6.0/10
1,175
26 user 8 critic

How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980)

PG | | Comedy, Crime | 11 July 1980 (USA)
Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford, as the title states, the high cost of living. Jane cannot afford a babysitter or get ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Scheerer

Writers:

Robert Kaufman (screenplay), Leonora Thuna (story)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Tank (1984)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Sergeant Major Zack arrives at a new army base with his wife, son and Sherman tank. One night at a bar he "stops" a pimp/deputy from beating a girl. The corrupt sheriff uses Zack's son for revenge and Zack uses his tank.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky
Stars: James Garner, Shirley Jones, C. Thomas Howell
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

This vampire spoof has Count Dracula moving to New York to find his Bride, after being forced to move out of his Transylvanian castle. There with the aid of assistant Renfield, he stumbles ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Dragoti
Stars: George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

During the Cold War, Air Force Colonel Jim Caldwell shapes up his Strategic Air Command B-52 wing to pass a nuclear war readiness test.

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: Rock Hudson, Rod Taylor, Mary Peach
Juggernaut (1974)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A blackmailer demands a huge ransom in exchange for information on how to disarm the seven bombs he placed aboard the transatlantic liner Britannic.

Director: Richard Lester
Stars: Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A French boy (Daniel) and an American girl (Lauren), who go to school in Paris, meet and begin a little romance. They befriend Julius, who enchants them with his storytelling. In an attempt... See full summary »

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Diane Lane, Thelonious Bernard
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1905, Lord Henry Loam, his family and his servants are shipwrecked on a deserted island where the survival of the fittest renders the rigid class system irrelevant.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Cecil Parker
D.C. Cab (1983)
Comedy | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

The tale of a hapless group of cabbies and a rundown cab company owned by Harold. Albert comes to town with a dream of starting his own cab company but needs to motivate Harold's employees ... See full summary »

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Max Gail, Adam Baldwin, Mr. T
The Mountain (1956)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Selfish Chris Teller pressures his older brother, a retired climber, to accompany him on a treacherous Alpine climb to loot the bodies of plane crash victims.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, Claire Trevor
Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Devil arranges for a deceased gangster to return to Earth as a well-respected judge to make up for his previous life.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Paul Muni, Anne Baxter, Claude Rains
Lassiter (1984)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A handsome jewel thief is arrested and in order to avoid prison, must break into the heavily guarded German Embassy to steal millions in gems.

Director: Roger Young
Stars: Tom Selleck, Jane Seymour, Lauren Hutton
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When an upwardly mobile couple find themselves unemployed and in debt, they turn to armed robbery in desperation.

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Jane Fonda, George Segal, Ed McMahon
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After a series of misunderstandings, the head of an aerospace research laboratory begins to suspect his new girlfriend is a Russian spy.

Director: Frank Tashlin
Stars: Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Arthur Godfrey
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Saint James ... Jane
Jane Curtin ... Elaine
Jessica Lange ... Louise
Richard Benjamin ... Albert
Eddie Albert ... Max
Cathryn Damon ... Natalie
Dabney Coleman ... Jack Heintzel
Fred Willard ... Robert
Art Metrano ... Gas Station Attendant
Ronnie Schell ... Bill Pike
Michael Bell ... Tom
Sybil Danning ... Charlotte
Al Checco Al Checco ... Tim Lundy
Susan Tolsky Susan Tolsky ... Patty
Garrett Morris ... Power & Light Man
Edit

Storyline

Oregon, 1980: Jane, Elaine and Louise are all feeling the effects of inflation and cannot afford, as the title states, the high cost of living. Jane cannot afford a babysitter or get married and if she wants privacy with her boyfriend, she has to sleep in the car. Even worse, her war veteran father comes to live with her to turn her life upside down. Louise lives a happy life with her veterinarian husband, Albert. She runs an antique shop on the side, but since it doesn't take in any profit, the IRS considers it a hobby. She needs to come up with the money to keep it going, or she will be trouble with the IRS. Elaine's husband has left her for another woman and without any money. She is in a constant struggle with banks, power companies, and gas stations. She needs money to get by and also catches the eye of police officer Jack. The local mall is having a contest that features a giant money ball that states it will help fight the inflation. Elaine comes up with a plan to steal the ... Written by Pat McCurry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A hilarious new comedy for everyone who ever wanted to give the oil companies gas pains, turn off the power companies' lights and make the banks stand in line for a change. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 July 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

How to Beat the High Cost of Living See more »

Filming Locations:

Eugene, Oregon, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Jane Curtin. See more »

Goofs

A crew member is visible in a car bumper at the start of the garage sale scene. See more »

Quotes

Albert: [quoting Abraham Lincoln] You know what he said, "With malice toward none and charity to all."
Louise: And the last thing he said was "Look honey, I've got these two great seats for the theater tonight."
Albert: Jesus, why did I have to bring up Lincoln?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Video versions edit a scene where Jessica Lange's character is hiding in the shoe store bathroom while one of the stage show performers comes in and uses it. It cuts off just as she notices the footsteps. The scene is most likely eliminated because the guy was singing and the song might be copyrighted. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Bill Murray/Delbert McClinton (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A buried minor treasure
25 July 1999 | by pazuzu-2See all my reviews

This movie is swimming in 1970's economy humor, there's never enough money for everything. Bills can't get paid, and a radio announcer says with relief in his voice that the cost of living went up ONLY 2%.

The humor may date it for some and make it fly over people's heads that were too young to remember the economic malaise of the late 70's (I barely remember it, my being a kid back then).

But if you get past that, what you have here is a smart and entertaining caper film where the people pulling the caper are all female. June Curtain, Jessica Lange and Susan Saint James make up the team that conspires to make a heist.

Dabney Coleman proves he can actually play a sweet guy with his turn as a Police man which falls for Jane Curtain's character. Richard Benjimin has some great one-liners playing Jessica Lange's animal doctor husband. Garrett Morris has a great cameo.

I saw this at the movies when it first came out and found it to be very funny and enjoyable. Years later I sought it out and found that it has been out of print on video for a number of years. Finally, I found a copy to rent. You should try to find a copy too. It's a fun film


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed