The Rockford Files (TV Series 1974–1980) Poster

(1974–1980)

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Maybe the best detective character ever conceived
rulerattray6 September 2001
What the hell kind of a detective is this? The guy's not strong jawed, self-righteous and brave, and he seldom even carries a gun, much less shoots anyone. Since he consistently gets stiffed by his clients, he has to live hand to mouth in a cheesy trailer in a parking lot. (The trailer, incidently, is only crummy on the outside. Inside, it's comfortable, well furnished and clean, much like Rockford's character.)

Even the cops in this excellent series are presented as human, not as cardboard heroes. They've got the same pecking order problems at work that most of us have. In fact, ALL of the characters in this series seem to have some depth.

One of the most amazing things about the show's plots is that they hardly ever had to be resolved by gunfire because the writers were too lazy to come up with anything else.

Jim Garner's charm was a big part of the show's success, but it was the superb writing that made "The Rockford Files" so consistently entertaining. Many of the stories would have made first rate movies, particularly some of the two parters.

I'll never forget Angel begging Rockford for help after getting himself thoroughly enmeshed with the mob through his own stupidity and greed. Rockford chews him out, explains exactly why he ought to let him go right down the drain, and challenges him to come up with one good reason he should help him.

"Because you're my friend," Angel says, leaving Rockford without a comeback.

A friend like that, I could use.
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Reality Private Investigating
sitdownbike28 January 2003
This show destroyed the Private Detective show formula.

At the time, most TV PI's had cutie pie secretaries (Mannix' secretary Gail and Barnaby Jones' ex Miss America Lee Meriweather in particular), Jim Rockford had an answering machine...

All TV PI's had nice offices with dark wood paneling, Rockford's office was the living room of his decaying mobile home parked in the lot outside a diner...

It took at least 3 guys fighting dirty to subdue the average TV PI, even short, fat, aging Cannon. Jimmy was always the one getting his head handed to him unless he figured a way to sucker punch his opponent...

At the climax, other TV PI's would pull their guns, shoot it out with the baddies and save the day. Rockford's gun, often as not was still at home in his cookie jar...

TV PI's always had a friend on the police force who would gladly do favors, looking up DMV records, etc. Rockford's friend on the force was always getting in trouble for even knowing Rockford. The Captains & Lieutenants on the force universally viewed Jim as low life scum & not worth the time of day...

The average detective would go about his business, assembling clues to solve this weeks mystery. That is the way it was with Rockford except that he was always dealing with hustlers, con men, ex-convicts and the occasional ex-girlfriends, every one of whose purpose in life seemed to be the bedevilment and aggravation of Jim Rockford. Not to mention the recurring role of Jim's dad Rocky (deftly played by that Trojan actor, Noah Beery) who was always after Jim to give up PIing and do something "respectable" like truck driving.

When this show appeared on TV, every other PI looked dull and one by one they disappeared as they lost ground in the ratings.

This is also the show that put Steven J Cannell on the map. Nothing that he ever did subsequently equaled this. In fact most of it was crappy formula detective shows.

The Rockford Files is the REAL DEAL!

Simon Sez, CHECK IT OUT!
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One of the greatest
blanche-210 December 2005
As essayed by James Garner, Jim Rockford is one of the best characters in TV history - in, I might add, one of the best series. The Rockford Files never ceased to be entertaining during its '70s run and remains so in syndication. There's something comfortable about the show, probably because of the well-drawn characters that we feel we know.

If we didn't love Rockford so much, I guess we'd call him a loser. But we love him too much and are pulling for him too much to ever call him a loser. He never has any money. He lives in a dilapidated trailer on the beach. He's not married. He was in prison, though he didn't commit the crime and was pardoned. Helluva way to treat one of our ex-servicemen (Korea). His father, Rocky, was a truck driver and wants his boy Jimmy to take it up. It's steady, and he might get beat up less.

Jimmy, however, would rather be a private investigator. In order to do this, he occasionally runs afoul of police lieutenant Chapman and gets his buddy Dennis in trouble for using the power of the police to do him a favor. He also sometimes winds up embroiled with his con friend and former cellmate, Angel Martin, always in trouble and always looking for the main chance. And if attractive attorney Beth Davenport isn't hitting him up for pro bono help, he needs her to bail him out of jail.

