6.2/10
3,246
28 user 19 critic

The End (1978)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 10 May 1978 (USA)
Slapstick black comedy about a man (Reynolds) who finds that he hasn't much longer to live and has bungled his attempts at suicide.

Director:

Burt Reynolds

Writer:

Jerry Belson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Wendell Sonny Lawson
Dom DeLuise ... Marlon Borunki
Sally Field ... Mary Ellen
Strother Martin ... Dr. Waldo Kling
David Steinberg ... Marty Lieberman
Joanne Woodward ... Jessica Lawson
Norman Fell ... Dr. Samuel Krugman
Myrna Loy ... Maureen Lawson
Kristy McNichol ... Julie Lawson
Pat O'Brien ... Ben Lawson
Robby Benson ... Father Dave Benson
Carl Reiner ... Dr. James Maneet
Louise LeTourneau Louise LeTourneau ... Receptionist
Bill Ewing Bill Ewing ... Hearse Driver
Robert Rothwell ... Limousine Driver
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Storyline

Wendell Lawson has only 6 months to live. Not wanting to live his last few months of life waiting for the end, he decides to take his own life. He enlists the help of a humorously delusional mental patient, and the movie chronicles his many unsuccessful attempts to kill himself. Will he ever succeed...? Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Are there laughs before death? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A vég See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$44,917,151, 31 December 1978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

James Best, who served as associate producer and has a small part as a pacemaker patient, was hired by Burt Reynolds to rewrite the script to make his character more in-depth. See more »

Goofs

When Wendell Lawson slams on his brakes next to the funeral procession in front of the Church, the shadow of the Church steeple and crucifix appear on his forehead. However in the cutaway to the Church, we clearly see there are no shadows anywhere on the face of the Church, indicating that the sun is in front of the Church and not behind it, thus unable to produce a shadow on Wendell. In addition the size of the shadow on Wendell's face was some 3-4 inch. It could not be casted by a life size steeple but a small mock-up. See more »

Quotes

Marlon Borunki: It's very interesting the way you woke up cursing. A large percentage of attempted suicides wake up with exclamations of hostility.
Wendell Sonny Lawson: Where am I?
Marlon Borunki: 92% of them ask that. You're in La Playa.
Wendell Sonny Lawson: The nut house?
Marlon Borunki: That's a cruel label. We prefer, booby hatch.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the theatrical version Dom DeLuise's character was repeatedly referred to as Polish. This was overdubbed to "foolish" for the DVD and TV versions of the movie. See more »

Connections

Remake of Six Dates with Barker: 1970: The Odd Job (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Another Fine Mess
Written by Paul Williams
Performed by Glen Campbell and Paul Williams
(p) Capitol Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The living "End"....
19 October 2000 | by Mister-6See all my reviews

Death is serious business, no doubt. No moreso than the people who come in contact with it. In fact, is there ANYTHING funny about dying?

If you're Burt Reynolds and you find out you only have a few months left to live, then YES. And the evidence is in one of his maiden directing efforts, "The End".

As a terminally-ill man, Reynolds practically drives himself crazy trying to get his life in order and end it at the same time. However, he has to deal with an inattentive ex-wife (Woodward), flaky parents (Loy and O'Brien), an even-flakier girlfriend (Field), an overly-mature daughter (MacNicol), a dense lawyer (Steinberg), a novice priest (Benson) and a schizophrenic mental patient (DeLuise) who wants to help Reynolds reach his end goal in the worst way.

The topic is morbid, to be sure, but there are indeed (dark) laughs here. Reynolds' hand never falters and he makes the most of every scene he's in as a man who's at the end of his rope (literally, in one case) and can find no solace even in chasing down a funeral procession to find out what the guy in the hearse died of.

To say that DeLuise steals the movie isn't enough; he steals it, runs for the border, makes a clean getaway and never looks back. There is more bad taste to be had when we discover his character is Polish and Dom then rattles off a few bad Polish jokes to Reynolds. "Kids can be cruel", Reynolds consoles. "What kids", DeLuise responds, "I heard these from my parents!" How inspiringly nasty. My one favorite scene has to be where Dom tries to help Burt jump out of the bell tower in the mental institution he is incarcerated in (You're right: it's not high enough!"). It's great and there's a lot more scenes like that, sprinkled throughout.

For some of us, though, it's hard to laugh at suicide, let alone death. But the morbid, gallows humor here doesn't celebrate death like a lot of bigger-budget movies do - this is a movie about life, living and doing everything you can while you have the chance. And THAT is really what "The End" is about - not the end but everything you do before the end gets here. And in that respect, Burt succeeds.

Eight stars and a golden noose for "The End" - the movie that'll make you love life...and think twice about coming near Dom DeLuise with a Polish joke. Ever.


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