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The Car (1977)

A small desert town is terrorized by a powerful, seemingly possessed car, and the local sheriff may be the only one who can stop it.


Elliot Silverstein


Dennis Shryack (screenplay), Michael Butler (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
4,874 ( 602)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Brolin ... Wade Parent
Kathleen Lloyd ... Lauren
John Marley ... Everett
R.G. Armstrong ... Amos
John Rubinstein ... John Morris
Elizabeth Thompson Elizabeth Thompson ... Margie
Roy Jenson ... Ray Mott
Kim Richards ... Lynn Marie
Kyle Richards ... Debbie
Kate Murtagh ... Miss McDonald
Robert Phillips ... Metcalf
Doris Dowling ... Bertha
Henry O'Brien Henry O'Brien ... Chas
Eddie Little Sky ... Denson
Lee McLaughlin Lee McLaughlin ... Marvin Fats


Near the small desert town of Santa Ynez, a mysterious black car runs down two teenage bicyclers en route to camp, then it hit-and-runs a hitchhiker with local Amos Clements as witness. Sheriff Everett puts his men on alert and plants road blocks in the area to arrest the murderer, but soon he himself falls victim to the car. Sheriff Wade Parent leads the hunt for the vehicle that threatens their town and seems impossible to locate. When his beloved girlfriend, teacher Lauren Humphries, challenges the driver in a cemetery, the car hunts her in her home. Wade realizes he might be dealing with supernatural powers. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Is it a phantom, a demon, or the Devil himself? See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

-The official trailer





Release Date:

13 May 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wheels See more »

Filming Locations:

Snow Canyon, Utah, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


An arcade video game machine called "Smashing Drive" features the car, painted as a New York taxi on a rampage in the city. The game's "attract mode" sequence begins with the car sitting on one of the stainless steel Deco eagles on the Chrysler Building, and then jumping off to the street below. See more »


During the opening murder scene of the two bicyclists, one of the helicopters used for filming can be heard hovering over the bicyclists. See more »


Chas: I shouldn't have left her.
Wade Parent: Nothing would have changed. He would have taken you out too. I talked to her... she called me when she got back here. She could hear the engine coming down the street.
[choking back the tears]
Wade Parent: She was so frightened. I don't know... I don't know.
Luke: I know why he didn't go into the cemetery.
[Wade turns to look at Luke]
Luke: I know why. There's no other reason... the ground... was hallowed.
[Wade gives Luke a skeptical glare]
Luke: That's what I say... but you think about it. ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The NBC edited for TV version of this film includes some additional scenes to pad out the movie due to needed commercial breaks. The aforementioned additional scenes were during the cemetery standoff between the school band and the Car. The part where Lauren is insulting and taunting the Car is longer and there is a short dialog between her and her friend Margie planning on how one of them will run out and escape to call for help. These are not on the official 1999 DVD/VHS release. See more »


Referenced in Scream: The TV Series: Psycho (2016) See more »


Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46: I. 'Morning'
Music by Edvard Grieg
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

13 June 2003 | by gypsycaineSee all my reviews

The devil made me do it. Really. I bought this VHS the second I saw it. It kept me awake with nightmares as a child, and the library offered no help in locating it until I hit that nice vowel-starting auction site. In re-watching it, I realized that there are signs of the decade it was created (especially in the bell-bottoms, I couldn't stop laughing when I watched the kids in the band practice their parade because the fashion world has come back to them again!), but there are other nice things.

One of the main details that this movie has is no explanations are made. The Indian woman comments about the ill wind that came with the car when she gives testimony. The sheriff's deputy feels that the reason it can't go into the graveyard is due to the hallowed ground. (Btw, the graveyard scene is the one that freaked me out as a kid). Parent (Brolin) discovers there are no handles on the doors, and another witness says that there's no driver. This all adds up to a nasty scenerio. Much like the later movie Poltergeist, you have to wonder if the Indians are right--get out of town! (they fled to the Deep Country--smart cookies!)

I adore Kim Richards, and her sister Kyle is a darling in this film. As an adult, I couldn't help but think who would take care of them should something happen to Parent. I think this is a good sign in a movie--you really begin to identify with the characters when things like this come to you!

The comment at the beginning from Anton gives the whole movie's plot a good basis. I do recommend this as a stay-home, eat popcorn, and enjoy flick!


**** out of *****

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