Sheldon Bart is a drifter, and a small-time con man. He meets his old friend, Brother Bud, a big-time con man into faith healing and fencing stolen cars, at his revival tent outside a small... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arlene Stewart
Brother Bud Sanders
Sheldon Bart
Beverly Hope Atkinson ...
George Martin
Delores (as Diane Diefendorf)
Robert Gray ...
Ted Harris ...
Celia Martin
Alan Beckwith ...
Brother Roy
Andrew Winner ...
Male Newscaster
Pamela Lamont ...
Female Newscaster
Gas Station Attendant


Sheldon Bart is a drifter, and a small-time con man. He meets his old friend, Brother Bud, a big-time con man into faith healing and fencing stolen cars, at his revival tent outside a small town. While he's helping Brother Bud, he falls in love with Arlene, a local supermarket clerk who believes in UFOs and is deeply religious and deeply lonely. When Arlene has a vision of a coming UFO, everyone deals with it in their own way. Written by Jon Reeves <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A down home comedy that's out of this world. See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escape  »

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Did You Know?


Completed in 1980, this film sat on the shelf for several years. According to a 1983 Rolling Stone article, the studio was unable to come up with a marketing plan for such a quirky, unusual film. See more »


Arlene Stewart: Oh Toby, there's a Space Ship coming, and it's gonna be like Noah and i am gonna be Noah.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: What's Wrong with Home Video (1988) See more »


Crazy with the Heat
Performed by Hank Williams Jr.
Courtesy of Mike Curb Productions Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

A beautifully quirky and amiable little sleeper
22 December 2005 | by (The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left) – See all my reviews

Cindy Williams gives a superb, luminous, heart-warming performance as daffy, but endearing small mid-western town grocery check-out girl Arlene, whose constant, deep-seated belief that she'll soon be visited by alien beings from another planet brings together a motley collection of New Age religious kooks, shiftless no-hoper losers, snoopy media newshounds, and other such colorful societal oddballs which include longtime Western movie bit player Hank Worden as a senile World War II vet and fellow ubiquitous Western character thesp Harry Carey Jr. in one of his standard affable good ol' boy roles. Arlene's nutty notions also attract the attention of aimless grifter drifter Sheldon (a grungily engaging Fred Ward, who's rarely been better) and amoral, cynical, opportunistic phony roadside preacher Brother Bud (the inestimable Harry Dean Stanton doing a splendidly sour reprise of his avaricious fake blind priest part from "Wise Blood").

Capably directed and smartly written by John Binder (who co-wrote the equally off-beat "Endangered Species"), with smooth, sparkling cinematography by David Myers, a lovely, lulling honkytonk score by Richard Baskin, and a top-rate country and western soundtrack (several choice Waylon Jennings and John Prine tunes are prominently featured herein, while the always great Roger Miller exuberantly belts out the wonderfully wacky theme song), this beautifully quirky and amiable sleeper offers a delightful, astute, pleasingly eccentric seriocomic look at how one person can indeed have a substantial positive impact on other people, the profound need to live a happy life, and how the ability to believe in something -- hell, man, just anything -- gives life purpose and meaning, thus making it easier for one to persevere and prevail through that dull, unceasing, sometimes disheartening daily grind we all must contend with. Intelligent, affectionate, often funny, and ultimately quite moving, this simply lovely favorite rates a sunny, uplifting, totally terrific little beaut.

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