Carny (1980)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 May 1980 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »



(story), (story) (as Robbie Kaylor) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Heavy St. John
Teddy Wilson ...
Nails (as Theodore Wilson)
John Lehne ...
Bill McKinney ...
Marvin Dill
Delno Baptiste
W. C. Hannon
Alan Braunstein ...
Willie Mae


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


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




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Feira Ambulante  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


IN the truck stop, Donna says, "Money walks, BS talks". This is backwards, though not sure if it may be intentional or not. See more »


Referenced in Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

lots of insights but meandering plot
11 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

Frankie (Gary Busey) is a dunk tank clown in a traveling carnival fair. Donna (Jodie Foster) is on a date and falls for Frankie or maybe just the excitement of running away with the circus. She's under-aged but they pretend she's 18. Patch (Robbie Robertson) is his best friend who keeps the circus going patching up the wild unruly group and the little towns they travel through. First Donna starts working as a side girl but Patch sabotages her and it goes badly. Then she works one of the games under Gerta (Meg Foster)'s supervision.

The plot meanders and it's hard to see what's the point. The characters aren't compelling. What this movie has is a lot of information about the traveling carnival. Robbie Robertson's low key performance doesn't really help. Gary Busey is holding up his end of the bargain by being a barely restrained clown. Jodie Foster is doing her spunky runaway character. It would be much better if her character is running away from something interesting that drives this movie. The movie kind of meanders and stumbles from one interesting carny scenario to another without really going anywhere.

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

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