5.9/10
2,165
22 user 9 critic

Semi-Tough (1977)

A three-way friendship between two free-spirited professional football players and the owner's daughter becomes compromised when two of them become romantically involved.

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writers:

Walter Bernstein, Dan Jenkins (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Billy Clyde Puckett
Kris Kristofferson ... Marvin 'Shake' Tiller
Jill Clayburgh ... Barbara Jane Bookman
Robert Preston ... Big Ed Bookman
Bert Convy ... Friedrich Bismark
Roger E. Mosley ... Puddin Patterson Sr.
Lotte Lenya ... Clara Pelf
Richard Masur ... Phillip Hooper
Carl Weathers ... Dreamer Tatum
Brian Dennehy ... T.J. Lambert
Mary Jo Catlett ... Earlene Emery
Joe Kapp ... Hose Manning
Ron Silver ... Vlada Kostov
James MacKrell James MacKrell ... Bud McNair (as Jim McKrell)
Peter Bromilow Peter Bromilow ... Kostov's Interpreter
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Storyline

A comedy about two football players and their mutual girlfriend. Includes many spoofs and parodies about various self-help groups and personal self-improvement seminars that were wildly popular during the 1970's. Written by <keath@webtv.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's The World's Greatest Game (And It Sure Ain't Football) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1978 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Zwei ausgebuffte Profis See more »

Filming Locations:

Tarrant County, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$37,187,139
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Charley Associates See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

When Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson began shooting the football scenes, they were working with actual pro athletes. They hit Kristofferson so hard, they broke a couple of his bones. See more »

Goofs

When Miami scores the lone touchdown in the playoff game against Green Bay, the scoreboard displays a celebratory message. But the game is in Green Bay. No home team ever celebrates an opposing team's touchdown. especially in the fourth quarter of a playoff game. See more »

Quotes

Billy Clyde Puckett: [to another knock at the bathroom door] Go shit in your hat!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Back In The Saddle Again
(uncredited)
Sung by Gene Autry
Written by Gene Autry and Ray Whitley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Perfect Send-Up of the Seventies
15 August 2001 | by consortpinguinSee all my reviews

"Semi-Tough" has got to be one of the best comedies of all time. The casting is perfect, and the acting is very understated. You could really identify with Kris Kristofferson, Bert Reynolds, and Jill Clayburgh as lost children of the 1960s looking for the answers to life in the 1970s. They parody to a "T" some of the self-help and consciousness raising scams of the times.

I especially loved the thinly disguised "BEAT" which closely paralleled "est" (Erhard Seminars Training, and they always wrote the acronym in lower case) which attracted many followers. I had the misfortune that year of working for a boss who was an est graduate (they called themselves "estholes") and two ex-hippie co-workers. est was their life, almost like a religion to them, and they were always pressuring the other workers on the team to take est. They had their own language -- e.g. "I'll take responsibility for that," "We have an agreement," and especially "I got it." (meaning I understand it). While Kris Kristofferson "got" the training, Jill Clayburgh did not. Since they wanted to get married they were afraid of a "mixed marriage." Fortunately Burt Reynolds also takes BEAT training and pretends to "get it" although you later learn he saw right through it from the beginning. Burt Convy as the seminar leader bore a striking resemblance to Warner Erhard, the founder and leader of est.

For your $300, the training consisted of two weekends spent in a hotel ballroom from about 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM both days. There were no breaks even to eat or go to the bathroom (no kidding!) The stunts in the movie paralleled the real est training, with things like lying on the floor hugging your pillow while kicking your feet in the air. After the training you were supposedly a changed person, free of your old hang-ups. Fortunately, I found another job where I was not subject to "estual harassment."

Robert Preston, the Team Owner, played his role perfectly too. To a background of Gene Autry records which matched his own view of the world, he tried many other psychic movements, including crawling around on the floor rather than walking. They also tried "Pelfing," a thinly veiled send-up of Rolfing. In fact, one other football player was a devotee of "pyramid power," proudly wearing a pyramid from a necklace.

This movie has been on TV but not recently. It would be fun to see it again. Interesting that the IMDB poll for this movie shows that viewers over 45 enjoyed it much more than the kids under 18. Yeah, they weren't around during those happy days of Disco, Leisure Suits, disaster movies, gas lines, est, Lifespring, Rolfing, Pyramid Power, and of course, "Happy Days."

If you enjoyed "Semi-Tough," another film you'd like is "Serial."


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