21 user 12 critic

Slither (1973)

A car thief gets out on parole from a penitentiary and intends to go straight. Nonetheless, he ends up in a wild goose chase for stolen cash, together with a small-time bandleader and his wife, and a friendly free-spirited woman.


Howard Zieff


W.D. Richter
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Dick Kanipsia
Peter Boyle ... Barry Fenaka
Sally Kellerman ... Kitty Kopetzky
Louise Lasser ... Mary Fenaka
Allen Garfield ... Vincent J. Palmer
Richard B. Shull ... Harry Moss
Alex Rocco ... Man with Ice Cream
Seamon Glass Seamon Glass ... Farmer in Truck
Wayne Storm Wayne Storm ... Highway Patrolman
Diana Darrin ... Band Singer
Stuart Nisbet ... Buddy
Edwina Gough Edwina Gough ... Bingo Player
Al Dunlap Al Dunlap ... Man in Men's Room
James Joseph James Joseph ... Short Order Cook
Virginia Sale ... Bingo Caller


While searching for a small fortune of embezzled money, an ex-con, a small-time bandleader, his doting wife, and a kooky drifter find themselves being followed. Their chase takes them to trailer camps, bingo halls, laundromats, and ultimately, a showdown with a group of unconventional bad guys.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Shoot-out in a Vegetable Market. A Riot in the Bingo Game. Dynamite in the Potato Cellar. Are You Sure Bonnie and Clyde Started This Way? See more »


Comedy | Thriller | Crime


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


When James Caan walks by a paperback spinner rack, a paperback title "Ruined Virgin" can be seen. It appears that this is not a real book. This book has only been seen in the movie "The Swingers" with Ann Margaret. There is a scene where Ann Margaret dances with the book in hand and you can see the cover. Margaret also reads the cover aloud. It appears that the book was a prop in the movie from 1967 and later reused for Slither in 1973. See more »


During the period the film was set, the USA was changing its road marking from white to yellow. In various shots on country roads, you can make out the same section of road having white center stripes one minute and yellow the next. It is possible that the road had its lines repainted during the filming. See more »


Barry Fenaka: They say no man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.
See more »


Everything I Have Is Yours
by Harold Adamson & Burton Lane
See more »

User Reviews

An off-beat comedic classic rarely seen
16 July 2000 | by otto.mullerSee all my reviews

"Slither" is a perfect, subversive, character-driven comedy that in its own way belongs in the same category as "Pocket Money." Both are sly, low-key studies of American losers, with McGuffins in both films merely serving as excuses for the characters to bump up against each other and to wrestle with their sweet, ever-lasting ineptitude. Not the least of "Slithers"'s triumphs is its perfect cast. Could any film fan in his right mind have imagined James Caan, Peter Boyle, Sally Kellerman, Allen Garfield, Richard B. Schull, and Alex Rocco (the latter was "Moe Green" in "The Godfather") in the same movie? Caan is wonderful as a laconic, recently released con whose brief visit with an old friend turns into a comedic nightmare involving murder, the hunt for a bag of money, and continuing sinister goings-on. The plot, which isn't meant to be taken seriously, never gets in the way of the picture's real interest: examining the human off-kilteredness that lies just inches below the surface of American life. Boyle steals the film as a classic American type, the small-town third-rate entertainer who performs masterfully at Kiwanis Club dances and similar venues. His patented shtick while emceeing an event is so breathtakingly awful, you either want to condole with him or grab a barf bag. Kellerman is equally good as every man's worst nightmare, a nut case who is likely to remind many males in the audience of a certain former girlfriend known briefly. To Caan's--and our--astonishment, she goes from intriguingly sexy to nutty to dangerously nutty in all of 15 minutes of screen time; nor can he get rid of her once he's bedded her. Louise Lasser's role is small and offers her less opportunity to shine, but she's perfect as Boyle's loyal, compliant wife who never seems to know that she's married to a squirm-inducing jerk. Script and direction mesh perfectly, and Caan is terrific as an unflappable stoic who seems to have wandered into the wrong film by mistake and finds himself confronted with one outrageous situation after another. It feels cathartic when he finally lets go and belts Kellerman towards the end of the movie. An A+ for this exceptional off-beat "little" film that one day may be rediscovered and hailed as a classic of its kind.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

7 March 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slither See more »

Filming Locations:

Pismo Beach, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed