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The Survivors (1983)

Having both lost their jobs, two strangers become unlikely friends after a run in with a would be robber, who is actually a hitman with a grudge against the two.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kristen Vigard ...
Anne Pitoniak ...
Bernard Barrow ...
TV station manager
Marian Hailey ...
Jack's Wife
Detective Matt Burke
Skipp Lynch ...
Marilyn Cooper ...
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Mace Lover
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Sonny Paluso and Donald Quinelle are two unfortunate people who have just lost their jobs; Sonny's gas station has been blown away and Donald has just been fired by his boss's parrot! But that day, their lives change when they prevent a robber from holding up a bar, and they become heroes. Unfortunately, Jack (the robber) gets away, and when he sees Donald's face on the TV, he decides to go after them. In the meantime, Donald becomes obsessed with guns and leaves for the mountains to join a survivalist group... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

parrot | mountain | gun | grudge | fired | See All (151) »


An outrageous comedy from the director of 'FLETCH' See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A túlélők  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,044,927 (USA) (26 June 1983)


$14,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Columbia Pictures, which produced this movie, had had, two years earlier, a huge box-office success with the Bill Murray army comedy, Stripes (1981). The Survivors (1983), another military related satire, has a main trailer which noticeably re-used that film's distinctive trademark music, and music score which is not actually heard in this movie. See more »


When Jack is going to the cabin he hit the brakes and they screech. When he hits the gas, the wheels screech as if they were on dry pavement. Tires on snow and ice do not make these sounds in real life. See more »


[first lines]
Betty: Mr. Quinelle!
Donald Quinelle: Morning, Betty!
Betty: Mr. Stoddard would like you to step into the board room.
Donald Quinelle: He wants to see me?
Betty: You can go right in.
See more »


References Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) See more »


by Mark Fisher, Joe Goodwin, Larry Shay
See more »

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User Reviews

Great film on several levels...
8 December 2004 | by (E. Quogue, New York) – See all my reviews

What a great film!!! A true sleeper! Foremost, I think this film works on a comedic level mainly because Matthau and Williams play off each other so well. Williams plays his comedy in that typically frenzied style of his, injecting a good dose of physical humor to boot(pardon the pun). Matthau plays more of a straight man, but with his own style of deadpan humor figured in. Vigard's daughter character has her moments as well, her facial expressions(especially during the staircase scene) are very funny.

This film also works as a commentary on the early Eighties scene, touching upon a number of issues faced by American society. This is the real reason why I believe this film is such a great movie, it gives a funny glimpse at what was happening in America on many different fronts. It covers topics such as losing your job, job hunting, and that interesting social-economic phenomena, unemployment compensation. It sheds light upon big corporate America's lack of allegiance towards its employees, a concept that was just beginning to take hold of the employment scene at the time. I'm sure that just about everyone(in middle class America at least) can relate to what Matthau's character experiences in the job montage sequence in the film. It also shows examples of the ever changing face of American society, such as the Spanish immigrant trying to collect unemployment and the Indian clerk Matthau encounters upon his application for unemployment, touching an issue that has gained tremendous momentum at the present day. It also covers the concept of Americans becoming so disenfranchised with their own society that they are driven to para-military lifestyles, which William's character explores through several really funny moments--"you shot my gun"!!. It also examines America's never ending fascination with guns.

The film also covers ground on relationships,(as all good films do) mainly between the two main characters and the ways they try to help each other through their personal woes. Matthau helps Williams on a more direct level, but Williams helps Matthau's character in the sense that his antics help to distract Matthau from his own unemployment dilemma. Also covered, to a lesser degree, is the relationship between Williams and his fiancée, which underlines the balance between devotion and sensibility. The scene between Reed's character and his wife is both funny and insightful as well.

Finally, the film's comedy itself is a very good blend of slapstick that will make you howl(the staircase scene!!) as well as the verbal aspects of well written comedy(police station,phone booth to name a few). Matthau and Williams are constantly playing off each other quite humorously. This film has several catchy lines, I find myself and my brother recalling them from time to time for a really good laugh--"Tell young Kojack what he done" and "...you've got the technique down". So, these are the reasons why I believe this film deserves a good look, it provides a rather serious look at American done in a very funny way. 10/10

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