IMDb > Bustin' Loose (1981)
Bustin' Loose
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Bustin' Loose (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 30% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Lonne Elder III (adaptation)
Richard Pryor (story)
View company contact information for Bustin' Loose on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 May 1981 (USA) See more »
He's mad, he's bad, and he's Bustin' Loose!
Joe Braxton is an ex-con who has been given a second chance to freedom after violating his probation... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Warm-hearted comedy See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Pryor ... Joe Braxton

Cicely Tyson ... Vivian Perry

Ángel Ramírez ... Julio
Jimmy Hughes ... Harold
Edwin DeLeon ... Ernesto
Edwin Kinter ... Anthony
Tami Luchow ... Linda
Janet Wong ... Annie
Alphonso Alexander ... Martin
Kia Cooper ... Samantha
Robert Christian ... Donald

George Coe ... Doctor Wilson T. Renfrew
Bill Quinn ... Judge Antonio Runzuli

Roy Jenson ... Klan Leader
Fred Carney ... Alfred Schuyler

Peggy McCay ... Gladys Schuyler
Luke Andreas ... Loader

Earl Billings ... Man at Parole Office
Mathew Clark ... Dwayne

Nick Dimitri ... Frank Munjak
Les Engel ... Wino
Michael A. Esler ... Cop
Ben Gerard ... Man

Gary Goetzman ... Store Manager
Joe Jacobs ... Watchman

Paul Mooney ... Marvin
Lee Noblitt ... Farmer
Ines Pedroza ... Herself
Morgan Roberts ... Uncle Humphrey

Vern Taylor ... Highway Patrolman #1

Rick Sawaya ... Highway Patrolman #2
Shila Turna ... Girl in Card Game
Gloria Jewel Waggener ... Aunt Beedee
Jonelle White ... Sales Clerk
Jewell Williams ... Miss Thomas
Sunny Woods ... Linette Peasley
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Vincent Price ... Alcoholic Mechanic (scenes deleted)

Craig Richards ... Courtroom Bailiff (uncredited)
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Directed by
Oz Scott 
Michael Schultz (uncredited)
Writing credits
Lonne Elder III (adaptation)

Richard Pryor (story)

Roger L. Simon (screenplay)

Produced by
Michael S. Glick .... producer
William Greaves .... executive producer
Richard Pryor .... producer
Original Music by
Mark Davis 
Cinematography by
Dennis Dalzell (director of photography)
Film Editing by
David Holden 
Harry Keramidas 
Skip Lusk 
Casting by
Anita Dann 
Art Direction by
John W. Corso  (as John Corso)
Charles R. Davis 
Set Decoration by
John M. Dwyer 
Marc E. Meyer Jr.  (as Mark Meyer)
Costume Design by
Stephen Loomis 
Bill Whitten 
Makeup Department
Michael F. Blake .... makeup artist (as Michael Blake)
Chuck House .... makeup artist (as Charles House)
Tony Lloyd .... makeup artist
Omar .... hair stylist
Ron Snyder .... makeup artist
Gerald Solomon .... hair stylist
Ann Wadlington .... hair stylist
Production Management
Robert Latham Brown .... unit production manager
Charles Washburn .... unit production manager (as Charles C. Washburn)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Maximilian Bing .... first assistant director (as Maximiliano Bing)
Clifford C. Coleman .... first assistant director
Hope R. Goodwin .... second assistant director (as Hope Goodwin)
David Holden .... second unit director
Kalai Strode .... first assistant director: second unit
John Syrjamaki .... second assistant director
Art Department
Clint Robinson .... property master
Gerald Wade .... property master
Curtis A. Schnell .... set designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
James R. Alexander .... sound (as Jim Alexander)
Glenn Hoskinson .... sound effects editor
Robert L. Hoyt .... sound re-recordist
Vince Melandri .... loop dialogue editor
Stanley H. Polinsky .... sound re-recordist (as Stan Polinsky)
John Stacy .... sound effects editor
John J. Stephens .... sound re-recordist (as John Stephens)
John Hayward .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Roger Sword .... sound editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Melbourne A. Arnold .... special effects (as Melbourne Arnold)
Kevin Pike .... special effects foreman
Phil Chong .... stunts
Erik Cord .... stunts
Jadie David .... stunts
Ted Duncan .... stunts
Ron Oliney .... stunts
George Sawaya .... stunts
Rick Sawaya .... stunt coordinator
Sharon Schaffer .... stunts
Peter Stader .... stunts (as Peter T. Stader)
Michael M. Vendrell .... stunts (as Mike Vendrell)
Kym Washington .... stunts (as Kim Washington)
Richard Washington .... stunt coordinator
Richard Washington .... stunts
Rick Sawaya .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
William Jay Gahret .... camera operator (as Bill Gahret)
Fred Goodich .... director of photography: second unit
Ronald E. High .... assistant camera (as Ron High)
Bob Jones .... assistant camera
Lee Krosskove .... key grip
Carl Manoogian .... key grip
Marc Margulies .... assistant camera: second unit
Geary McLeod .... assistant camera
Jeffrey Norvet .... assistant camera (as Jeff Norvett)
Tony Rivetti .... assistant camera: second unit
John Toll .... camera operator: second unit
Earl C. Williman .... gaffer (as Earl Williman)
Robert Woodside .... gaffer (as Bob Woodside)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Alice Daniels .... costume supervisor
Robert Ellsworth .... costume supervisor (as Bob Ellsworth)
Editorial Department
Bette Jane Cohen .... assistant film editor
Michael T. Elias .... assistant film editor (as Michael Elias)
William Essary .... assistant film editor (as Bill Essary)
Rick Mitchell .... assistant film editor
Music Department
Allison Caine .... vocal effects advisor
Mark Davis .... conductor: musical score
Roberta Flack .... composer: original songs
Roberta Flack .... singer: original songs
Robert Mayer .... music editor
Transportation Department
Tom Garris .... transportation captain (as Tom Garras)
Eugene Schwartz .... transportation captain (as Gene Schwartz)
John Feinblatt .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Other crew
Mabel Collins .... production associate
Pat Faye .... production assistant: Washington
Wilma Garscadden-Gahret .... script supervisor (as Wilma Garscadden)
Betty A. Griffin .... script supervisor (as Betty Abbott Griffin)
Lauren Jones .... dialogue coach (as Gloria Schultz)
Max Manlove .... production secretary
James Maull .... location auditor (as Jim Maull)
Phill Norman .... title designer
Richard Pryor Jr. .... production assistant
Julie Reid .... production secretary
Susan Royal .... location auditor
Kimberly Sizemore .... production assistant
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
94 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

