70 user 38 critic

Joe (1970)

Two men, Bill, a wealthy conservative, and Joe, a far-right factory worker, form a dangerous bond after Bill confesses to Joe about murdering his daughter's drug dealer boyfriend.


John G. Avildsen


Norman Wexler
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Sarandon ... Melissa Compton
Patrick McDermott ... Frank Russo
Tim Lewis ... Kid in Soda Shop
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Woman in Bargain Store
Bob O'Connell ... Man in Bargain Store
Marlene Warfield ... Bellevue Nurse
Dennis Patrick ... Bill Compton
Audrey Caire Audrey Caire ... Joan Compton
Mary Case Mary Case ... Teeny Bopper
Jenny Paine Jenny Paine ... Teeny Bopper
Peter Boyle ... Joe Curran
Reid Cruickshanks Reid Cruickshanks ... American Bartender
Rudy Churney Rudy Churney ... Man in Bar
K Callan ... Mary Lou Curran (as K. Callan)
Robert Emerick Robert Emerick ... TV Newscaster


Bill, a wealthy businessman, confronts his junkie daughter's drug-dealing boyfriend; in the ensuing argument, Bill kills him. Panic-stricken, he wanders the streets and eventually stops at a bar. There he runs into a drunken factory worker named Joe, who hates hippies, blacks, and anyone who is "different", and would like to kill one himself. The two start talking, and Bill reveals his secret to Joe. Complications ensue. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I'm the "Joe" everybody's talking about. See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Passed by the British Board of Film Censors on 19 February 1971 with an "X" certificate (after cuts). British Lion decided to screen the UK premiere at the Plaza cinema in Leeds on 21 March 1971. The London opening was on 27 May 1971 at the Prince Charles in Leicester Square where it ran five weeks. See more »


Microphone briefly visible over Joe's head in phone booth. See more »


Joe: Forty-two percent of all liberals are queer, that's a fact. The Wallace people did a poll.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to heavily edit the sequence where Frank prepares and injects heroin. The 1986 Stablecane video was 15 rated and featured an edited print which ran around 10 minutes shorter and missed the scene out completely. The 2008 Optimum DVD is 18 rated and features the full uncut version. See more »


Referenced in Birth of the Living Dead (2013) See more »


Where Are You Going
Written by Bobby Scott & Danny Meehan
Sung by Jerry Butler
See more »

User Reviews

That's the way it was
8 September 2012 | by berry-michael61See all my reviews

This was the first movie I viewed, just by chance, after my discharge from active duty in the Army in 1970. Forty-two years later, remembering nothing of the plot, only that I left the theater very emotional (rare for me), I found a DVD copy at a local library.

I now realize why I have since not been able to regard Peter Boyle as anything but a frightening character, even in his comic role on the TV series "Everybody Loves Raymond." To be fair, his 1976 role in "Taxi Driver" didn't help, but his face, as seen in "Joe", is still the stuff of nightmares for me.

That said, I learned that it was the now long-forgotten hostility between sectors of our society, so brutally represented in the film, created by the debacle in Vietnam that affected me so deeply in 1970. Today, even to one who was there, the experience of living in an America so torn, so close to open rebellion, is hard to conceive - even harder to explain. But fresh off the plane, still somewhat glum from the cold stares at the airport caused by my uniform, this film hit me like a hammer. And guessing from the huge profit it made, it did the same to many.

It shocked me that I hadn't remembered Susan Sarandon was in this film - she has been one of my favorites - and, as a bonus, the then 24 year-old Ms. Sarandon appears nude. How could I have possibly forgotten that?

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Release Date:

15 July 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gap See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA


Box Office


$106,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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