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Cold Turkey (1971)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 19 February 1971 (USA)
Hoping for positive publicity, a tobacco company offers $25 million to any American town that quits smoking for 30 days. Amidst a media frenzy, Eagle Rock, Iowa accepts the challenge while the company's PR man tries to sabotage the effort.


Norman Lear


Norman Lear (screen story by), William Price Fox (screen story by) (as William Price Fox Jr.) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dick Van Dyke ... Rev. Clayton Brooks
Pippa Scott ... Natalie Brooks
Tom Poston ... Mr. Stopworth
Edward Everett Horton ... Hiram C. Grayson
Bob & Ray Bob & Ray ... Hugh Upson / David Chetley / Sandy Van Andy / Walter Chronic / Paul Hardly / Arthur Lordly (as Bob and Ray)
Vincent Gardenia ... Mayor Quincey L. Wappler
Barnard Hughes ... Dr. Proctor
Graham Jarvis ... Amos Bush
Jean Stapleton ... Mrs. Wappler
Barbara Cason ... Letitia Hornsby
Judith Lowry ... Odie Turman
Sudie Bond ... Cissy
Helen Page Camp ... Mrs. Watson
Paul Benedict ... Zen Buddhist
Simon Scott ... Mr. Kandiss


Reverend Brooks leads the town in a contest to stop smoking for a month, But some tobacco executives don't want them to win, and try everything they can to make them smoke. If townspeople don't go nuts from wanting a cigarette, or kill each other from irritation and frustration, they will win a huge prize. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See the hilarious BATTLE OF THE BUTT! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for smoking content throughout and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In the opening scene where Merwin Wren is talking to Hiram C. Grayson, a banjo can be heard playing Elmer Bernstein's theme music from The Magnificent Seven (1960). The tune was known for its use in television commercials for Marlboro cigarettes in the 1960s. See more »


Bishop Manley calls Dearborn, Michigan "General Motors country." Actually, Dearborn is the home of Ford Motor Company, its world headquarters and its flagship River Rouge plant. No GM facilities have been located in Dearborn. See more »


Odie Turman: It's all a big bull...
See more »


Featured in Casting By (2012) See more »


Listen to the Mockingbird
Music by Richard Milburn and lyrics by Septimus Winner (1855)
Played during band medley
See more »

User Reviews

using humor to poke fun at greed always works
1 May 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

Much like "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", "Cold Turkey" shows how crazy people can get when they're greedy. The plot centers on a town whose people are offered a lot of money if they can stop smoking for an entire month. They agree after getting convinced by the local clergyman (Dick Van Dyke), but things start going crazy when they don't get to have their cigarettes.

The movie also pokes fun at the media, with characters like "Hugh Upson" and "Walter Chronic". But overall, the movie makes fun of the "wholesome Middle America" image, showing how even seemingly idealistic small town folk can get corrupted when money is in the picture.

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English | French

Release Date:

19 February 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cold Turkey See more »

Filming Locations:

Macksburg, Iowa, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions, DFI See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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