38 user 19 critic

Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979)

R | | Drama | 5 September 1980 (USA)
Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.



3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce MacDonald ...
Maggie Renzi ...
Maggie Cousineau ...
Jean Passanante ...
Karen Trott ...
Marisa Smith ...
Amy Schewel ...
Carolyn Brooks ...
Eric Forsythe ...
Nancy Mette ...


The Secaucus 7 of the film's title are seven friends who, during their college days, were arrested in New Jersey on their way to a protest in Washington. The film takes place ten years after all that, as the friends gather at the home of Mike and Katie, now schoolteachers in New Hampshire, bringing with them old problems and new: Maura has left Jeff and seeks consolation with his best friend, J.T.; J.T., arguably the least successful of the friends, finally gets the courage to move to Los Angeles to start a career as a songwriter; Irene brings her new boyfriend along, hoping he'll like and be liked by her friends and expecting them to challenge him for his more-conservative politics; and more. This is the film that inspired "The Big Chill." Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return of the Secaucus 7  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$60,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The characters and actors in this film who make up "The Secaucus Seven" comprise three men and four women. They are Bruce MacDonald as Mike Donnelly; Maggie Renzi as Katie Sipriano; Karen Trott as Maura Tolliver; Mark Arnott as Jeff Andrews; Maggie Cousineau as Frances Carlson; Jean Passanante as Irene Rosenblue and Adam LeFevre as J.T. See more »


Camera shadow on the ground during the basketball game when JT falls down. See more »


[they sit in a row in the bar]
Mike Donnelly: Sunday!
Ron Desjardins: Sunday!
Howie: Sunday!
Mike Donnelly: At Washington Valley Speedway: thrills, chills, and spills!
Ron Desjardins: [starts making racing car noises]
Howie: Nitro-burning funny cars!
Mike Donnelly: Joey Chitwood and his Auto Daredevils!
Howie: Special appearance by Big Daddy Roth!
Mike Donnelly: You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll cry!
See more »


Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »


Mean to Me
© 1979 Sweet Melodies Publishing
Written by Adam LeFevre
Performed by Adam LeFevre (uncredited), Cora Bennett (uncredited) and Steven Zaitz (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Groundbreaking Indie Film
17 December 2006 | by (hollywood) – See all my reviews

Shocked that there's only three pages of comments for the film widely considered to be one of the fathers of the modern indie film movement. John Saylees used his b-movie money from Roger Corman (the best scripts written for him) and financed this weekend home movie that became a hit and launched Sayle's film career.

Some of the bad reviews are really unfounded. This has some of the best dialog in American film, and though the performances are not all polished, it adds to the reality. There's a sense of genuine community not like the Hollywoodized "Big Chill."

If you stick with the film you'll be rewarded by many nifty scenes and conversations. Gordon Clapp is fun and there are beautifully observed moments of wit and drama. Mark Arnett is particularly good and the moment he recites his litany of protest arrests is great. The film-making is raw, but that's not the point.

However, the DVD version is actually missing a scene on the VHS of the hamburgers being grilled to some sort of rhythmic montage. Why?

Anyway, if you're a fan of great dialog, political commitment, and what can be done for 40 grand and terrific writing, check this classic out.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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