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Paperback Hero (1973)

A hockey player in a small town begins to lose his grip on reality, and starts to believe that he is a gunslinger in the Old West.


Peter Pearson
3 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Keir Dullea ... Rick Dylan
Elizabeth Ashley ... Loretta
John Beck ... Pov
Dayle Haddon ... Joanna
Franz Russell Franz Russell ... Big Ed
George R. Robertson ... Burdock
Ted Follows Ted Follows ... Cagey
Linda Sorensen ... Mona
Les Rubie Les Rubie ... Jock (as Les Ruby)
Jacquie Presly Jacquie Presly ... Marlene
Chet Robertson Chet Robertson ... Father
Winnie Rowles Winnie Rowles ... Mother
Gerry Cooke Gerry Cooke ... Noogie
John Ottenberg John Ottenberg ... Heavy
Linda Findlay Linda Findlay ... Friend


A hockey player in a small town begins to lose his grip on reality, and starts to believe that he is a gunslinger in the Old West.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


every woman's had one... every man's been one... once... See more »


Drama | Sport


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 September 1973 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Westentaschen-Cowboy See more »

Filming Locations:

Delisle, Saskatchewan, Canada


Box Office


CAD 500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Agincourt International See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


To help Keir Dullea and Elizabeth Ashley feel comfortable in the shower scene, where they both appear naked, director Peter Pearson took off his clothes as well, and climbed into the shower with them. See more »


If You Could Read My Mind
Written and performed by Gordon Lightfoot
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User Reviews

A Short Review
5 October 2002 | by animal_8_5See all my reviews

"Your head is full of little dingle balls..." This comment (a quote from the film) is probably the most apt description of Rick Dillon, the notorious star player of the Delisle senior hockey team and womanizing key figure in the 1973 film "Paperback Hero".

Set in the desolate agricultural town of Delisle, Saskatchewan, the plot surrounds Dillon's fall from grace as a reigning sports god. Once living in a world where his actions had no consequences, he suddenly finds his vaulted throne caught in a whirlpool. The troubled standing of the team, his own declining popularity, as well as being wanted by the law after one of his numerous romantic conquests goes sour.

The only people who stand by the self-appointed "Marshal" Dillon (played by Keir Dullea) are his teammate "Pov" (John Beck) and good-hearted barmaid, Loretta (played by Elizabeth Ashley). They see the childlike innocence of Rick's "boy dreams", while seemingly oblivious to the dangers the fantasy begins to take.

The classic tragic figure, Rick's demise is cleverly symbolized by the desolate prairie setting, interspersed with scenes of vast wheat fields and abandoned farm implements. The pathos is further entrenched by Gordon Lightfoot's hit tune "If You Could Read My Mind", the performing of which is one of the highlights of the screenplay.

This film was one in a number of pioneering efforts to establish the Canadian film industry that we know today. While crude and clumsy at times, the film is pretty successful in its mandate of putting Canadian identity into the cinema. Little touches like "brown stubby" beer bottles, Foster Hewitt calling play-by-play on Saturday night hockey games and dilapidated old smoke-filled arenas make it clear this is mid-seventies Canada. The plot, while far from classic, is still pretty watchable. I would recommend it to Canadians, or anyone wanting to know more about Canadian popular culture. If you are looking for the Canadian equivalent of "Citizen Kane", well ... you'd be best to keep searching. I give "Paperback Hero" TWO STARS out of FIVE.

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