Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979)

R  |   |  Drama  |  5 September 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,622 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 20 critic

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.



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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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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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?


Much has been said how this film is a precursor to the Academy Award nominated Best Picture nominee The Big Chill (1983) which examines similar themes. It has not been said as much though how Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976) is also a kind of precursor to Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979) and also examines the same similar themes. See more »


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


Frances Carlson: You know, I can't imagine you guys teaching. I mean, is it the same old stuff we got?
Mike Donnelly: Well, I start the year with the Boston Police Strike.
Irene Rosenblue: They let you teach *that*?
Mike Donnelly: They let you teach just about anything, so long as you keep the students from knifing each other.
See more »


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


I Brake for Animals
© 1979 Sweet Melodies Publishing
Written by Adam LeFevre
Performed by Adam LeFevre (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Did we all see the same film?
7 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Some of the comments about "Return" are amazingly vitriolic and appear to have been written by people who hate independent films in general, or who hate "reunion" movies, or who hate low-budget movies, etc., etc., etc. If your comfort zone is Hollywood films with predictable plots and pretty, more or less interchangeable faces you've seen over and over, why watch this film at all?

There are also some misstatements of fact among the comments--it is amazing that someone thinks that "The Big Chill," a blatant piece of Hollywood plagiarism, preceded and inspired this film--but particularly off base is the remark that few of the actors in the film have many additional credits. Yes, there are several actors with only one to three credits. But more than half of them have numerous credits, some as many as 90, and some as writers and producers as well as actors. Furthermore, many of the credits are excellent--most of the TV credits, for example, are for series that are critically acclaimed. In addition, four or five of the actors are well known and respected in the business, whether they are household names or not. If you can use IMDb well enough to make comments, you can also check the accuracy of such statements before making them.

The film may not seem gripping now, since the reunion thing has been done to death. But it is a very important movie, in terms of advancing the popular acceptance of independent films and, of course, launching John Sayles' brilliant career, one which has contributed in a major way to the culture of this country and indeed the world. And it is still good watching for those who do not expect all films to be about action.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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