapp ...
Monterano
...
Mr. Ping
Clifford A. Pellow ...
Mr. Daniels (as Cliff Pellow)
Edit

Storyline

A rabbi from Poland goes to America to lead a Jewish community. When he arrives in America he is hijacked and has to work his way across the country. On the way he meets up with a bank robber and they form a friendship, have many (mis)adventures including being captured by Indians. Written by Deirdre Dear

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest cowboy ever to ride into the Wild West. From Poland. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 July 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

No Knife  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The horses which Tommy and Avram ride into San Francisco are different from the horses in earlier scenes, which were smaller and used for galloping for long distances. The horses in this later scene are of the breed called American Quarter Horses. You can tell this because their heads and faces are smaller, while their bodies are larger and more muscular, and their rumps (which Avram would call the tuchas) are much rounder than the rumps of long-distance-running horses. The Quarter Horse is very swift for a short distance; the earlier horses, perhaps of a mixed breed, were used for their stamina and placidness. See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in 1850, and in the early scenes (probably in Pennsylvania with the Amish community) there are barbed wire fences lining the roads. Barbed wire wasn't invented until 1873 (earlier versions might have been available but were not mass produced and certainly not for that long of a stretch) and was intended mainly for the western United States, not the eastern half. See more »

Quotes

Avram: [voiceover] In the Talmud, it says "find thyself a teacher" and this I have done. However, there were times I feared that he would find another pupil.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Estrenos Críticos: ¡...con Phineas & Ferb! (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
Composed by Stephen Foster (as Stephen Collins Foster)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Most Underrated Comedy of All Time
25 October 2001 | by (Watertown, Mass.) – See all my reviews

Of course I'd have to be crazy to call _The Frisco Kid_ the best movie ever made, but it's certainly a strong contender for the flick I love the most (an opinion shared by my parents, brothers, cousins . . .). From the premise -- a Polish rabbi in the Wild West -- you'd expect a *spoof* a la _Blazing Saddles_, but in fact this is played absolutely straight, the comedy arising 100% from the believable human situations the characters are thrust into.

Because of this, the first third of the movie is much devoted to setting up what follows, and might strike the first-time viewer as a bit slow (actually, it's subtle and as deliciously re-watchable as the rest). Patience will be rewarded, though, because once the pieces are in place, and especially once our hero meets Harrison Ford's bank-robber with a heart of gold, there's just one indelibly great scene after another.

It's important to note that this is much, much more than a comedy. It's episodic, of course, but an early story element returns unexpectedly (more than once); you think you've been watching just an entertainment and you gradually realize there's a real (and genuinely moving) *point* to all this, as is rarely seen in movies this funny. Rabbi Avram Belinsky (played, of course, with pure magic by Gene Wilder) starts off the movie as a well-meaning schlemiel, someone as ineffectual as he is nice, and ends as a mensch, as a moral force to be reckoned with. (Typical and classic moment along the way: when he's forced to explain the nature of God to a bunch of Indians, he is downright Talmudic in his wisdom -- but the Talmud was never hysterically funny!) The final, genuinely dramatic scenes raise issues about faith, friendship, and personal identity and destiny that are downright profound (at least on repeated viewings) -- without ever missing a comedic beat. Extraordinary.

This is a movie that does for faith and friendship what "Manhattan" and "Tootsie" did for romance and gender roles. Can they please get this out on DVD while my folks are still around to enjoy it?


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

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