After being released on parole, a career burglar assaults his former probation officer, returns to a life of crime, and goes on the run.

Directors:

Ulu Grosbard, Dustin Hoffman (uncredited)

Writers:

Edward Bunker (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Max Dembo
Theresa Russell ... Jenny Mercer
Gary Busey ... Willy Darin
Harry Dean Stanton ... Jerry Schue
M. Emmet Walsh ... Earl Frank
Rita Taggart ... Carol Schue
Kathy Bates ... Selma Darin
Sandy Baron ... Manny
Jake Busey ... Henry Darin (as Jacob Busey)
Tina Menard ... Hotel Manager
Stephanie Ericsson Stephanie Ericsson ... Bar Patron (as Stephanie Ericsson Baron)
Dave Kelly Dave Kelly ... Counterman
Don Sommese Don Sommese ... Waiter
Kit Jee Wong Kit Jee Wong ... Grocer
Peter Kwong ... Grocery Clerk
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Storyline

After many juvenile detentions and six years in prison, the small time thief and burglar Max Dembo is released on parole. Max has an initial friction with his nasty parole officer Earl Frank, but the officer agrees to let him live in a hotel room if he gets a job within a week. Max goes to an employment agency and the attendant Jenny Mercer helps him to get a job in a can industry. Max decides to go straight and visits his old friend Willy Darin and his family. When Willy brings Max home, he injects heroin and leaves his spoon under Max's bed. Max dates Jenny, and on the next day after hours, he finds Frank waiting for him snooping around his room. Frank finds the spoon and sends Max to prison for tests to prove whether he had a fix or not. Despite the negative result, Frank leaves Max for a week imprisoned. When Max is released again, Frank gives a ride and presses him to tell who had a fix in his room. Max hits Frank, steals his car, and seeks out his former friends to restart his ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

can he go straight or will he go straight back inside? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edward Bunker helped co-write the screenplay with Alvin Sargent when the latter came to visit him at San Quentin prison. The film was in pre-production when Bunker was released. See more »

Goofs

During the opening credits Max orders a hot dog with everything on it. He gets a hot dog with nothing on it. See more »

Quotes

Jenny Mercer: Why can't I go with you?
Max Dembo: Because I wanna get caught.
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Soundtracks

Two of Us
Music by David Shire
Lyrics by Norma Green (as Norma Helms)
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User Reviews

One of the best 70's movies.
9 February 2005 | by mbuchwalSee all my reviews

This modest movie captured the blown out angst of the 70's better than any other film and is a worthy addition to the great tradition of noir gangster dramas that began with High Sierra (starring Bogart). It is also a high point in Dustin Hoffman's career, perhaps his greatest performance. Unlike pictures such as "Rambo," it does not so much romanticize the violence as make the viewer pity the protagonist for his tragic choice. I wonder if any parolees who saw this movie decided to go straight rather than risk the dangers of returning to a life of crime. I also wonder if any parole officers who saw it were persuaded to be more humane in their treatment of ex-cons. Haven't seen one this good in a long long time!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Cantonese

Release Date:

21 April 1978 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

No Beast So Fierce See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,900,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First Artists, Sweetwall See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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