7.1/10
2,169
41 user 24 critic

Little Murders (1971)

Pitch black comedy about a young nihilistic New Yorker coping with pervasive urban violence, obscene phone calls, rusty water pipes, electrical blackouts, paranoia and ethnic-racial conflict during a typical summer of the 1970s.

Director:

Alan Arkin

Writers:

Jules Feiffer, Jules Feiffer (based on the play by: "Little Murders")
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Newman
Stars: Joanne Woodward, Nell Potts, Roberta Wallach
Fire Sale (1977)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Benny and his wife Ruthie a getting set to drive down to Florida, but Benny needs someone to look after his store while he's gone. Though he doesn't think much of him, Benny hands the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Arkin
Stars: Alan Arkin, Rob Reiner, Vincent Gardenia
Joe (1970)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Peter Boyle, Dennis Patrick, Susan Sarandon
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a casual gambler befriends a professional one, he begins to mirror his life, sending both deeper into the sleazy gambling world where the stakes keep getting bigger.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Texan Tom Buchanan is heading back home with enough money to start his own ranch, but when he stops in the crooked town of Agry, he's robbed and framed for murder.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Randolph Scott, Craig Stevens, Barry Kelley
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

During WWII, the publisher of the isolationist New York Gazette is murdered just as he was about to change the paper's policy and support the US war effort. His friend, a small town patriotic editor, is brought in to find the culprits.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Guy Kibbee, Lee Tracy, Gloria Dickson
Absolution (1978)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

At a Catholic public school, Benjamin Stanfield is tired of being the teacher's pet and decides to play a practical joke on his form master Father Goddard. In confession, Stanfield tells ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Page
Stars: Richard Burton, Dominic Guard, David Bradley
Town on Trial (1957)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

At a local tennis club in a posh London suburb, an attractive but flirty young woman is murdered, prompting a Scotland Yard investigation.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: John Mills, Charles Coburn, Barbara Bates
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Bart Allison and sidekick Sam arrive in the town of Sundown on the wedding day of town boss Tate Kimbrough, whom Allison blames for his wife's death years earlier.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Randolph Scott, John Carroll, Karen Steele
Kleine Morde (2012)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Director: Adnan Köse
Stars: Paul Falk, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Ann-Kathrin Kramer
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man, Hilary Fairfield returns home after fifteen years in a mental asylum. However, he finds things are not the way they were when he left.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: John Barrymore, Katharine Hepburn, Billie Burke
S*P*Y*S (1974)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Two spies end up being chased by the C.I.A., The K.G.B., and a group of anarchists after a botched mission invoked an unwritten "corpse for a corpse" pact.

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Zouzou
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Elliott Gould ... Alfred Chamberlain
Marcia Rodd ... Patsy Newquist
Vincent Gardenia ... Carol Newquist
Elizabeth Wilson ... Marge Newquist
Jon Korkes ... Kenny Newquist
John Randolph ... Mr. Chamberlain
Doris Roberts ... Mrs. Chamberlain
Lou Jacobi ... Judge Stern
Donald Sutherland ... Rev. Dupas
Alan Arkin ... Lieutenant Practice
Edit

Storyline

An idealistic girl, Patsy Newquist, saves a young photographer, Alfred Chamberlain, from a gang of hooligans. She falls for him, but he turns out to be a nihilist consumed with apathy. They hook up anyway, and she brings him home to meet her parents. All this happens against the background of random shootings that had just begun in NYC at the time the play the movie is based on was written. Her family had already lost a son, so they accept him. However, when the girl tries to change him and get him to find meaning in life, things go horribly wrong in a cruel twist of fate. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Funny in a new and frightening way !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 February 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jules Feiffer's Little Murders See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,340,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Alan Arkin had directed the play in its Off-Broadway production in 1969 so was one of the more natural choices to direct the film version. (The 1967 Broadway production was directed by George L. Sherman.) Other people involved in Arkin's 1969 production who subsequently worked on the film were Vincent Gardenia, Jon Korkes, and Elizabeth Wilson. See more »

Quotes

Patsy Newquist: Alfred, you're the first man I've ever gone to bed with where I didn't feel he was a lot more likely to get pregnant than I was!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Zodiac (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Skating In Central Park
Composed by John Lewis
Performed by The Modern Jazz Quartet
Through the courtesy of United Artists Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Twisted
17 June 2008 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

"Little Murders" is another of the obscure films I saw at base/post theaters during my military days. It was certainly better than average and many of the images (especially the wedding scene with Donald Sutherland) have stayed with me through the years.

While I found it less funny during a recent viewing than I remembered, the message was still disturbing and contemporary. It is certainly satire and black comedy, but you often lose yourself in the story. It is a very individual film, different people will laugh at different times and at different things. During a theater viewing it seemed to isolate audience members from each other.

Jules Feiffer's screenplay is about Alfred (Elliot Gould), a NYC photographer and self- described "apathist", sort of an unengaged existentialist. He is completely disillusioned and has deadened himself to the cries, smells, sights and pains of violent city living; in a Big Apple even more adversarial than that of "The Out-Of-Towners".

Alfred can't feel much anymore but he takes an interest in Patsy (Marcia Rodd), a controlling interior decorator optimist, who wants to change him. Patsy has been able to stay upbeat and involved despite daily encounters with muggers, snipers, obscene callers, and a family that leaves a lot to be desired.

The film seems to be saying that harsh urban life cuts its people off from gentler human emotion. As an interior decorator Patsy's life is largely defined by her ability to control her possessions and the attitudes of those around her.

Patsy's father, mother and younger brother are living a painful parody of "family life," and Alfred's weirdness eventually allows him to fit right in. The dinner scene where he first meets her family is one of the funniest in film history.

The film illustrates that neither apathy nor constructive engagement are successful mechanisms for coping with the modern world. It seems to be saying that the only rational response to living in an insane environment is to vigorously participate in the insanity.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 41 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed