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Carny (1980)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 May 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,378 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 20 critic

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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Title: Carny (1980)

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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 »

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Release Date:

23 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Feira Ambulante  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


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 »


Referenced in Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

An overlooked gem that will appeal to fans of 1970s drama.
24 May 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I have been trying to see 'Carny' for quite some time, and I finally stumbled across an old video tape of it. I don't know if it is now available on DVD, but if not, it should be. It was released at the beginning of the 1980s but is very much a 1970s movie, and fans of that decade will appreciate it. It's very low key and character driven, and nothing all that much happens, but the acting is strong from the three leads - Gary Busey, who has been wasted in bad movies for many years, Jodie Foster in the transitional period from child to adult star, and the biggest surprise of all Robbie Robertson, guitarist and main songwriter with legendary rock'n'rollers The Band. On top of that the supporting cast features an incredible array of character actors that's hard to beat - Elisha Cook Jr, Tim Thomerson, Kenneth McMillan, Meg Foster, Tim Thomerson, Bill McKinney, Bert Remsen, Fred Ward, Woodrow Parfrey and Craig Wasson, the star of Brian De Palma's 'Body Double', just to name the most obvious ones. 'Carny' is an overlooked gem, and deserves some more attention. I really enjoyed it.

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