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Los Angeles private investigator Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter. Moseby tracks the daughter down, only to stumble upon something much more intriguing and sinister .

Director:

Arthur Penn

Writer:

Alan Sharp
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Harry Moseby
Jennifer Warren ... Paula
Edward Binns ... Joey Ziegler
Harris Yulin ... Marty Heller
Kenneth Mars ... Nick
Janet Ward Janet Ward ... Arlene Iverson
James Woods ... Quentin
Anthony Costello Anthony Costello ... Marv Ellman
John Crawford ... Tom Iverson
Melanie Griffith ... Delilah 'Delly' Grastner
Ben Archibek Ben Archibek ... Charles
Dennis Dugan ... Boy in Bar
C.J. Hincks C.J. Hincks ... Girl in Bar
Max Gail ... Stud (as Maxwell Gail Jr.)
Susan Barrister Susan Barrister ... Ticket Clerk
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Storyline

Private detective and former football player Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as a former Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to being married to a studio mogul wants Moseby to find and return her daughter. Harry travels to Florida to find her, but he begins to see a connection between the runaway girl, the world of Hollywood stuntmen, and a suspicious mechanic when an unsolved murder comes to light. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Maybe he would find the girl... maybe he would find himself. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French

Release Date:

30 August 1975 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dark Tower See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The chess game on which the title of the film was based was a real game. The game was K. Emmrich (White) vs Bruno Moritz (Black), played in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany in 1922. In the film, we see the position after White's 26th move. As Moseby showed Paula, Black could have finished the game with a queen sacrifice followed by three knight checks, but he played something else and lost. See more »

Goofs

When the crashed plane is found by Melanie Griffith's character, the dead pilot's face is being picked at by fish. The plane is supposed to have crashed in the ocean off the coast of Florida, but the fish are carp, which are strictly freshwater fish. See more »

Quotes

Harry Moseby: Listen Delly, I know it doesn't make much sense when you're sixteen. Don't worry. When you get to be forty, it isn't any better.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Cinema: Film Noir (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Take a swing at me Harry the way Sam Spade would.
1 July 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Night Moves is directed by Arthur Penn and written by Alan Sharp. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars and Janet Ward. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

Former footballer turned private detective in Los Angeles Harry Moseby (Hackman), gets hired by an ageing actress to track down her trust- funded daughter Delly Grastner (Griffith), who is known to be in Florida. With his own personal life shaken by his wife's infidelity, Harry dives into the Grasten case with determination. Unfortunately nothing is as it first seems and it's not long before Harry is mired in murky goings on...

It sounds kind of bleak. Or is it just the way you tell it?

The locale is often bright and sunny but that's about the only thing that is in this excellent neo-noir. Harking back, and doffing its cap towards, the noir detective films of the classic cycle, Night Moves is ripe with characters who are either dubious or damaged. Protagonist Harry Moseby is thrust into a melancholic world that he has no control over, but he doesn't know this fact. As the mystery at the core of the dense plot starts to unravel, there's a bleakness, a 1970s air of cynicism, that pervades the narrative. Culminating in a finale that's suitably dark and ambiguous.

Harry thinks if you call him Harry again he's gonna make you eat that cat!

Alan Sharp's (Ulzana's Raid) terrific screenplay is appropriately as sharp as a razor. Dialogue is often hardboiled or zinging with wit, and the conversations come with sadness or desperation. Be it chatter about a fateful chess move, sexual enlightenment or the pains of childhood and bad parenting, Sharp's writing provides fascinating characters operating in a tense thriller environment.

Listen Delly, I know it doesn't make much sense when you're sixteen. Don't worry. When you get to be forty, it isn't any better.

Arthur Penn brilliantly threads it all together, as he hones a great performance out of Hackman and notable turns from the support players, he smoothly blends action with pulsing unease. There's nudity on show, but in Penn's hands it is never used for gratuitous purpose, it represents dangerous fantasies or dented psyches. Small's jazzy score is a fine tonal accompaniment, and Surtees' Technicolor photography provides deft mood enhancements for the interior and exterior sequences.

Biting and bitter, Night Moves is essential neo-noir. 9/10


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