The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
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The Battle-Ax and the Exploding Cigar 

Ignorant that he's been driving a hot Cadillac with an illegal stash of guns in the trunk, leads Jim into rubbing shoulders with the FBI and the Company.



(created by), (created by) | 3 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery)
Dennis Becker (credit only)
Eleanor Bateman
Sully Boyar ...
Bernard L. Petrankus
CIA Agent Donnegan
Echo Seven (as Lawrence Casey)
Agent Spelling
Mitzi Hoag ...
Dawson Mays ...
ATF Agent Tony Musia
Nancy Burnett ...
Jill (as Mary-Nancy Burnett)
Antonie Becker ...
Roscoe Born ...


Ignorant that he's been driving a hot Cadillac with an illegal stash of guns in the trunk, leads Jim into rubbing shoulders with the FBI and the Company.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

12 January 1979 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


For the second time in the series' run, Rockford has a run-in with the ficticious 'National Intelligence Agency' (the first being in 'The Dog and Pony Show' from the 4th season). For some reason, the show's producers were unwilling to call it the Central Intelligence Agency. In the 70's, and in many circumstances even today, using the CIA or FBI by name would generally require the story receiving script approval - not for nefarious reasons, but, rather to make sure the agency is shown in a professional manner. It's for this reason, agents in The X-Files had identification which read 'Federal Bureau,' as there is no branch of the F.B.I. which handles paranormal activities (or is there..?). See more »


Jim Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you.
Miss Holroyd: Miss Holroyd, City Federal. Your lost check still hasn't arrived. It's impossible for us to lose checks, so unless we receive full payment by noon today we'll foreclose.
See more »

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User Reviews

Stuck in the middle with Rockford
15 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I will probably have to watch this episode again to get it through my thick head, as it moved very fast, with many different levels of federal government, including the ATF, FBI, and CIA, and how our hero gets himself caught in this mess revolving around stolen guns. Rockford's driving a Cadillac this time around with an older guy named Petrankus, who ends up setting up Jim by stashing guns in the trunk, while the car was reported stolen; the cops eventually throw the pair in jail, while Petrankus(a name annoyingly uttered throughout the episode)is set free and poor Rockford is the fall guy once again. Lane Smith plays a crooked agent convincingly, as he was the most recognizable guest star I noticed. Marge Redmond, who reminded me of Hyancinth from Keeping Up Appearances, also has a very big role as Mrs. Bateman, another big wig in the government bureaucracy who asks too many questions and gets herself in trouble, and it seems that the other agents want her silenced; she accidentally gets involved with Rockford and he figures that helping her will also help clear his name as well. Rocky has a nice scene with Marge and Jim drinking wine in Rocky's house, and we all know seeing Jim's dad adds to any episode. Be on the lookout for a serious pimp mobile driven by Watkins(Charles Weldon), working undercover for the government trying to nab Petrnakus. There was a moment that I didn't totally buy, and that was when Rockford was held at gunpoint, then soon after, Jim says "hi!" to the dude with the gun, and then knocks him out with a punch. You're slick and street smart, Jimbo, but that's too much of a risk of getting shot and killed. Other than that quick moment, this is a solid episode, maybe a bit confusing, but that's only because I need to see certain episodes more than once to get the full gist, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this episode to any fan of the show. This was a late season 5 episode and there were about 20 more to go before the end of this terrific show. There's one more aspect I forgot to mention and I believe was a first for this show; look for the Dragnet style of typed words on the screen during Rockford's questioning about the car and guns, and subsequent imprisonment. It got tedious at times and I felt was overkill, as it didn't really add to the show in my opinion, but detract. Like I said before, this is still a solid and well written episode to enjoy, and the good guys win of course.

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