It all sounds a little sad but it's endlessly fun, with some really classic episodes and great dialogue. This is also the series that launched Tom Selleck. In two episodes, he played perfect detective Lance White, a man who, unlike Rockford, couldn't take a wrong step and is beloved by every human being with whom he came in contact. The juxtaposition between Rockford and White is hilarious.

As Rockford, Garner is perfect, and the cast uniformly excellent, particularly Noah Berry, Jr. as his dad. If the clothes and the cars are dated, the acting, the relationships, and the story lines are not. The Rockford Files is one of the classics.
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Classic 70s television
Snatchy11 March 2001
I only qualify this show's classic status in reference to the 70s because the fashion & overall style of the show is sooooooo 70s. I was a young kid in the mid-to-late 70s (when this show was on the air) and watching it is always good for a flashback or two. It's a reminder that although 70s fashion has made a big comeback, they still managed to filter out some of the really tacky stuff (as cool as Rockford was, I doubt his plaid jackets will ever come back in style).

The Rockford Files is about Jim Rockford, a single, 40-something Private Investigator who lives in a rundown trailer house in sunny Southern California (Malibu, to be precise), drives a gold Pontiac Firebird, and has a dad he simply calls "Rocky". Rockford served in Korea (same as the real-life Garner) and did time in prison for a crime he didn't commit, although he was later pardened. Despite being sharp as a tack and tough on his feet, Rockford is forever getting himself entangled with con men, mobsters, and non-paying clients that keep him from the getting any respect.

Other recurring characters on the show include police Sgt. Dennis Becker (Rockford's close friend and seemingly the only member of the LAPD who doesn't hate his guts), Angel Martin (Rockford's former cellmate in prison & constant source of aggravation), and Beth Davenport (his attorney who frequently has to show up and bail Rockford out of jail).

The typical episode finds Rockford taking on a seemingly simple case that turns into something much bigger, or stumbling onto an unrelated mess while in the course of his regular investigations. Sometimes trouble seeks Rockford in the form of ex-cons he associated with in prison or as a PI, and as you can guess, it's never boring. Rockford routinely gets in over his head and some of his escapes tended to be a bit too Houdini-like, but James Garner's laid-back, easy charm always made sure you kept rooting for him.

Highly recommended!
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Great Characters
subcityii20 April 2002
Although this series may look like just another private eye series from the 1970's, it is so much more. The show has great one liners, interesting cases, maybe one or two too many car chases, but above all, the show has some great characters. Every episode has interesting, unusual, complex characters running through it. Jim Rockford himself is a private detective but also a former con man and he is not above pretending to be another person or pulling a con in order to help solve his cases. The writing and acting were always top notch and it is no wonder that alumni from this show went on to do such projects as "Magnum, P.I.", "Wiseguy," and "The Sopranos." Enjoy, you will laugh, you will be surprised and you will be impressed.
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The theme song is even played at hockey games....
gibbog11 May 2004
I remember my father watching "The Rockford Files" when it first came on the air, I was too young to remember it then, but was able to catch it on re-runs on A&E a few years back, and it is currently shown on two channels here in Canada. James Garner is the easy-going, laid back Jim Rockford. He has a big heart, yet always seems to come out on the short end of the stick. Garner does an excellent job as Rockford, and while I haven't seen much of his other work, he seems to play the same character. Some great supporting actors as well. Noah Beery as the worried father Rocky, Joe Santos as his put-upon cop buddy Dennis. One of my all-time favorite characters has to be Angel Martin, played perfectly by Stewart Margolin, the con "buddy" of Jim's. Very clever opening to each show, with the answering machine message. Obviously dated by the styles and settings, but still an excellent series that stands up well today. I'd give the series as a whole a solid 5 out of 5 stars.
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A Classic Detective Show
Sargebri13 March 2003
This was probably the greatest part James Garner ever played. He was essentially playing himself, an easy going guy caught in oddball situations mainly brought on by loony clients or by his former ex-con friends. The character of Jim Rockford was not unlike his other defining role of Bret Maverick. Also, the supporting cast was great as well. Noah Beery Jr. was perfect as Rocky, Jim's father, who was always trying to get his "Sonny" to give up the detective business and join him in the trucking business. Joe Santos was great as Dennis, Jim's main contact on the LAPD who reluctantly helped Jim by giving him information on various cases. Gretchen Corbett was great in her role as his girlfriend/lawyer Beth Davenport who would always be there to get him out of a jam. But, perhaps the most memorable character was Angel, played by Stuart Margolin. Angel was, and still is, the biggest weasel in television history. He would often be responsible for getting Jim into the odd predicaments he would get into.

