95 user 61 critic

Used Cars (1980)

R | | Comedy | 11 July 1980 (USA)
When the owner of a struggling used car lot is killed, it's up to the lot's hot-shot salesman to save the property from falling into the hands of the owner's ruthless brother and used-car rival.


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1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Harmon ...
Sam Slaton (as Joseph P. Flaherty)


Used car salesman Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell) needs money to run for State Senate, so he approaches his boss Luke (Jack Warden). Luke agrees to front him the $10,000 he needs, but then encounters an "accident" orchestrated by his brother Roy also played by Warden, who runs the car lot across the street. Roy is hoping to claim title to his brother's property because Roy's paying off the mayor to put the new interstate through the area. After Luke disappears, it's all out war between the competing car shops, and no nasty trick is off limits as Rudy and his gang fight to keep Roy from taking Luke's property. Then Luke's daughter shows up. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Estimated Laugh Count: 287 City, 410 Highway. Use these numbers only for comparison. Your actual laughs may vary depending on how you feel about used car salesmen, nude women, spectacular car stunts, and the President of the United States. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 July 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mit einem Bein im Kittchen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


During early development of 1941 (1979), John Milius told Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale about an idea for a movie he and Steven Spielberg thought up about a used car salesman on the outskirts of Las Vegas After finishing I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), Zemeckis and Gale asked Milius if they could use the idea because neither Milius nor Spielberg would ever have the time to do it themselves. See more »


When Mickey is destroying the '57 Chevy during the test drive with Luke, Luke rips the Castrol GTX patch off Mickey's outer Castrol jacket, revealing the New Deal patch beneath. Yet the New Deal patch is never ripped off the inner jacket. Later, when dying, Luke drops the patch he ripped off which shows it to be a New Deal patch, leading Rudy to believe Luke's death was Roy's doing. The patch Luke ripped off was a Castrol GTX patch, not a New Deal patch. Where did the New Deal patch come from? See more »


[Rudy puts a bumper sticker of himself on a newly-bought car]
Rudy: You're going to love it, Stan. Trust me.
[the car drives off as the bumper falls off the car]
Rudy: Ah, shit! There goes a perfectly good bumper sticker.
See more »


References The 700 Club (1966) See more »


Written by Dorothy Love Coates
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User Reviews

among the funniest
6 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film appeared at a transitional moment in American comedy, and was beaten at the box-office by the first of what became the dominating type of comic film ever since, "Airplane!". Yet, among the last of the '70s style comedies of outrageous characters in domestic settings (the type finally met its waterloo in the bloated "Blues Brothers," but still managed a convulsively successful finale in "Ghostbusters"), "Used Cars" is among the funniest of its type and era.

With most of its budget going to (what else?) used cars, the film still manages a solidly competent look throughout, largely thanks to some real risky one-take stunts and set-pieces. The pacing is swift, and the actors play dead-pan but not so much that we need to take any of this seriously.

"Used Cars" is also the kind of comedy that satirizes all we hold dear as Americans, but not so bitterly that we are left feeling bad about ourselves; this may be a depiction of us at our worst - but hey, nobody's perfect! Besides, there's just enough of a romantic story attached to remind us of the redemptive power of love - without getting all syrupy-sweet on us.

Just excessive enough to get silly without ever being dull, a hearty laugh for any time of day.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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