Tired of her dull job as a waitress, Donna decides to join two carnival hustlers and see what life in their field is like.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Frankie
...
Donna
...
...
Gerta
...
Heavy St. John
...
On-Your-Mark
...
Doubles
Teddy Wilson ...
Nails (as Theodore Wilson)
John Lehne ...
Skeet
...
Marvin Dill
...
Delno Baptiste
...
W. C. Hannon
Alan Braunstein ...
Willie Mae
...
Sugaree
...
Mickey
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Storyline

A carnival comes to a small town. Eighteen year old Donna meets Frankie and Patch, two carnival hustlers. They earn their living by mercilessly taunting spectators to try to dump one of them into the water by throwing balls. Donna is tired of her work as a waitress and follows them through the South. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When you're young and going nowhere... the Carny looks like a good way out. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Feira Ambulante  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Goofs

While Mickey is at the roulette joint, Doubles is seen ringing a bell while wearing a tan plaid shirt. The audio of the bell ringing and Doubles' line "I tell ya, the boy has me in a corner" carries over to a shot of Mickey. When the shot switches back to Doubles a few seconds later, his tan plaid shirt has suddenly changed to a solid dark shirt with a denim jacket over it. See more »

Quotes

Donna: If I had the money for a bus ticket I'd leave right now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Carnival Action at it real best
12 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the only films in existence that truly depicts the Carny as he/she was during the 50's and 60's. Why it has not made it to DVD is a real mystery.

Gary Busey and a young Jodie Foster are the mainstays of this film. Foster is beginning to show the talent that will shine in later films.

Part coming-of-age chronicle, part road movie, Carny is memorable for Jodie Foster's sexy, intelligent heroine and the pivotal influence of costar, co writer, and producer Robbie Robertson. Robertson is Patch, a carny veteran whose de facto partner is the leering, cruel Frankie (Gary Busey), an abusive clown, and the film lingers on the tawdry and menacing world behind the carny's garish public spaces. When the young, self-confident Donna (Foster) shows up and joins the troupe, the bonds between Patch and Frankie are strained. Donna's walk on the wild side brings her in intimate, sometimes dangerous proximity to the freaks and lowlifes that populate this world, which the writers and director Robert Kaylor savor for its atmosphere of outsider surrealism.

Foster acquits herself wonderfully, making this a revealing step between the prematurely hardened nymphet of Taxi Driver and the actress's first truly adult roles, soon to follow. Busey and Robertson fare less well, their work long on mannerism but ultimately cryptic to a fault. Like the movie itself, they transmit a cynicism that seems hollow without more real insight into how they came to inhabit this netherworld, and why they can't escape it. B-Sutton


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