Also of note, this was the first hit from the mind of Stephen J. Cannell after years of writing for Adam-12. Cannell is probably one of the greatest writers in television history and this is where it all began.
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Very, very, very good television
Gregster-528 July 2001
I recall seeing one of the first episodes when it aired in October '74, and not being that impressed. In the end, I was hooked on this gentle but deceptively captivating series. It sums up what is best about episodic television when a good cast, writers and production crew gets together. Garner is perfect for the role doing his "everyman" schtick. His comedic ability is also put to very good use (the later episodes with "Lance White" - Tom Selleck - are just soo funny, as Garner is always left eating dust!). The supporting roles are also extremely well filled. Simply extremely good television that everyone involved can feel proud of.
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9/10
One of the better shows of all time
mm-3924 May 2003
I grew up watching this show, and it's still on cable. I can watch it over and over and still be entertained. Rockford has bad luck, gets hurt, and Chapman at the police office hates him. Somehow, through cons, dirty tricks, smarts, and very slick moves James finds a way to survive. The humor in this show is great. Like the time he soaps the bathroom floor. 10/10
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good private eye tales
helpless_dancer10 October 1999
I thought this was one of the better private dick programs. Rockford was a realistic guy, making statements like: "I'm not going in there, I could get KILLED!" Wise guys like Bogart would have bravely gone in and cleaned house, and looked corny doing it. Issac Hayes wasn't listed as a player, but was on enough to have been - if memory serves he did become a regular for awhile. Hayes added a nice touch to the show with his tough image and his reference to Rockford as "Rockfish", which drove Rockford nuts. Don't miss Stuart Margolin as the sleazy "Angel", one of his better parts.
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10/10
Classic Television
LuckyGoldStar20 February 2008
The Rockford Files is one of my if not my most favourite TV programme. I have the first five seasons on DVD and plan to get season six and the TV Movies of the 1990s when they come out on DVD. The show is about Jim Rockford, a Private Investigator. He isn't like the average TV PI's he doesn't have a secretary or a huge well furnished office and he can't beat up 5 people at the same time. What he has is an answering machine (which has a different message on it at the start of every episode),a desk inside his trailer on the beach and the majority of the time at the most it would only take 2 people to beat him up, although he can be tough when he wants to be. He's just a normal person trying to make a living and would probably rather go fishing instead of take the more dangerous cases. The acting on every episode by the star James Garner and the main supporting actors (Who apart for Gretchen Corbett all either won or were nominated for Emmy's) such as Joe Santos, Gretchen Corbett, Noah Beery Jr and Stuart Margolin is excellent. Jim Rockford has to be one of the coolest characters ever, and it just goes to show how cool good old Jimmy Garner is as well. He's able to make a character like Jim, Who is an ex con, sometimes refuses cases & doesn't always let his clients down gently about it, gets beaten up quite a bit & who was in prison, extremely cool. I would recommend this to everyone who likes good old fashioned action and comedy.
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10/10
The most loved Private Eye
jmcar880200023 March 2007
Jim Rockford aka James Garner, the 1 main reason that I can think of that made this show outclass any others, also would be the sincerity of the actors in their roles, and most undoubtedly off screen. From Noah Berry Jr(Dad), to Stuart Margolin(Angel), and Joe Santos(Dennis Becker), and lets not forget our favorite character of all James Luisi(Lt.Chapman), with this type of cast, how can you go wrong! Jimmy is the kind of guy that anyone would want for a friend, someone who goes beyond the boundaries of friendship, he sees each person independently, each with their own flaws and strengths, the same way he sees himself, thus having the ability to laugh at himself, it is these traits that Mr Garner brought to the role, I'm afraid being yourself is the one thing they cannot teach you in acting school. Bravo to James Garner and to the entire ensemble of actors, writers and directors, for giving us some of the most memorable characters we will ever have the chance of witnessing on TV ever again, because they sure don't make them like that anymore!
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10/10
Perfect Series Television
bkoganbing12 July 2008
I'm of the opinion that The Rockford Files did nothing less than save James Garner's career. I yield to no one in my admiration for this man as an actor. I read somewhere that it was said of him he makes every thing he's in just a little bit better by being there.