The name of the order that Goose Lodge No. #117 belonged to was the "Royal Order of the Goose".See more »
Revealing mistakes: When Joe Braxton is hanging on the side of the bus as it begins to go down the hill, you can clearly see the cable of his safety harness attached to the rail of the bus.See more »
[last lines]
Donald:Get out. Go on back home.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Sleaze (1982)See more »
Just When I Needed YouSee more »


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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Warm-hearted comedy, 2 May 2006
Author: BDeWittP from United States

When a movie can make you laugh and cry, it's a rare quality. Many people don't have a high tolerance for adults, but are suckers for kids. I am proud to say that I fall into this category, as does Richard Pryor's character Joe Braxton in this film. He plays a foul-mouthed, ill-mannered ex-con, who is, let's face it, a bum. For some reason, though, he is likable. Maybe it's because he still has an optimistic outlook about his life. His biggest strength, which almost proves to be his undoing, is that he is willing to do more for others than he is for himself. This is what I felt made "Bustin' Loose" such a touching movie.

Joe Braxton is a parolee who has been given a second chance to rebuild his life. His only problem is, he can't really seem to find a purpose on the outside, and just doesn't know how to make it. In a hilarious courtroom scene where he is about to be sent back to prison for larceny, in violation of his parole, he is given ten years probation by the judge.

His parole officer, however, is amused, but not at all fooled by the courtroom shenanigans. So, as a favor, his parole officers needs a favor. A group of disadvantaged Philadelphia youths have had their school closed as a result of budget cuts. Cicely Tyson, who portrays her character brilliantly, plays their supervisor who is also the girlfriend of Joe's parole officer. She and the kids need to be driven across country to her family's Washington state farm to start over. Joe is asked to drive the bus and return in 15 days.

This is where the movie takes a wonderful turn for the better and gives some pleasant surprises. It could have been a silly Disney-like movie with cute, fake dialog that cuts corners and makes you want to throw up at the end (like Dead Poet's Society). Instead of all that nonsense and garbage, we heard words of truth, and witness some convincing changes.

At first, Joe sees this as a chore and the kids as nothing but a bunch of losers. Later though, he begins to bond with the kids and discovers, as does the kids, that he actually really does care about them because he doesn't want what happened to him to happen to them. He finds a purpose, and a reason to be happy. He becomes a pleasant, and is actually a warm person after all who just needed the right people to bring out the goodness in him. Perhaps this is because his love for the kids makes him forget about his problems and worry about their well-being.

There are some tough scenes, too. There is boy who has experienced a tragedy, not intentionally, but because of a problem he cannot help. Another one of the youths solicits prostitution to Joe. There are also about whether the kids will be able to keep their new home, or if Joe can actually make it on the outside. All of these scenes show reality and how people find the courage to deal with their own lives. Richard Pryor plays these scenes with a quiet, subtle brilliance. He is not just a funny comedian, he is also a good actor.

The only flaw the movie has is that it seems to lack some little scenes to make Prior's character develop his relationship and bond together with the kids and Cicely Tyson's character. Don't get me wrong, it's usually better to keep an audience wanting more than to drag a movie out, but I think this one may have benefited from more running time. The transition from con to nice guy seemed just a little bit too quick, and I think this could have been the difference between making this a great movie instead of a good one. It's as though the screenwriter didn't sit down and rewrite quite thoroughly enough. That, however, is easily forgiven and forgotten.

I will not give away what happens, I will say only this: I was pleasantly surprised because this movie wasn't just a comedy. There are a lot of serious scenes, too, and the ending is very perceptive about human behavior. Bustin' Loose is not a masterpiece, but it is an entertaining, convincing movie, and it works because of the performances. If you pay attention, you'll be surprised at how moved you are at the end of this delightful comedy, and you might even shed a tear.

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