39 user 20 critic

Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979)

R | | Drama | 1979 (USA)
Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.


John Sayles


John Sayles
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce MacDonald Bruce MacDonald ... Mike
Maggie Renzi Maggie Renzi ... Katie
Adam LeFevre ... J.T.
Maggie Cousineau Maggie Cousineau ... Frances
Gordon Clapp ... Chip
Jean Passanante Jean Passanante ... Irene
Karen Trott Karen Trott ... Maura
Mark Arnott ... Jeff
David Strathairn ... Ron
John Sayles ... Howie
Marisa Smith Marisa Smith ... Carol
Amy Schewel Amy Schewel ... Lacey
Carolyn Brooks Carolyn Brooks ... Meg
Eric Forsythe Eric Forsythe ... Captain
Nancy Mette ... Lee


The Secaucus 7 of the film's title are seven friends who, during their college days, were arrested in New Jersey on their way to a protest in Washington. The film takes place ten years after all that, as the friends gather at the home of Mike and Katie, now schoolteachers in New Hampshire, bringing with them old problems and new: Maura has left Jeff and seeks consolation with his best friend, J.T.; J.T., arguably the least successful of the friends, finally gets the courage to move to Los Angeles to start a career as a songwriter; Irene brings her new boyfriend along, hoping he'll like and be liked by her friends and expecting them to challenge him for his more-conservative politics; and more. This is the film that inspired "The Big Chill." Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Neither of this film's big names, David Strathairn and John Sayles were in acting parts that were members of the Secaucus Seven group. See more »


Camera shadow on the ground during the basketball game when JT falls down. See more »


[Jeff is detailing his previous arrests to a booking policeman]
Jeff Andrews: And that was for conspiracy to riot. Charges dropped. September 12, '69 for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Charges dropped. December 24, '69, inciting to riot. Charges dropped. August of '70 for lobbying in Kentucky. Charges dropped. Five arrests, all in Kentucky, in '71, for possession, "suspicion" of possession of a controlled substance. Charges dropped. Want the dates? And then March 5, '73, indicted for destruction ...
See more »


Free, White and 21
© 1979 Sweet Melodies Publishing
Written by Adam LeFevre
Performed by Adam LeFevre (uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

What a great film!
24 August 2000 | by alexhallSee all my reviews

This is what good moviemaking is about. If you are looking for million-dollar cost overruns, over-rated movie stars, the same crop of (yawn) "special" effects and trite action-movie plots and dialog, look elsewhere. This is young John Sayles doing his absolute best with limited resources. The characters are realistic, the dialog brilliant yet believable and the script does an excellent job of handling the subject of not only growing up, but growing older with a bittersweet sense of humor.

For years I heard this film described as The Big Chill only three years earlier. A pretty accurate description. The plot and characters are similar, but Return of the Secaucus 7 has more layers, and provides more random "slice of life" scenes. Whilst watching this film, you can't help the feeling you know these people, or someone like them. Sayles manages to prove that real life situations can be interesting, funny and touching; unexpected moments can start a chain of life-altering events.

The New Hampshire scenery is beautiful – nice to see something shot anywhere other than NYC or a Hollywood back lot. A testament to friendship, fun and low-budget filmmaking.

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Release Date:

1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Secaucus 7 See more »

Filming Locations:

New Hampshire, USA See more »


Box Office


$60,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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