20 user 35 critic

Busting (1974)

Defying orders to lay-off the case, two Los Angeles vice-squad cops go after a local mobster and use unorthodox methods to achieve results.


Peter Hyams


Peter Hyams




Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould ... Vice Detective Michael Keneely
Robert Blake ... Vice Detective Patrick Farrel
Allen Garfield ... Carl Rizzo
Antonio Fargas ... Stephen
Michael Lerner ... Marvin
Sid Haig ... Rizzo's Bouncer
Ivor Francis ... Judge Fred R. Simpson
William Sylvester ... Mr. Weldman
Logan Ramsey ... Dr. Berman
Richard X. Slattery ... Desk Sergeant
Margo Winkler ... Mrs. Rizzo
John Lawrence John Lawrence ... Sergeant Kenefick
Frank Farmer ... Rizzo's Connection
Cornelia Sharpe ... Jackie Faraday
Erin O'Reilly ... Doris


LA cops Gould and Blake get in over their heads when they don't heed orders from above and go after a big crime boss. While higher ups in the police department want the cop duo to just focus on nabbing petty criminals, the team does so while still going after LA kingpin Rizzo. Various fist fights, chases, shootouts and other carnage occur as the two cops go after Rizzo's crime syndicate. Written by Patrick Knightly <pjknight@polsci.umass.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What this film exposes about undercover vice cops can't be seen on your television set. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Ron Leibman was originally considered to play Detective Patrick Farrel. See more »


Headlamps on the ambulance driven by the villains during the ambulance chase vary from damaged to undamaged. See more »


Huge Black Man: [while beating Keneely with brass knuckles] Hello, Keneely. You know what, Keneely? I gotta message for you, from my friend. He says: Shazam! That's all; Shazam. Can you dig it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a circulating TV print that deletes most of the R-rated content and adds superfluous scenes involving Rizzo's drug-courier (the white man in the grocery store shoot-out). See more »


References Shazam! (1974) See more »

User Reviews

Shezam, man, SHE - ZAM *****
30 November 2006 | by CarsonTrentSee all my reviews

I was watching a re-run of this one the other day and although I remembered I had seen it before, couldn't help noticing how fresh it still is. This one will surely ruin some fantasies as to what police work really entails, and while over thirty years old, it's quite hard-hitting action-wise,-the one shot down the corridor and staircase-chase scene into the market be testimony, but also extremely dark and complex for this genre in character-development and attention to detail - the crummy apartment scene (loved the ugly cap and crying neighbor's baby - touch), the "how do you spell Rizzo?" -writing on the toilet wall scene, the "Shezam"-scene...and so on. Also the movie score of a time where each movie had a personalized theme other than who knows who's latest MTV hit. Along with "The French Connection", "Cruising" or "To live and die in L.A", this is one of the best character-study of cops ever made by American cinema. And somehow they made it without the explosions and big budget demolition or the inter-racial partner buddy-buddy, always joking, driving Porsche, kissing the supermodel routine, but also without losing humor- the slow-dance in the fag-joint -for instance. Instead they used a little thing called talent and inspiration. Elliott Gould is in top form in this one as ever and really works well with Robert Blake.

While extremely entertaining action-wise, it also raises some fair questions, like - why do they do it? or -what to do when you know you can't change anything? it doesn't preach and remains extremely human until the end.

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Release Date:

13 April 1974 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Busting See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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