Down 778 this week

Hardcore (1979)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  27 April 1979 (West Germany)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 4,977 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 39 critic

A conservative Midwest businessman ventures into the sordid underworld of pornography in California to look for his runaway teenage daughter who is making porno films in California's porno pits.



0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 12 Dec 2011
a list of 46 titles
created 08 Aug 2012
a list of 31 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 25 titles
created 9 months ago
a list of 31 titles
created 9 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Hardcore" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Hardcore (1979)

Hardcore (1979) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Hardcore.
2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Blue Collar (1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three workers, Zeke, Jerry and Smokey, are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night when they steal away from their wives to have some fun they get the idea to ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto
Light Sleeper (1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drug dealer with upscale clientele is having moral problems going about his daily deliveries. A reformed addict, he has never gotten over the wife that left him, and the couple that use ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon, Dana Delany
Affliction (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A deeply troubled small town cop investigates a suspicious hunting death while events occur that cause him to mentally disintergrate.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Los Angeles male escort, who mostly caters to an older female clientèle, is accused of a murder which he did not commit.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami
Cat People (1982)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard
The Yakuza (1974)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter - and ends up on the wrong side of the Yakuza, the notorious Japanese mafia...

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith
Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver ... See full summary »

Director: John Flynn
Stars: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes
Auto Focus (2002)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A story about "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane and his friendship with John Carpenter.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson
Patty Hearst (1988)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The true story of a rich girl who was abducted by American revolutionaries in the 1970's. Her time spent with her captors made her question herself and her way of life and she joined forces... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Natasha Richardson, William Forsythe, Ving Rhames
Hardcore (2004)
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Leaving behind a hard life with their families, two young girls end up in a brothel, fall in love and support one another against the adversities and violence of the night.

Director: Dennis Iliadis
Stars: Katerina Tsavalou, Danae Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake VanDorn
Andy Mast
Wes DeJong
Leonard Gaines ...
Dave Nichols ...
Kurt (as David Nichols)
Tod (as Gary Rand Graham)
Larry Block ...
Detective Burrows
Leslie Ackerman ...
Charlotte McGinnis ...
Beatrice (as Charlotte McGinnes)
Ilah Davis ...
Kristen VanDorn
Joe VanDorn
Will Walker ...
Jism Jim
Big Dick Blaque


Jake Van Dorn is a businessman from the American heartland who shares strong Calvinist convictions with most of his countrymen. His teenage daughter is missing from her church youth convention trip to California and Van Dorn hires a private investigator to find her. The result of the investigation is his daughter is spotted in a cheap X-rated movie. Van Dorn decides to bring her back personally and during the quest he becomes familiar with the pornographic underworld. Written by Dragan Antulov <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Oh my God, that's my daughter."


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 April 1979 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

¿Dónde está mi hija?  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The nick-name that Andy Mast (Peter Boyle) had for Jake VanDorn (George C. Scott) was "Pilgrim". See more »


When Jake has returned to L.A. and fires his detective, he creates a list of establishments to do his own research and that evening and drives around visiting places on his list. The first place he visits has a street number of 739 (visible in frame) but in looking at address detail in the long shot of the list itself, there are no references to a street number of 739 anywhere. See more »


Andy Mast: A lot of strange things happen in this world. Things you don't know about in Grand Rapids. Things you don't want to know about. Doors that shouldn't be opened.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Skydivers (1994) See more »


Precious Memories
Written by Buck Owens
Performed by Susan Raye
Courtesy of Buck Owens Enterprises and Capitol Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fitting into shoes you never thought you'd bring yourself to own
22 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paul Schrader's Hardcore features a rare performance that tows the fine line between believable lunacy and cartoonish behavior that never crosses over and subjects itself to the latter. The performance is that of George C. Scott, who plays Jake Van Dorn, a Calvinist businessman working in Michigan and serving as a single-parent to his eighteen-year-old daughter Kristen. While presumably on a church retreat to Bellflower, California, Kristen never arrives at the event, leading Jake to hire a private investigator (Peter Boyle) to try and find her whereabouts. Eventually, the investigator finds an 8mm film of his daughter and two other men around her age; it's clear just from the first frame of the film, which Jake sees at a local seedy theater, his daughter is now a porn star.

Jake loses it, with enough questions, assumptions, judgments, and miscalculations racing through his mind to cripple the psyche of a dozen men. He comes to the conclusion that his daughter had to have been kidnapped to join such an underworld, and becomes dedicated to bringing her back home. He dives into California's sleazy, pornographic underworld, venturing through brothels, adult bookstores, and peep shows to find her, eventually meeting Nikki (Season Hubley), a porn star and hooker.

Hardcore is the classic case of a character being immersed in a world he had no conception of and would've rather gone on pretending as if the world and all of those affected by it never existed. His tunnel-vision, conservative mindset has made it seem that since everything in his own life was perfect and completely free of any trouble, that there's no way anyone else's life could be troubled. He doesn't see problems, therefore none exist.

Jake's rude awakening becomes more alarming with what he has to witness. To many audience members, presuming their braveness to already seek out such a peculiar film, the content in Hardcore isn't particularly jolting, but to Jake, it's some of the most revolting stuff he's seen in his entire life. Consider the discomfort and anxiety felt by Jake as he walks into a low-lit brothel, with pulsating, blood-red lights and wallpaper decorating the rooms and meets a young stripper, with a thick piece of glass separating them. The stripper plants both of her heels on the glass whilst sitting down, exposing her whole body for Jake's pleasure, as they communicate through the glass. Jake is beyond uncomfortable and is simply trying to get his daughter back, but in order to do so, he must subject himself to worlds he never thought could've existed.

This kind of relativism makes for a deeply fascinating film, and in Schrader's screen writing and directing hands, Hardcore beams with life. Schrader includes a barrage of must-have locations for this kind of film, and captures them in a way that adheres to the principles of realism. Never does Schrader seem to go overboard in his depictions of this underworld, nor does he compromise Jake's character by making him unlikable. This is one of the first times I've seen such a close-minded, holier-than-thou, judgmental character on screen that I didn't detest; it's not entirely his fault he's been closeted to his own set of beliefs for so many years. He thought all was well and good.

Scott captures this character so intensely that even his freakouts and mental breakdowns don't feel forced nor over-the-top. Scott eventually learns how to get ahead in this business, at one point going undercover as a director and interviewing male porn stars that could've perhaps had contact with his daughter. These scenes, when Scott dawns a wig, a fake mustache, and shag clothing, are completely transforming for his character, and we see a man's own personal ethics and values degrade throughout the entire film, in a slowburn fashion.

Hardcore sizzles on screen, creating characters that exist, a fascinating underworld captured in details rather than in essences, and an impending sense of dread as time marches on and Jake's daughter's fate becomes more and more questionable. Much has been made about the finale, which is said to have been taken over by cautious studio executives rather than accurately reflecting the original vision of Schrader. For me, it works as a way to simmer down the film's explosiveness that it carries throughout, especially towards the end, as things intensify. The bittersweetness of the entire affair, in addition, compliments the film's nature of nothing ever totally being right or in place; not even in the beginning, as Jake is still so deeply lost in his own mannerisms.

Starring: George C. Scott, Season Aubrey, and Peter Boyle. Directed by: Paul Schrader.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Depiction of Christianity fair? GnrlGrnt
The snuff film within the film jorgeq
2 questions Jgn773
Dick Sargent's Role kc2173-1
Whatever happend to Ilah Davis? kamikaze-4
what happens doublej913
Discuss Hardcore (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: