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The Gauntlet (1977)

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A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.

Director:

Clint Eastwood
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Ben Shockley
Sondra Locke ... Gus Mally
Pat Hingle ... Josephson
William Prince ... Blakelock
Bill McKinney ... Constable
Michael Cavanaugh ... Feyderspiel
Carole Cook ... Waitress
Mara Corday ... Jail Matron
Doug McGrath ... Bookie (as Douglas McGrath)
Jeff Morris Jeff Morris ... Desk Sergeant
Samantha Doane Samantha Doane ... Biker
Roy Jenson ... Biker
Dan Vadis ... Biker
Carver Barnes Carver Barnes ... Bus Driver
Robert Barrett Robert Barrett ... Paramedic
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Storyline

In Phoenix, the alcoholic and mediocre detective Ben Shockley is assigned by the Chief Commissary Blakelock to bring the witness Gus Mally from Las Vegas for a minor trial. Shockley travels to Vegas and finds that Gus Mally is an aggressive and intelligent prostitute with a college degree and she tells him that the odds are against her showing up in court. Shockley learns that she will actually testify against a powerful mobster and the mafia is chasing them trying to kill them both. He calls Blakelock and request a police escort from Phoenix to protect them. But soon he discovers that someone is betraying him in the police department. Now, Shockley and Malley hijack a bus and Shockley welds thick steel plates and transforms the cabin in an armored bus trying to reach the Forum. But they will need to drive through a gauntlet of police officers armed with heavy weapons. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Clint Eastwood is the man in the middle of The Gauntlet

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gauntlet See more »

Filming Locations:

Florence, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$35,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Late one night when the cast and crew were filming in downtown Phoenix, some locals were watching. Among them was a tiny man about 3 feet tall, who obviously had severe birth defects. Sondra Locke looked at him scrambling with difficulty trying to get a good view of them as they set up a shot. Sondra felt enormous compassion and said to Clint Eastwood, "Did you see that little man over there? Do you think we could give him a job, make him an extra or something? I bet he'd be so excited." "Don't look at him" came Clint's reply, "don't make eye contact." See more »

Goofs

In Las Vegas the odds for a horse called "Mally No Show" keep increasing. It is revealed that there is no such horse and it gambling device to show that the mob is betting that Shockley will fail to get the witness to court. However, horse racing uses Parimutuel betting. Therefore, you cannot bet that a horse will lose. In parimutuel betting the odds of one horse goes up because more money is bet on other horses to win. See more »

Quotes

Ben Shockley: [to the prone female inmate feigning sleep] Hit the deck, Mally.
[to the warden]
Ben Shockley: Did she have anything to eat?
Jail Matron: Just a cup of coffee this morning.
Ben Shockley: [inspecting the empty mug] Yeah. Looks like she smoked a few cigarettes and put the ashes in the coffee.
[the girl lifts up her head to look at him]
Ben Shockley: Old army trick. She wanted to look sick.
Gus Mally: [jumps up from the bunk, tries darting away, is caught] Let me go! They're gonna kill me! I want a fucking lawyer!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A disclaimer at the end reads: "Law enforcement procedures depicted in this film do not necessarily represent those of any law enforcement agency mentioned herein." See more »

Alternate Versions

Back in 1978 Norwegian cinema version was cut to get an 16 rating, later video rental version and DVD version are uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skinned Alive (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Just A Closer Walk with Thee
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A chaotic road trip to justice!
5 November 2005 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

A rundown cop who's always on the drink named Ben Shockley is assigned to accompany a foul-mouthed prostitute in Las Vegas to a protection program across the country in Phoenix to testify against highly placed authority figure, although first they have to get through a gauntlet of bad cops and the mob who actually want them both dead. So now the odds aren't in their favour, but Shockley is determine to do his job, no matter how big the odds are against them.

Classic Eastwood is on show here people. Although, it's not one of his greatest nor particularly original. But this reasonably familiar cop / action film delivers what it intended to do by giving us a taut little road movie across baron landscapes with a tremendous amount of brutally fast-paced shootouts and grand chase scenes. I mean a lot! To sum it up, shootouts, shootouts and even more shootouts. Watch things go boom with a lot going on at such a furious pace! What more could you want?

So you ask, why is this nothing out of the ordinary? Because this kind of thing wasn't particularly new within this era of films. There were definite shades of Dirty Harry; Eastwood's character Shockley was the exact opposite to Harry though. The one thing you'll notice is that there is no real excuse or depth behind the plot, but to stage one chaotic and stretched out shootout after another. Sometimes they feel like they go on forever! Nonetheless, they might be far-fetched and fail logic, but they're rather well set-up by director Eastwood. Giving us a sudden burst around each corner and because of that there's hardly a mundane moment… uh, maybe Eastwood did overkill certain shootouts, but it did get the blood pumping! So, when the "exaggerated" climax hits the screen - at least the film was consistent in that aspect.

The performances were top-notch, with Eastwood's persona making any film his in watchable. He gives a stellar performance. Sondra Locke as Gus Mally was perfect. The chemistry between the leads was outstanding. The scathing and rough dialogue amongst them was a treat with great use of sarcasm and offbeat humour. The biting conversations truly built on the paranoia at hand with many top one-liners. This gives the film a buddy type of feel. Other key factors are the soothing blues soundtrack, well established camera shots that capture a beautiful landscape, but also the panic of the situation they face. While, there might be underlining themes running throughout the plot, I just didn't read too much into it.

Just leave your brain at the door and enjoy the total chaos and destruction that follows with your screen being sprayed with bullets! Definitely recommended for fans of Eastwood and gritty action films.


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