6.3/10
5,559
47 user 21 critic

Goin' South (1978)

Due to the lack of men after the Civil War, a small western town allows a bachelorette with ulterior motives to save a horse thief from the gallows by marrying him. They must deal with his old gang, the Sheriff, the bank, and each other.

Director:

Jack Nicholson

Writers:

John Herman Shaner (story), Al Ramrus (story) | 4 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Henry Lloyd Moon
Mary Steenburgen ... Julia Tate Moon
Christopher Lloyd ... Deputy Towfield
John Belushi ... Deputy Hector
Veronica Cartwright ... Hermine, Moon's Old Gang
Richard Bradford ... Sheriff Andrew Kyle
Jeff Morris Jeff Morris ... Big Abe, Moon's Old Gang
Danny DeVito ... Hog, Moon's Old Gang
Tracey Walter ... Coogan, Moon's Old Gang
Gerald H. Reynolds Gerald H. Reynolds ... Polty, Rail Road Manager
Luana Anders ... Lorette Anderson
George W. Smith George W. Smith ... Mr. Anderson
Lucy Lee Flippin ... Diane Haber
Ed Begley Jr. ... Whitey Haber
Maureen Byrnes Maureen Byrnes ... Mrs. Warren
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Storyline

Texas, shortly after the Civil War. Henry Moon is an outlaw, on the run from the law. He is captured trying to escape to Mexico and taken back to town to be hanged. The town has a special law that a condemned man can walk free if one of the single women of the town offer to marry him. Henry is in luck - at the last moment Julia Tate offers to marry him, and pretty soon they are married. However, Henry soon discovers that Julia's motives are purely business-orientated - she needs someone to work the mine on her property. This makes for a very cold marriage. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Saved from the hangman, for a fate worse than death! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Con el lazo al cuello See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$7,435,671, 31 December 1978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Mono)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During a 2016 Back to the Future convention, Christopher Lloyd was asked what's his favorite film out of the movies he'd done. He named this movie as the movie he had the most fun making, and wished that more people knew about it, calling it "one fun little movie". See more »

Goofs

After the ladies had their chat in the kitchen, a whistle tells that the water is boiling. The kettle shown in close up is a plain water kettle and has no whistle. See more »

Quotes

Henry Moon: We was just sayin' how much we needed a figurine!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo plays in reverse. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Batman (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
[Sung at the party when Moon's gang comes to visit him.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Mediocre film, amazing Nicholson
28 April 2008 | by tieman64See all my reviews

"Goin' South" is a watchable comedy directed by and starring Jack Nicholson. Filmed cheaply with a local crew down in Mexico, the film wasn't received well upon release. "Star Wars" had rendered westerns obsolete and screwball comedies were long out of date.

Still, "Goin' South" holds up pretty well. Nichsolson's performance is amazing and cinematographer Néstor Almendros equals his work on Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven".

The film works more as a bizarre insight into Jack Nicholson, than a comedy. He turns what should be light slapstick, into a pretty nasty and mean spirited R rated comedy-drama. Watching his filmography from end to end, I'm surprised how consistently wicked and misogynistic his characters are. Here he players an outlaw who's hired by a sexually repressed woman to work in her gold mines. After tying her to a bed and giving her the hump of her life, she renounces her repressed ways and gradually begins to appreciate his animalistic masculinity.

The Jack Nicholson persona seems to constantly be seeking to dominate women. If he can't have his way, he breaks down. "Goin South" is like a happy version of his "Carnal Knowledge", only here he finally gets a girl who submits to his primal charm.

In terms of comedy, the film is similar in tone to the Coen Brothers' "O Brother Where Art Thou?" It's not as visually stylish, but the emphasis on wacky accents is the same. The cast includes Danny Devito, John Belushi and Christopher Lloyd, and many other comic faces pop up.

But it's Jack Nicholson's face that keeps us watching. He's manic, cartoonish, sadistic and riveting. Take a look at the IMDb photo of this film (the DVD cover). The guy looks like a bearded Saddam Hussein, laughing at his hang man's noose like a psychopath. Nicholson's face is a work of art. His eyebrows are constantly twitching, his eyes constantly mischievous, his teeth lighting up his face. Whether you enjoy the film will depend on whether you love his scenery chewing. He puts so much energy and skill into his performance here that he transcends everything else about this film.

6/10- Worth one viewing. I recommend fast forwarding all the exposition and simply watching Jack act. The guy's a pleasure to watch.


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