5 user 2 critic

The Census Taker (1984)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 23 January 1984 (USA)
Exasperated by his intrusions, a family shoots a census taker and tries to hide his body from a detective.


(as Bruce Randall Cook)


(as Bruce Randall Cook),

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Based on actual events, film tells the story of an incident in Kenya in 1984, when, because of a severe drought, 90,000 starving baboons went on a murderous rampage, killing humans and animals alike.

Director: Raju Patel
Stars: John Rhys-Davies, Timothy Bottoms, Irene Miracle
Action | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

The U.S. government has been using deep caves in Central America as bases for a special type of radio transmitter used for communicating with submaries. When the signal from one of these ... See full summary »

Director: Don Sharp
Stars: Robert Powell, Timothy Bottoms, Lisa Blount
Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

A serpent, created by radioactivity, threatens a Spanish coastal town.

Director: Amando de Ossorio
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Taryn Power, Jared Martin
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1896, three whalers are stranded in the Arctic North Canada and seek refuge with an Eskimo tribe. Gradually they gain control with the Eskimo village and introduce gambling, booze, theft... See full summary »

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Warren Oates, Timothy Bottoms, Louis Gossett Jr.
Action | Crime | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

Darcy is back on the force, but still fights on as the Black Scorpion because "it's in her nature." This time, she fights Gangster Prankster; and a new villian emerges when the Mayor tries ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Winfrey
Stars: Joan Severance, Whip Hubley, Sherrie Rose
Rollercoaster (1977)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A blackmailer threatens to sabotage roller-coasters at various American amusement parks if he isn't paid a huge ransom.

Director: James Goldstone
Stars: George Segal, Timothy Bottoms, Richard Widmark
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

Two college student decide to go spend some quality time at a beauty pageant with the help of their Porsche.

Director: David Lewis
Stars: Tate Donovan, Grant Heslov, Danielle von Zerneck
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1942, Britain sends a group of British-trained Czech commandos to Prague to assassinate SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi security services.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Martin Shaw, Joss Ackland
The Fantasist (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When an Irish woman moves from the suburbs to Dublin, she begins receiving phone calls from a stranger. Coincidentally, the city is being plagued by a serial killer who uses this method to ... See full summary »

Director: Robin Hardy
Stars: Moira Sinise, Christopher Cazenove, Timothy Bottoms
Car Wash (1976)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Car Wash is about a close-knit group of employees who one day have all manner of strange visitors coming onto their forecourt, including Richard Pryor as a preaching 'wonder-man' who is ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Franklyn Ajaye, Darrow Igus
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor.

Director: James Bridges
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner, John Houseman
The Stuff (1985)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris


Cast overview:
Austen Tayler ...
Troy Alexander ...
Erin-Bruce Tolcharian ...
William R. Bremer ...
Laine Walker-McGrew ...
Woman with Broom
Laura Sorrenson ...
Woman in Leopard-skin Pants (as Roxanne Rolle)
Anne Dubroff ...
Women in Robe
Roxy Kim ...
Punk Girl
Jennifer Finch ...
Punk Girl


The fictional suburban community of Appleton is turned upside down thanks to Harvey McGraw, an annoying census taker who's in charge of checking the neighborhood's population. When Harvey visits George and Martha Dade, they reluctantly invite him in, but when the questionnaire turns too personal for the couple, they accidentally shoot him in the forehead. They are then forced to hide his body from their company, Martha's sister Eva and her husband Pete, a former detective. When he discovers Harvey's body in the kitchen closet, a bright future is very unlikely for George and Martha. Written by Kyle J. McElravy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Four lovers with everything to hide. One stranger with nothing to lose. Will they survive.... You'll die laughing.


Comedy | Crime


Not Rated




Release Date:

23 January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Husbands, Wives, Money & 'Murder'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the final census tally on the screen before the end credits, a man can be heard saying "Is it recording?" meaning is the music being recorded during the session. See more »


In the close-up shot of George and Pete's lifeless bodies, Timothy Bottoms can be seen breathing. See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the end credits, a final census tally of Appleton types itself onto the screen. See more »


References Dirty Harry (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Attempt At Avildsen/Waters Style Dark Satire Comes Off Like Bad Dinner Theater
27 January 2015 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

The small but affluent suburb of Appleton is burdened with the nuisance of a special census survey. Harvey McGraw (Garrett Morris), a profoundly irritating statistician who likes to abuse his power is sent there to ask a long, tedious series of invasive questions.

McGraw makes the faux pas of visiting the Dade household interrupting dinner and inviting himself in. The Dades are locally known for being disagreeable and obsessive about their privacy. Head of the household George Dade (Greg Mullavey) - an argumentative crank & right-wing libertarian is instantly perturbed by McGraw.

When McGraw doesn't let George's wife Martha Dade (Meredith McRae) get away with giving her age as 29 things deteriorate further. The Dades alligator shirt-wearing Hitler Youth/android sons Edward and Robert then question the constitutional validity of the survey and are blatantly recalcitrant.

As the questions become more personal McGraw realizes first, that he wore out his welcome on the doorstep and second, that he might not leave the Dade residence alive. The subject of how many firearms are in the house prompts the method of extermination - a shooting which is neither completely on purpose nor entirely accidental.

The constant bickering in the family impedes their attempts at covering up what they are sure will look like murder. They have company visiting i.e. Martha's lover/George's best friend Pete Taggert (Sam Bottoms) who happens to be a cop and his wife Eva (Austen Taylor) who happens to be Mrs.Dade's sister and George's lover.

An awkward evening ensues as the Dades attempt to hide their affairs from each other and a corpse from those whom they are having affairs with.

They entire rhythm of the performances are like that of a stage play, That approach doesn't work on film. The timing of what absurdist humor there is to be found gets thrown off by that undermining all of it. The result is that comes off like bad dinner theater performed on the sales room floor of a rattan furniture store.

Jennifer Precious Finch - beloved former bassist of grunge era band L7 appears briefly as a punk rocker girlfriend of one of the Dade brothers.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Census Taker (1984) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: