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Over the Edge (1979)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  7 July 1979 (Japan)
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New Grenada is a planned community set in the desert where there is nothing for the kids to do, save for a rec center - which closes at 6 PM. The parents, in their zeal to attract industry ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carl (as Michael Kramer)
Pamela Ludwig ...
Tom Fergus ...
Andy Romano ...
Fred Willat
Sandra Willat
Richard Jamison ...
Julia Pomeroy ...
Tiger Thompson ...
Eric Lalich ...
Kim Kliner ...
Frank Mugavero ...
Party Host
Kristina Hanson ...


New Grenada is a planned community set in the desert where there is nothing for the kids to do, save for a rec center - which closes at 6 PM. The parents, in their zeal to attract industry to their town, have all but neglected their children. As a result, the kids begin to create their own entertainment, which involves vandalism, theft, and general hooliganism. During an incident when one of the kids brandishes an unloaded gun at town cop Ed Doberman, he is shot and killed. When the parents gather the next night to discuss the killing and the level of lawlessness among the youth, they soon find out that their kids have had all they can take. Written by Rick Gregory <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...A real story of teenage rebellion. See more »


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 July 1979 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

On the Edge  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the movie, New Grenada is in the desert. The city that this story is based on, Foster City, is next to San Francisco Bay and has canals and waterways throughout the city. See more »


After the library is trashed, a boy is shown standing on top of a police car. At first he's swinging a pair of nunchaks, but in the very next scene he's holding a crowbar. See more »


Carl: The first day I ever met him he said: "Hi, I'm Ritchie White. I'm on probation."
See more »


References Dirty Harry (1971) See more »


Ooh Child
Written by Stan Vincent
Performed by Valerie Carter
Courtesy of Columbia Records and ARC Records
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User Reviews

The More You Suppress, the More Extreme the Revolt
24 February 2011 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

Further than the imagery of white, middle-class American kids and teenagers getting high, speaking in an acquired voice and lingo to convey a both tastefully silly and unsettling angst, there's a visualization of America in Jonathan Kaplan's appealing, outlandish generation gap exploitation film that's anything but silly, and by now has basically become the norm. The details of the plot aren't all that essential. We're expected to grasp a sentiment of adolescent frustration and suspicion.

The locale is New Granada, one of those depressingly vanilla suburban districts that emerged all over this country in an upsurge of real-estate guesswork and substandard urban planning in the '60s and early '70s. New Granada is a development of dull condos, rigorously serviceable apartment blocks for those who cannot meet the expense of the condos, streets that bend futilely into badlands still to be urbanized, and an ultra-modern high school that seems like it's been built yesterday to accommodate tomorrow's automatons. It's the assertion of the filmmakers that the planners of New Granada made a grave gaffe in not bearing in mind that a quarter of its population would be 15 years old or younger, with nowhere to go except an old Quonset hut used as a rec center, nothing to consider and, most terrible, nothing to do.

The hub of the film is Carl, an ultimately good 15-year-old boy whose dad, a Cadillac dealer, frets more about selling than about where the kids are, before or after 10pm. Provoked by the case of his more experienced pal Richie, played by Matt Dillon, who auditioned for the role while skipping school, Carl starts to embrace the scornful, tough-guy characteristics of the rest of New Granada's youth, most of whom are on drugs of one kind or another. Carl keeps away from drugs but not danger. New Granada's fanatical policeman, Doberman, discriminatorily blames Carl and Richie for a practical joke perpetrated by two other troublemakers. Like a New Granada street, Carl's life doesn't seem to be progressing.

Doberman's jumpy shooting of one of Carl's friends induces the film's furious climax: The New Granada youth charge the high school, where their parents are holding an urgent assembly to argue property values and teenage crime, lock their parents into the school auditorium, and go on a huge sabotage binge. There's something unluckily amusing in the image of a smug child, who looks to be no more than 12, talking about scoring some hash for his friends, and about the quandary of another, just as young student who stumbles into an art class, having taken some LSD to begin the day, just to be faced with a projection of a Bosch painting.

The movie can't help idealizing its generally stupid teenagers, their incoherent yearnings and doubts, their disheartenment and, ultimately, their fuming revolt. Not including Carl and Richie, the youngsters aren't characters but a refrain of postures. Unlike other such films, however, this independent suburban wasteland drama dramatizes the tedium and futility of their world with exceptional sincerity. New Granada is a virtually unspoiled visual symbol of the incorporated obsolescence that's expected to perpetuate the American economy, but which makes crap faster than the crap can be used. If New Granada's kids are apathetic robots, they're only a spot more offensive and less self-righteous than their ignorant parents.

I suppose, the performances by the grown-ups in the film, particularly by Andy Romano and Ellen Geer, as Carl's parents, and by Harry Northup, as the harrying Doberman, are more effective than those of the younger actors, but both Kramer and Dillon are equal as Carl and Richie. Pamela Ludwig, who plays Carl's girlfriend, is super-hot. A great deal of Over the Edge is gawkily acted and motivated, but it's executed with such vibrancy and disquiet that, as you watch it, you're often caught halfway between an embarrassed laugh and a struggle for breath.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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