6.4/10
2,330
40 user 30 critic

The Laughing Policeman (1973)

In San Francisco, California, one victim in a mass murder is a police detective. His partner and a new partner investigate in the city's seamy side.

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writers:

Thomas Rickman (screenplay), Per Wahlöö (novel) (as Per Wahlhoo) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Matthau ... Jake Martin
Bruce Dern ... Larsen
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Larrimore (as Lou Gossett)
Albert Paulsen ... Camerero
Anthony Zerbe ... Steiner
Val Avery ... Pappas
Cathy Lee Crosby ... Kay
Mario Gallo ... Bobby Mow
Joanna Cassidy ... Monica
Shirley Ballard Shirley Ballard ... Grace
William Hansen William Hansen ... Schwermer
Don Borisenko Don Borisenko ... Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
Paul Koslo ... Haygood
Louis Guss Louis Guss ... Gus Niles
Frances Lee McCain ... Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
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Storyline

A San Francisco city bus, with eight passengers and the driver, pulls out of a downtown bus station and moves through the city stopping once for a new passenger. The passenger, unseen above the chest, walks to the back of the bus pulls the pieces of a sub-machine gun from a tote bag, assembles them, and massacres the eight passenger and the driver. The bus crashes and the killer walks away. Driving onto the scene are homicide detectives Jake Martin (Walter Matthau), Leo Larsen (Bruce Dern) and James Larrinore (Lou Gosset). As they search the bus they find one of the bodies is that of Dave Evans (Anthony Costello), Martin's police partner. It is the search for the murderer and the reason for Evans' presence on the bus that pairs detective Martin and Larsen together. With the help of Evan's girlfriend Kay Butler (Cathy Lee Crosby), they determine that Evans was following leads to close a murder case which Martin, sixteen years on the force, was unable to solve two years previous. Thed ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Eight people know who the killer is - and they're all dead! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original screenplay, Martin was supposed to laugh at the end, true to the film's title. This idea was abandoned, either by Director Stuart Rosenberg or Walter Matthau during shooting. See more »

Goofs

The Anthony Zerbe character is Lieutenant "Styner" according to his desk nameplate, but "Steiner" in the closing credits. See more »

Quotes

Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Who's the short guy?
Sgt. Jake Martin SFPD: His lawyer.
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Oh, Jake, short lawyers - they worry me. Probably got enough juice to get a Sodomy beef reduced to Following Too Close.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Paul Koslo on 'The Laughing Policeman' (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't We Got Fun
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan and Gus Kahn
Sung by the street performers
See more »

User Reviews

From the golden age of urban American film
23 June 2002 | by harry-150See all my reviews

From a period before marketing departments and focus groups took over the movie industry and began pumping out formulaic happy-ended regurgitated baby food, The Laughing Policeman offers gritty urban drama, acted by the great character actors of the day, actors that filled out such classics as The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon...

It's shortcomings are there, to be sure, but as a stylistic gem - as a sample of the type of movies they just don't or can't make anymore, it's worth watching. Matthau is as angry and as serious as you've ever seen him - a performance sterner that even the MTA traffic official in The Taking of Pelham 123.

There is no formula here - no overbearing Sargent hanging over the detectives, no goofing off in the office downtown to lighten things up. No romantic interest or hot sex scene crammed in between bullets.This is reality, harsh and complicated - if you can handle it, that is.


24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 1974 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

An Investigation of a Murder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,280,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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