6.8/10
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Stir Crazy (1980)

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Set up and wrongfully accused, two best friends will be sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit. However, no prison cell could keep them locked in.

Director:

Sidney Poitier
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Wilder ... Skip Donahue
Richard Pryor ... Harry Monroe
Georg Stanford Brown ... Rory Schultebrand
JoBeth Williams ... Meredith
Miguel Ángel Suárez ... Jesus Ramirez (as Miguelangel Suarez)
Craig T. Nelson ... Deputy Ward Wilson
Barry Corbin ... Warden Walter Beatty
Charles Weldon ... Blade
Nicolas Coster ... Warden Henry Sampson
Joel Brooks ... Len Garber
Jonathan Banks ... Jack Graham
Erland van Lidth ... Grossberger (as Erland Van Lidth De Jeude)
Lewis Van Bergen ... Guard #1
Karmin Murcelo Karmin Murcelo ... Teresa Ramirez
Franklyn Ajaye ... Young Man in Hospital
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Storyline

Skip and Harry are framed for a bank robbery and end up in a western prison. The two eastern boys are having difficulty adjusting to the new life until the warden finds that Skip has a natural talent for riding broncos with the inter-prison rodeo coming up. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Two jailbirds who just want out of the cage. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prison Rodeo See more »

Filming Locations:

Downtown, Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,691,886, 14 December 1980, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$101,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Three hundred fifty Arizona State Prison inmates worked as extras in the film. See more »

Goofs

When the cowboy at the bar sends a punching bag flying across the bar and into some hanging lights, it is obvious that the punching bag is sent flying by the use of wires rather than the cowboys punch alone. Since it is suspended by wires the punching bag is seen bouncing unrealistically for several seconds after hitting the lights. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Skip Donahue: Who needs Hollywood? I hear they're really nuts out there.
[singing]
Skip Donahue: Give me a town like old New York, With lots of trees and clean fresh air, I need a place where love is everywhere, They say I'm Crazy, just a little bit out of whack...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 1999 DVD and the current Blu-Ray by Image Entertainment restores bits of footage absent from previous video versions.(the VHS copies were transferred from a slightly damaged 35mm print of the film and the print damage caused this), during the transition from the prison cafeteria to the activity yard in which after Harry is told by Rory that he killed his stepfather by slapping his hand in which Harry takes his hand and pats it lightly a few times and then a shot of the prison yard before cutting to the various outside activities with the inmates. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pitch (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Watch Her Dance
Sung by Leroy Gomez
Composed and Produced by Tom Scott (uncredited)
Lyrics by Rob Preston (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hundred and twenty five years... Oh God, Oh God... Ill be a hundred and sixty one when I get out.
19 November 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Stir Crazy is directed by Sidney Poitier and written by Bruce Jay Friedman. It stars Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Miguel Angel Suarez, Georg Stanford Brown, JoBeth Williams and Erland Van Lidth. Plot has Pryor and Wilder as two care free New York buddies who after getting fired from their jobs decide to make their way to Hollywood in search of better fortunes. However, after taking up a gig as promotional woodpeckers for a bank's advertisement drive, they find themselves framed for robbing the bank and sentenced to 125 years each in prison…..

The second pairing of Wilder and Pryor proves to be the best of their output on film. With their chemistry skin tight, film is full of laughs until a big slow down for the last third when the inevitable attempt at a prison break out occurs. Poitier's direction isn't up to anything other than correctly letting his two lead stars strut their stuff. But along with writer Friedman, he has to be accountable for letting the comedy dry up as the film chooses tension over humour which undoubtedly doesn't sit at all right. Still, the first hour is a joy ride, particularly once the guys land in prison, here the comedy reaches its peak and the contrast of the two characters played by Wilder and Pryor really mines the set-up for all is worth. Wilder is oblivious to the hazards of prison life, Pryor is street savvy and fully aware of the perils around every brick walled corner.

Naturally there's a hope on the horizon, which here comes in the form of Rodeo skills, this too brings the laughs, as does the number of prison characters that join in the plot. Notably Van Lidth's monstrous, and monstrously funny, Grossberger. Yes it's a roll call of prison stereotypes, from the top where the morally dubious Warden (Barry Corbin) sits, down to the cons where gays, bullies and gate happy loonies reside. With that, some of it now seems twee and badly out of date. So much so it's a film that is unlikely to garner a new and appreciative audience. However, those who were enamoured and found themselves laughing heartily with it back in the early 80s, should find that like myself, it holds up real well. Kind of like an old friend you call on when you need a pick me up. Hardly a superior comedy classic, then, but a film that rewards its fans on each subsequent revisit. 7/10


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