But it was clear that his movie career at the time he was offered The Rockford Files was waning, he was not getting the good parts he once had on the big screen. What to do, but go back to television where Maverick had made him a big star.

Though Garner's character and personality were certainly an integral part of the show, what I think set The Rockford Files apart was the terrific writing of each and every episode and the creation of some indelible characters. The best of course was Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin who was con man. Margolin did four or five episodes a year with The Rockford Files and he pulled Garner into one of his crazy schemes in every episode and Garner had to be resourceful to get them out.

Garner was an ex-convict who apparently took a fall for some other people. His prison experience certainly toughened him and he went into the private detective business when paroled.

Naturally the LAPD as do other police agencies don't like private eyes as a general rule and ex-con PIs really gets their collective backs up. Jim Rockford had a running battle with Lieutenant Chapman played beautifully by James Luisi who was never convinced Garner was on the up and up. Rockford had a good friend in Joe Santos as Sergeant later Lieutenant Dennis Becker who ran interference for him.

He also had the support of his dad, Noah Beery, Jr. who was a retired truck driver and who occasionally got roped into some of Garner's cases as well. And he had a pretty lady lawyer Gretchen Corbett and with his relations with the cops, Garner had to have her on speed dial.

Gretchen Corbett got a great career role in Beth Davenport. I'm not sure why she's not mentioned more as a feminist icon, a successful female professional if there ever was one on television.

And other semi-recurring characters were folks like Isaac Hayes as Gandolf Finch another prison buddy, a man of few words and a demeanor that made Mr. T look like a friendly tour guide. Tom Selleck was here also as another private eye, Lance White, who kept getting credit for some of the grunt work Garner put in. This part led him to his own television series Magnum which in fact was patterned a lot on The Rockford Files. The show was rich with characters.

The Rockford Files to me is perfect series television, entertaining without condescension to the lowest common denominator. After physical problems forced the cancellation, James Garner came back in the nineties to do several Rockford television films. They were good, but face it Garner was getting old and tending to the gut a bit more.

With his recent stroke and the fact he's now 80 years old, I don't think another Rockford Files is in the cards. I wish it weren't so
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10/10
One of my all time favorite shows
timothy-792 March 2007
This was really a great TV show. Too bad it didn't run a bit longer- I believe I've read that there were problems between James Garner and the producers that caused it to be canceled before it's time. I can't put my finger on just what it is that makes this show stand out from other shows. I just always find myself having fun watching pretty much any of the episodes. Years after this show went off the air they started making Rockford File TV movies, starting in around 1994. Oddly enough working as a union carpenter I found myself working on building the now bigger and fancier trailer for the first of those TV movies. We were running right up to the wire on completing the set, to the point that they had to begin filming while we were still working on the inside of the trailer. Right next to where I was working were James Garner, Joe Santos and Stuart Margolin, hanging out and chatting while sitting on the couch. They shot a scene with Garner yelling out the door to Margolin, who was about to run off with Rockford's car. I have to say it was a bit surreal. After years of watching Rockford Files during it's original run and then later in syndication, there I found myself right in the middle of the action.

Anyway I urge anyone who isn't familiar with this show and so skips over it when channel surfing to give it a shot. It's really a classic show, and for good reason.
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9/10
At The Tone, Leave Your Name & Message
DKosty12314 January 2007
This series brought to full maturity the development of James Garner in television characters. First there was Garner's Maverick days when he was one of a group of tin horned gamblers who were living by their wits & conning people. It is a classic Western series which introduced Garner to fame.

