109 user 49 critic

Clay Pigeons (1998)

2:26 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now ... See full summary »



(as Matt Healy)
1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.

Director: Joseph Ruben
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix
Made (2001)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two aspiring boxers, lifelong friends, get involved in a money-laundering scheme through a low-level organized crime group.

Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Joe Goossen
The Locusts (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A drifter enters a small town looking for employment. While working at the local cattle ranch, he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Kitty and becomes involved in a deadly yet erotic love triangle.

Director: John Patrick Kelley
Stars: Kate Capshaw, Jeremy Davies, Vince Vaughn
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Director: Gregor Jordan
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin, Ed Harris
Russkies (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A group of American boys and a shipwrecked Russian sailor become friends in the midst of the Cold War.

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Stars: Whip Hubley, Joaquin Phoenix, Peter Billingsley
The Prime Gig (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A telesales con man finds the ultimate racket - but starting an affair with the girlfriend of his guru-like boss might be the wrong call...

Director: Gregory Mosher
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Julia Ormond, Ed Harris
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Comedy writer Jerry Stahl, whose $6000-a-week heroin habit had him taking his infant daughter along on his drug runs and doing smack during TV script conferences. Departing detox, Stahl ... See full summary »

Director: David Veloz
Stars: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Jay Paulson
U Turn (1997)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man heading to Vegas to pay off his gambling debt before the Russian mafia kills him, is forced to stop in an Arizona town where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A single father balances his work as an attorney with the care of his five year old son and his work as a high school basketball coach in rural Kansas, where he moved after his wife ... See full summary »

Director: John N. Smith
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Monica Potter, Joey Lauren Adams
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A light-hearted story of two working-class brothers courting three wealthy and beautiful sisters in a small Illinois town.

Director: Pat O'Connor
Stars: Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, Joaquin Phoenix
Swingers (1996)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Director: Doug Liman
Stars: Vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Jon Favreau
The Yards (2000)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the rail yards of Queens, contractors repair and rebuild the city's subway cars. These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. When Leo Handler gets out of prison, he ... See full summary »

Director: James Gray
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Dan Mooney
Deputy Barney
Wayne Brennan ...
Gloria Collins (as Nikki Arlyn)
Jeff Olson ...
Monica Moench ...
Bystander at Amanda's
Jesse Bennett ...
Dr. Jaffe
Agent Reynard


Clay (as in the title) is a young man in a small town who witnesses his friend kill himself because of the ongoing affair that Clay was having with the man's wife. Feeling guilty, Clay now resists the widow when she presses him to continue with their sexual affairs. Clay befriends a troubling serial killer. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lester Long never forgets a friend See more »


Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong scenes of sexuality, language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In Too Deep  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$167,364 (USA) (25 September 1998)


$1,789,892 (USA) (13 November 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



| (one scene)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


David Dobkin handled both main and second unit filming. See more »


The patch's on Sheriff Mooney's and his deputy's uniforms read "Mercer County Sheriff's Dept". But when Mooney is driving a sheriff's dept SUV, the decal on the door reads "Davis County Sheriff". See more »


Lester Long: I'm like a big fireworks show. I'm very bright.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits Lester Long says "You gotta good sense of humor, I like that" and does his bizarre laugh. See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Moon Over Montana
Written by Jimmy Wakely and Oliver Drake
Performed by Jimmy Wakely
Courtesy of Capitol Nashville
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An excellent thriller that comes out of nowhere.
27 June 2003 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

Clay Pigeons is one of those movies that I only rented because I worked at a video store when it was released and I got movie rentals for free and would go through every movie that came out. I'm glad I rented it, too, because this is one of the best thrillers I've seen in years. Like it's title, there's nothing really complex or intricate about it, and it even follows pretty close to the usual thriller plotline, but it is so well acted and written that it thrills and entertains throughout the entire film.

The characters are made up mostly of caricatures. Caricatures, in this case, oddly enough, of the actors performing them rather than the role that needed to be filled in the story. Janeane Garofalo plays the part of an FBI agent assigned to investigate the various murders that begin turning up in a small town. Like most of her characters, she is disillusioned, sarcastic, and continually amazed at the sheer idiocy with which she is surrounded. Vince Vaughn delivers a wonderful performance as the villain, with his endless charm making him the perfect actor to play the part of a serial killer. `They're all charming,' as they say.

As is often the case, Joaquin Phoenix also plays a rather unenviable role, as he did in movies like 8MM, To Die For, and Gladiator. He is a good guy in Clay Pigeons, but after you watch the movie it becomes obvious that this guy must just have a serious problem with bad luck. A good friend of Clay's (Phoenix) kills himself in a remote location early in the film because of an affair that Clay has been having with his wife, forcing Clay to alter the scene to make it look like an accidental death in order to avoid looking like he did it to get rid of him so that he could be with his wife.

It's strange to notice the absolute absence of any kind of remorse or sadness that this wife shows after her husband kills himself. Clay is freaking out, and this vicious bitch wants to continue their sexual escapades as though nothing has even happened. When Lester Long (Vaughn) shows up, he strikes up a friendship with Clay and, through a bizarre fishing incident, becomes irreversibly intertwined with Clay's murders. Basically they are stuck working together for the rest of the movie no matter how much Clay's hatred for Lester grows. You'll just have to watch the movie to see why.

I thought that the ending was a tiny bit of a copout, if only because it involves a situation at a distant roadside diner/café that ends too perfectly. This situation just had way too many variables that could have happened to have come off exactly as it was expected to, but the movie was still so good that it is more than worth it. If you are looking for a great thriller (and you've already seen The Way of the Gun), Clay Pigeons is the way to go.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Amanda or Gloria? baby_gorilla
Is the film any good? xxRiverxx
Lester + Sheriff Mooney wdflwr
what the hell? snafu-4
Lester's leaky ear gurtney
Lester Snozzberry6
Discuss Clay Pigeons (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: