6.1/10
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138 user 143 critic

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.

Director:

Elliot Silverstein

Writers:

Dennis Shryack (screenplay), Michael Butler (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

What evil drives... The Car See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

-The official trailer

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Twelve men worked on building four versions of "the car" for the movie for ten months. Construction took eight weeks. Many safety devices and mechanisms had to be installed for occupational safety reasons so as to protect the stuntmen who would be riding inside them. See more »

Goofs

At the start of the film Wade delivers an intelligible line while brushing his teeth vigorously. This is of course impossible and the line was obviously dubbed with much milder mangling. See more »

Quotes

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 TV version of this film was heavily edited for violent content. In particular, the scene where the Car goes into a barrel roll over the two oncoming police cars was totally removed, leaving the first time viewer with a major continuity problem. Other parts removed included the quick scene where the hitchhiker is shown being thrown through the air after being hit by the Car and later on, the Car blasting through the front window of the house is slightly altered. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Dead End (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Semper Fidelis
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Driving Home Terror!
18 July 2006 | by ReelCheeseSee all my reviews

Anyone who sets aside time for a movie about a possessed car that runs people down knows they're not not going to get an Oscar winner. Still, THE CAR is a decent (though largely forgettable) little 1970s horror film.

THE CAR is reasonably paced with enough unique qualities that its intended audience won't be completely disappointed. A wry James Brolin stars as a small town sheriff leading the charge against the big ugly car as it mows down innocent cyclists, antagonizes school children and plows through homes. The characters are surprisingly developed, believable characters who react to this madness as (probably) you or I would. It's director Elliot Silverstein's willingness to take the story seriously, avoiding obvious opportunities for campiness, that makes the automobile (custom made for the film) a dynamic villain. That said, at no point is THE CAR particularly scary. Then again, how many horror films actually are?

What's interesting about THE CAR is that no one, not even the audience, knows where the vile vehicle came from. It simply shows up on an otherwise beautiful day. Some might see this as a cop out, but Silverstein, who cut his teeth on THE TWILIGHT ZONE, among other TV series, wisely understood one of the enduring rules of horror: some things are better left unexplained. The film's climax does reveal who was behind the wheel (if you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it), but the hows and whys of the situation remain up to our individual interpretations.

There's not a great deal of appeal in THE CAR to those outside its target audience of popcorn-munching horror buffs. But if you find the film's premise irresistible, you'll want to take THE CAR for a spin.


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