Garner then started getting movies roles like The Great Escape where he is a con man again, & romantic comedies with Doris Day. While some of his movie roles were good, he never quite became a major movie star. One of his lesser known roles, The Wheeler Dealers is an interesting film to see as he is the star role in it & the premise is a stock broker.

Jim then came back to TV with Nichols (also know as The James Garner Show). This is the first show with Cherokee Productions where Jim was well cast as a turn of the century western cowboy who didn't like violence. Sadly, this series failed in spite of introducing Margot Kidder to Americans, folks just weren't ready for Garner with little action & a bad NBC time slot.

Then, came Rockford, which went deeper into all the characters Garner had developed & became a smash. This shows main carry over from Nichols is Angel (Stuart Margolin) who was a main stay in both shows. Rockford added Noah Berry & a lot of good actors. It had sharp unpredictable scripts. It also introduced special effects wizard Steven J Cannell & established production company Glen A Larsen to putting it together.

The marriage was made in heaven. The combination of these skyrocketed into a great series in which the main character seems to be stuck getting nowhere, but we love them so much we feel for them. In the end, Rockford still has the tin horn of Maverick, the con man from his other roles, the romance from his leading man movie days, & his spirit from Nichols, all developed into the essential formula.

Some of the scripts do show some small holes, but with a wink & a grin, Jim Garner pulls it off smoothly. The character make up & entertainment are so good, you don't care. Just call & leave the message, Jim will get back with you.
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10/10
Full of great character actors from that era
Ollyda10 December 2006
A cable channel in England is currently showing the whole of the Rockford Files in sequence on week days (in the middle of series 3 at the moment). As an only slightly reluctant house husband and baby changer in the mornings over the last few months my one luxury has been to see almost all the episodes to date back to back. I enjoyed Rockford as a teenager when it was first broadcast in the late 70's and many episodes again on late night TV in the mid 80's. Seeing them so close together now I am really astonished at their enduring quality. They have not dated at all unlike series like Ironside, Kojak and Starsky and Hutch. They are beautifully shot and the editing and music enhance even the most routine episode. They look so fresh in fact that it is hard to believe that you are watching actors many of whom have long since passed away. One of Rockford's achievements, I think, is that countless remarkable and familiar character actors of the period are captured in their prime. I believe that The Rockford Files will only be held in higher and higher regard in the future.
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The Best of the 1970s Detective Shows
mrb198024 April 2008
American television audiences were very undemanding in the 1970s, so we ended up with innumerable average-to-bad detective shows. All of these were pretty much variations on the same whodunit theme, but networks tried (generally unsuccessfully) to liven things up by giving their characters "unique" personal qualities. Thus, we were barraged with endless variations on the "unique detective": a fat, grumpy detective (Cannon), a wise old detective (Barnaby Jones), a blind detective (Longstreet), an ethnic, bald detective who liked candy (Kojak), a mumbling, slouching detective in an old overcoat (Columbo), a blue-collar detective with a cute pet bird (Baretta), a WASP-ish detective (Mannix), husband-and-wife detectives (McMillan and Wife), a young guy-old guy detective team (The Streets of San Francisco, Switch), a flashy Las Vegas detective (Vega$), a cowboy detective in New York (McCloud), a buddy detective team with a fast red car (Starsky and Hutch), and so on.

Most of these series were mediocre to poor as entertainment, primarily because they were so ridiculously unrealistic. "Starsky and Hutch" and "Baretta" were probably the worst, which means they were REALLY bad. One series was unpretentious and had an established star, however. Of course, I'm talking about James Garner in "The Rockford Files", which ran from 1974 to 1980. Garner's tremendous easygoing appeal carried the show without gimmickry, and the scripts were generally excellent. Sure, there were car chases and fights, but "The Rockford Files" was easy to take, and was without the contrived ridiculousness of the others. Noah Beery, Jr., an established character actor in his own right, contributed to the show's charm.

I miss "The Rockford Files" quite a bit. The show didn't take itself too seriously and James Garner was fun to watch. You can keep all the other detective shows of the 1970s, but let me have this one and its memories.
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10/10
Among the best the '70s had to offer
severe_td28 December 2008
"Rockford" showed up on the small screen nearly 35 years ago. That's a long time, and the world has changed a lot since then. This makes it even more satisfying to see how well the show has held up over the years. While the cars, hairstyles, and clothing are noticeably dated, the endearing characters, intelligent writing, and clever story lines aren't.

