IMDb > The Escape Artist (1982)
The Escape Artist
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The Escape Artist (1982) More at IMDbPro »

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The Escape Artist -- Young Danny's father was known as "the greatest escape artist, second only to Houdini." When Danny leaves home to follow in his father's footsteps, he finds himself in trouble with a small town's corrupt mayor (Desi Arnaz) and the mayor's conniving son (Raul Julia) in this touching family comedy from executive producers Fred Roos and Francis Ford Coppola.


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Down 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
David Wagoner (based on the novel by)
Melissa Mathison (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Escape Artist on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 May 1982 (USA) See more »
He can get away with anything, that's why they call him The Escape Artist See more »
The young and self-confident Danny blufs at the local police-station that he will escape out of prison within one hour... See more » | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
not just for kids See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Raul Julia ... Stu Quiñones
Griffin O'Neal ... Danny Masters

Desi Arnaz ... Mayor Quiñones (as Desiderio Arnaz)

Teri Garr ... Arlene

Joan Hackett ... Aunt Sibyl
Gabriel Dell ... Uncle Burke

John P. Ryan ... Vernon

Elizabeth Daily ... Sandra

M. Emmet Walsh ... Fritz

Jackie Coogan ... Magic Shop Owner

Hal Williams ... Cop at Mayor's Office
Helen Page Camp ... Neighbor

David Clennon ... Newspaper Editor
Harry Caesar ... Sax Player
Huntz Hall ... Turnkey

Harry Anderson ... Harry Masters
George Brengel ... Water Commissioner

Carlin Glynn ... Treasurer's Secretary
Isabel Cooley ... Secretary at Newspaper Office
Tom Signorelli ... Mailbox Cop

George Cantero ... Jail Trustee
Harry Cohn ... Jailmate
James Howard ... Cop at Bridal Shop
R. Wayne Kruse ... Reporter

Margaret Ladd ... Reporter
Tom Mahoney ... M.C
G.K. Marshall ... Drummer

Doug McGrath ... Photographer
Susi Sherman ... Woman at Club
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Richard Bradford ... Sam - City Treasurer (uncredited)

Directed by
Caleb Deschanel 
Writing credits
David Wagoner (based on the novel by)

Melissa Mathison (screenplay) and
Stephen Zito (screenplay)

Produced by
Doug Claybourne .... producer
Francis Ford Coppola .... executive producer (as Francis Coppola)
Buck Houghton .... producer
Fred Roos .... executive producer
Original Music by
Georges Delerue 
Cinematography by
Stephen H. Burum 
Film Editing by
Arthur Schmidt 
Casting by
Jane Jenkins 
Barbara Johnson 
Production Design by
Dean Tavoularis 
Art Direction by
Angelo P. Graham  (as Angelo Graham)
James J. Murakami  (as James Murakami)
Set Decoration by
Bruce A. Gibeson (set decorator: added scenes)
George R. Nelson 
Costume Design by
Gloria Gresham 
Makeup Department
Michael Germain .... makeup artist
Lola 'Skip' McNalley .... hair stylist
Production Management
Barrie M. Osborne .... unit production manager (as Barrie Osborne)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andy Anderson .... second assistant director
Michael Haley .... first assistant director
Mark Radcliffe .... additional second assistant director
Art Department
Matty Azzarone .... leadman
John Gaughan .... illusion design and construction (as John Gaughn)
Robert Scaife .... construction coordinator
'Dangerous' Bob Widin .... set property master
John Zemansky .... property master
Stan Cockerell .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Gregg Barbanell .... foley artist
Gregg Barbanell .... supervising sound editor
James A. Corbett .... sound re-recording mixer
Robert Glass .... sound re-recording mixer (as Robert J. Glass)
Ron Horwitz .... supervising sound editor
Robert Knudson .... sound re-recording mixer (as Buzz Knudson)
John Leveque .... sound editor
Chris McLaughlin .... production sound
Bob Newlan .... assistant sound editor
James E. Webb .... production sound (as James Webb)
Special Effects by
Lawrence J. Cavanaugh .... special effects (as Larry Cavanaugh)
Visual Effects by
Robert Blalack .... special visual effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Dustin Blauvelt .... first assistant camera
Emmett Brown .... key grip (as Emmett A. Brown)
Joseph Cosko Jr. .... second assistant camera
Joe R. Marquette Jr. .... camera operator (as Joe Marquette)
Don Smetzer .... still photographer
Peter Sorel .... still photographer
Louis Tobin .... gaffer (as Lou Tobin)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Aggie Guerard Rodgers .... costumer (as Aggie Rodgers)
Editorial Department
Stephen Semel .... assistant editor
Music Department
Daniel Allan Carlin .... music producer
Georges Delerue .... conductor
Curt Sobel .... music editor
Transportation Department
Dennis Hollis .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Anthony Cunningham .... location manager
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer
Jeff Jaffee .... location manager
Ricky Jay .... technical advisor
Bill Liles .... lock consultant
Sam Mercer .... location manager
Betsy Norton .... script supervisor
Daniel R. Suhart .... assistant: Fred Roos
Hal Ashby .... special thanks
Steve Baker .... special thanks
Gill Dennis .... special thanks
Frank Garcia .... special thanks
Walter Murch .... special thanks
Robert Towne .... special thanks
George V. Voinovich .... special thanks: City of Cleveland (as Mayor George V. Voinovich of Cleveland)
Mark Wilson .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

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

Did You Know?

The cast included two members of the 1930s troupe "The Dead End Kids" they being Huntz Hall and Gabriel Dell.See more »
Danny Masters:You wanna know what you need? You need an education.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Dream Studio (2004) (V)See more »


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
not just for kids, 5 October 2004
Author: macduff50 from Vancouver, Canada

When the movie came out, it pretty much disappeared right away, which is often the fate of small movies, simply because the studios don't bother to advertise them. As well, the film was "pegged" as a kid's movie, which is absurd. It's about kids; and kids could watch it with profit and get excited about it; but where kids see a film about a boy who succeeds ultimately in becoming an "escape artist," and using his talents to defeat the bad guys, adults see a whole different film, one that is about a profound emotional connection a boy has with his father who has died. And this side of the tale is made even more affecting by its only slowly being revealed as the film goes on.

One thing that may also have confounded audiences is that it's not a "talky" film. The young hero does things, he doesn't much talk about things, and that makes it a little hard to follow the motivations in places. But it is a lovingly crafted, beautifully put together, piece of work, one that is long long overdue for a release on DVD. The sequence of the young boy cracking the safe is fascinating, as is the dream sequence in the jail where he magically floats his father out of danger. Striking visuals, and a clear dramatic structure. Wonderful.

As of last year, I believe American Zoetrope held the rights to the title, and while it is on their list to release, they've had higher priorities (for example, Coppola's "One From the Heart," which is good, but suffers from Frederick Forrest's unfocused performance) so it may be quite a while before this marvelous film is released. Let's hope that

when it is released, Deschanel has some say in the process, i.e., we get at least a small documentary on what it's like to make your first film, we get an anamorphic transfer, and we get a reasonably high bit rate for the transfer.

If you can find this on VHS, that's not the best way to see it, but it'll do until the DVD comes along. Enjoy

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