6.4/10
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20 user 22 critic

Carny (1980)

R | | Drama | 23 May 1980 (USA)
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Tired of her dull job as a waitress, Donna decides to join two carnival hustlers and see what life in their field is like.

Director:

Robert Kaylor

Writers:

Phoebe Kaylor (story), Robert Kaylor (story) (as Robbie Kaylor) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Busey ... Frankie
Jodie Foster ... Donna
Robbie Robertson ... Patch
Meg Foster ... Gerta
Kenneth McMillan ... Heavy St. John
Elisha Cook Jr. ... On-Your-Mark
Tim Thomerson ... Doubles
Teddy Wilson ... Nails (as Theodore Wilson)
John Lehne John Lehne ... Skeet
Bill McKinney ... Marvin Dill
Bert Remsen ... Delno Baptiste
Woodrow Parfrey ... W. C. Hannon
Alan H. Braunstein Alan H. Braunstein ... Willie Mae (as Alan Braunstein)
Tina Andrews ... Sugaree
Craig Wasson ... Mickey
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Storyline

A carnival comes to a small town. Eighteen year old Donna meets Frankie and Patch, two carnival hustlers. They earn their living by mercilessly taunting spectators to try to dump one of them into the water by throwing balls. Donna is tired of her work as a waitress and follows them through the South. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where love is just another sucker's game. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Feira Ambulante See more »

Filming Locations:

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,817,720, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Orion was initially interested in producing this movie. See more »

Goofs

In the truck stop, Donna says, "Money walks, BS talks". This is backwards, though not sure if it may be intentional or not. See more »

Quotes

Donna: If I had the money for a bus ticket I'd leave right now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Carnival Action at it real best
12 April 2005 | by ventures01See all my reviews

This is one of the only films in existence that truly depicts the Carny as he/she was during the 50's and 60's. Why it has not made it to DVD is a real mystery.

Gary Busey and a young Jodie Foster are the mainstays of this film. Foster is beginning to show the talent that will shine in later films.

Part coming-of-age chronicle, part road movie, Carny is memorable for Jodie Foster's sexy, intelligent heroine and the pivotal influence of costar, co writer, and producer Robbie Robertson. Robertson is Patch, a carny veteran whose de facto partner is the leering, cruel Frankie (Gary Busey), an abusive clown, and the film lingers on the tawdry and menacing world behind the carny's garish public spaces. When the young, self-confident Donna (Foster) shows up and joins the troupe, the bonds between Patch and Frankie are strained. Donna's walk on the wild side brings her in intimate, sometimes dangerous proximity to the freaks and lowlifes that populate this world, which the writers and director Robert Kaylor savor for its atmosphere of outsider surrealism.

Foster acquits herself wonderfully, making this a revealing step between the prematurely hardened nymphet of Taxi Driver and the actress's first truly adult roles, soon to follow. Busey and Robertson fare less well, their work long on mannerism but ultimately cryptic to a fault. Like the movie itself, they transmit a cynicism that seems hollow without more real insight into how they came to inhabit this netherworld, and why they can't escape it. B-Sutton


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