Jim Rockford is an atypical TV hero, especially for the 1970s. He is often cranky and impatient, and he usually wants nothing to do with a case unless it's going to put his usual $200/day plus expenses in his pocket. However, after being talked into reluctant participation into many of his capers, Rockford displays an unusual sense of morality. Once he finds someone getting the short end of the stick, he can't turn his back on them until he puts things right -- even at his own life's peril.

The supporting cast really makes this show. All have a complex, sometimes unexplained relationship with Rockford that is often unconventional. Angel Martin is an extremely shady ex-con who constantly lies to Rockford and gets him into trouble, yet the viewer comes to eventually understand their strange friendship, as Jim begrudgingly takes the good with the bad. Beth Davenport's relationship with Rockford is never clarified. It's implied they had or have some sort of romantic involvement, but the relationship seems open, and at times, just a friendship. However, the viewer gets the sense that the two care about one another very much, and the strong, educated Ms. Davenport is a refreshing departure from damsel-in-distress characters of the time. Sgt. Dennis Becker is Jim's friend, but he isn't shy to share his suspicions that Rockford is often using him for information and police protection, nor is he reluctant to complain that Jim's ever-presence is preventing his advancement within the LAPD. Even Rockford's own father has an unconventional relationship with him, as Jim refers to him as "Rocky" and treats him as more of a best friend than a father. Rocky is more trusting and happy-go-lucky than his cranky, cynical son, but the two of them have an excellent chemistry that is even touching at times. It helped that Noah Beery and James Garner had a physical resemblance, as well.

The show had a few mainstays that were present in nearly every episode. It always had its share of humor, though often subtle. There were always a few exciting car chase scenes, however improbable that they could take place on L.A. streets without ever running into traffic. Someone always seemed to find a way to break into Rockford's trailer and either tear the place up, attack him, or both. Apparently he never learned his lesson about investing in some better locks. Regardless of these patterns, however, the show remained fresh and interesting throughout its entire run, especially with the creative writers they were fortunate enough to employ.

The Rockford Files was one of the most expensive shows to produce at the time, given its extensive use of on-location shooting throughout Los Angeles and its surrounding cities. While I'm sure this made things tougher on the staff, it especially enhances the show now, as one now has an excellent look at 1970s Los Angeles. It's especially invigorating for me to see this, as memories of my childhood there come rushing back with every scene change.

I did not start watching this series until 2007. It has been a pleasant surprise, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for some great TV from 3 decades ago.
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8/10
The best ever television private-detective series American or otherwise
mark-rojinsky17 September 2013
The Rockford Files [1974-1980] was the best ever television private-detective series: American or otherwise. It captured the zeitgeist of LA in the mid-'70s perfectly and rationally. James Garner is effortlessly competent and charming - he is so rational and professionally excellent! I enjoyed his role as Maverick as well. Each episode had a zen-like feel and the very '70s urban aesthetics of LA, Malibu and Beverley Hills are marvellously conjured up. The theme tune by Mike Post is stylish and memorable and the unpredictable and sometimes weird plot-lines are highly entertaining and extremely well-written. It shows just how original and manifold '70s television could be.
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One of television's last heroes!
tellafriend11 January 2004
The Rockford Files was so heavy an influence on me I honestly think I could have been a great detective (if I wasn't such a chicken)! You don't realize how much you pick up from a TV show though until years later when your spouse asks why you do a particular thing you do and when you stop to think about it you realize - that's totally a Jim Rockford-ism! And I can say that about many things in my life today thanks to the show.

What really set the show apart from others though was Jim's artful use of street smarts and creativity everytime he got himself out of a jam. Sure, anyone could pull a gun and be done with it - hadn't that been done a thousand times already? Jim used his head. His wits and those of us who were paying attention back then carry that lesson with us today.

