When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979)

R  |   |  Drama  |  1 February 1980 (Spain)
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Marjoe Gortner plays a drug dealer whose car breaks down in a small U.S. town. In turn, the town's people become victim to his unique brand of physical and mental torture.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angel Childress
Dixie Harris ...
Grandma Childress
Rhea Childress
Clarisse Ethridge
Richard Ethridge
Stephen Ryder
Lyle Striker
Alex Colon ...
Younger Mexican Man
Joe Hernandez ...
Older Mexican Man
Radio Preacher
Ceil Ryder
Sherry Unger ...
Bar Floozy


Marjoe Gortner plays a drug dealer whose car breaks down in a small U.S. town. In turn, the town's people become victim to his unique brand of physical and mental torture. Written by Michael A Kortt <mkortt@une.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As savage as "MIDNIGHT EXPRESS" See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 February 1980 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

I epistrofi tou Red Ryder  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


Pat Hingle met his second wife Julia Wright while acting in this movie in El Paso, Texas. See more »


Lyle Striker: Service is the name of the game.
See more »


References Mission: Impossible (1966) See more »


Kiss Away
Written by Billy Sherrill and Glenn Sutton
Performed by Tammy Wynette
See more »

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User Reviews

Unexamined lives are not worth living
23 September 2002 | by (Austin, Texas) – See all my reviews

Most descriptions of this movie read something like "psycho Vietnam veteran terrorizes roadside diner patrons" or "bad movie adaptation of Medoff's stage play" and though these may be accurate surface descriptions, the movie deserves far more comment than that. As the movie progresses, each character's deepest motivations and fears are revealed and what is exposed is the shallow values, ignobleness and dark fears of mankind.

Marjoe Gortner's youthful rage manifest's itself strikingly as he rants on a each of the diner patrons. His cynism is directed at pretentious city intellectuals (Hal Linden and Lee Grant), small town folk (Stephanie Faracy), self-righteous do-gooder (Pat Hingle), bad-ass-wannabe (Peter Firth) and even the protagonist's girlfriend (Candy Clark). The film gives a whole new meaning to the American perception of machismo and much of this can be difficult as well as fascinating to watch.

The most interesting thing about this film however is that it has gone virtually unnoticed since the day it was released. It lasted in the theaters only a few weeks and the edited versions, which have only rarely appeared on non-cable TV, truly ruined the entire effect of RR. The movie was overlooked by the critics and the public for several reasons.

The critics labeled the movie "better as a stage play" and "it's been done before" and "overacted". For reasons that I have never completely understood, movie critics typically dislike stage plays made in to movies unless a lot of flashy camera work and new spirited locations make the play-now-a-movie fit more conventionally into the film art form. What critics fail to realize is that the general public does not have access to good theater and even if a movie is literally a play shot on film, one can now get the subtle nuances of close-up facial expressions and the quality dialogue that stage plays require and movies often go without. Some critics said the film was similar to other films such as The Petrified Forest yet these same critics can never seem to get enough gangster movies, boxer movies or movies about Hollywood professionals. Red Ryder has about as much in common with Petrified Forest as Platoon had in common with Green Berets. And the criticism that Gortner overacted ...... my god that WAS the point !!!

The public overlooked the movie mainly due to the marketing. A long non-descriptive title stunted audience draw and RR lacked the graphic exploitative violence that so often the public looks for in a movie that was touted as "he is getting even with every woman who slapped your face and every man that ....". A more accurate title (possibly "Unexamined Lives") and a descriptive byline like "he is here to prove to you that there is really nothing decent about anyone" may have at least got the right people in the movie house. Of all the mind pap available on video these days, such as Armageddon, it is a crime that this masterpiece has been lost to history.

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