7.5/10
20,543
128 user 69 critic

The Last Detail (1973)

Trailer
2:52 | Trailer
Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison, but decide to show him one last good time along the way.

Director:

Hal Ashby

Writers:

Robert Towne (screenplay), Darryl Ponicsan (novel)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Buddusky
Otis Young ... Mulhall
Randy Quaid ... Meadows
Clifton James ... M.A.A.
Carol Kane ... Young Whore
Michael Moriarty ... Marine O.D.
Luana Anders ... Donna
Kathleen Miller ... Annette
Nancy Allen ... Nancy
Gerry Salsberg Gerry Salsberg ... Henry
Don McGovern Don McGovern ... Bartender
Patricia Hamilton ... Madame (as Pat Hamilton)
Michael Chapman ... Taxi Driver
Jim Henshaw Jim Henshaw ... Sweek
Derek McGrath ... Nichiren Shoshu Member
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Storyline

Two bawdy, tough looking navy lifers - "Bad-Ass" Buddusky, and "Mule" Mulhall - are commissioned to escort a young pilferer named Meadows to the brig in Portsmouth. Meadows is not much of a thief. Indeed, in his late teens, he is not much of a man at all. His great crime was to try to steal forty dollars from the admiral's wife's pet charity. For this, he's been sentenced to eight years behind bars. At first, Buddusky and Mulhall view the journey as a paid vacation, but their holiday spirits are quickly depressed by the prisoner, who looks prepared to break into tears at any moment. And he has the lowest self-image imaginable. Buddusky gets it into his head to give Meadows a good time and teach him a bit about getting on in the world. Lesson one: Don't take every card life deals you. Next, he teaches Meadows to drink, and, as a coup de grace, finds a nice young whore to instruct him in lovemaking. Mule, who worries aloud about his own position with military authority, seems pleased ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

-#@!!* the Navy! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El último deber See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Nicholson, as SM1 Buddusky, says "Marines are really assholes, you know that? It takes a certain kind of sadistic temperament to be a Marine." In A Few Good Men (1992), Nicholson portrayed Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, USMC. See more »

Goofs

About 50 minutes into the movie, the trio are walking by Gate 4 at the train station. One of the Marines they are about to fight is walking ahead of them. Moments later, the same Marine and several others are walking behind them. See more »

Quotes

Marine: I call Karate.
Mulhall: And I call you a motherfucker!
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Please Come Back
by Ron Nagle (as Ron Nagel)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Well Acted, Sober Film About Unpleasant Responsibilities
7 June 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Don't let the fact that the DVD cover makes this movie look like gay porn keep you from seeing it.

Director Hal Ashby made a string of unfussy but very, very good films throughout the 1970s, and "The Last Detail" is one them. The story doesn't sound like much: two Navy officers are assigned to escort a third to the prison where he will be serving time. Along the way, the requisite male bonding ensues, and the older, jaded officer (Jack Nicholson) has a chance to reflect upon his own fortune and misfortune and be a sort of father figure, for better or worse, to his young and troubled charge (played extremely well by Randy Quaid).

Like all of Ashby's films, "The Last Detail" challenges things like duty and institutional authority, which made Ashby one of the most vocal of the anti-establishment directors from a volatile period of American history. But also like all of his films, it poses challenges in a low-key, non-confrontational way, without sacrificing its bite.

Well done.

Grade: A


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