I think there's a piece of Jim Rockford in all of us.
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If Only...
KingCoody11 June 2004
The Rockford Files is still a superior show thanks to the quality of its acting,writing,and use of So.California as a character. I often wondered what would've happened If Rockford,Beth and Angel had won a vacation to Miami...and meet Crockett and Tubbs of Miami Vice. After some mean one liners about the two Ken as Action Figures' wardrobe and tactics I see Jim solving the case, being asked respectfully by the Lt. to leave town not out of anger but so his units morale won't collapse. And Jim and Beth catch the flight out of town with two suitcases full of cash from the outwitted drugdealers, while Angel is catching the Greyhound after receiving a severe stomping from the enraged and jealous Crockett and Tubbs who didn't get to kill anyone this episode.
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10/10
Rockford Files on Hallmark
cjbarrett25 August 2017
I love the Rockford Files. Love the actor James Garner. Great casting, especially in the early episodes. Jill Clayburgh, Joseph Cotten, Suzanne Somers, Sharon Gless, James Cromwell...etc. The Hallmark channel is now replaying the show. Sadly they're butchering up the episodes by cutting out, my best guess, 6-8 minutes per episode. The already sketchy writing is rendered nonsensical. Shame on Hallmark. That said, the draw was always the great James Garner. And still is.
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terrific show
stones7811 August 2010
Everything about the Rockford Files is done fairly well, especially James Garner's performance and laid back charisma he presents in Jim Rockford, a somewhat struggling private investigator living in a trailer in Paradise Cove. He also happens to be an ex con, but was released from prison on a pardon. The writing is also terrific, and many of the episodes revolve around murders, robberies, kidnappings, etc. Many colorful characters include Sgt. Becker, Angel, and Rocky Rockford(Jim's dad), and they all make this show click, and there's hardly any boring moments, except for maybe a few too many car chases. Even the theme song was a minor radio hit in 1975. What impresses me, other than the writing, is many great outdoor shots in different parts of California, and yet I heard the show became too expensive to keep producing because of the cost of filming in these locations all over the state. I know that Garner had major knee problems too.

As I said earlier, the glue to this show is Garner's portrayal of Rockford, especially because he doesn't overact or make him larger than life, rather underplays the character to make him more human, unlike other characters in similar shows.
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10/10
Classic 70s Show
thechickinthemiddle5 August 2009
Although Jim Rockford may represent the quintessential private eye (poor, heavily in debt, prone to get in car chases), he was a breath of fresh air considering the TV detectives who came before him (Cannon, McCloud, Barnaby Jones) that sported a hell of an office. Bucking the trend of well-dressed, well-off detectives, "The Rockford Files" presented the gritty, not-so-glamorous life and times of Jim Rockford, a pardoned ex-San Quentin inmate living in a dilapidated trailer on the beach.

James Garner is excellent as Rockford, making the character real and honest but also likable and charismatic. Supporting cast Noah Beery, Jr., Stuart Margolin, Joe Santos, and Gretchen Corbett are also great as Rockford's father Rocky, con artist Angel Martin, police station ally Dennis Becker, and on again-off again attorney girlfriend Beth Davenport, respectively.

The guest stars also pack a punch, like Lindsay Wagner (in the pilot), Alex Rocco, Abe Vigoda, Lauren Bacall, the late Isaac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, future film director Dennis Dugan (as detective Richie Brockelman) and future "Magnum, P.I." stars Tom Selleck, Larry Manetti, and Roger E. Mosley (Selleck as the anti-Rockford, Lance White).

The writing is realistic and not too dated by today's standards (although in one early episode, Jimmy asks a guy for a quarter to use a pay toilet!), and is as enjoyable as when it was first aired. Wholeheartedly recommended!
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9/10
Rockford rocked
winstonfg25 January 2008
Probably the 2nd best detective show of the 70s - I'd put it just marginally behind Starsky and Hutch. He was like a down-market Philip Marlowe; a crabby cynic with a heart of gold.

Perhaps not surprising, when he was surrounded by the likes of Angel, Rocky and Dennis who were either stiffing him out of his hard-earned cash, telling him what a mess he'd made of his life or just telling him to get lost. It certainly broke the mould of detectives-with-all-the answers shows; and Gretchen Corbett, who played Beth Davenport, his long-suffering friend and attorney, was one of my dream women back then (Funny, but I don't remember seeing her in anything else).

I think it maybe went on a season or two too long, but nothing's perfect.
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