6.3/10
4,955
70 user 31 critic

Sharky's Machine (1981)

Tom Sharky is demoted to vice after a bust goes terribly wrong. He and his team stumble across a mob murder tied to prostitution and government.

Director:

Burt Reynolds

Writers:

William Diehl (novel), Gerald Di Pego (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,015 ( 3,436)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Sharky
Vittorio Gassman ... Victor
Brian Keith ... Papa
Charles Durning ... Friscoe
Earl Holliman ... Hotchkins
Bernie Casey ... Arch
Henry Silva ... Billy Score
Richard Libertini ... Nosh
Darryl Hickman ... Smiley
Rachel Ward ... Dominoe
Joseph Mascolo ... Joe Tipps
Carol Locatell ... Mabel
Hari Rhodes ... Highball Mary
John Fiedler ... Barrett
James O'Connell James O'Connell ... Twigs
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Storyline

Tom Sharky is a narcotics cop in Atlanta who's demoted to vice after a botched bust. In the depths of this lowly division, while investigating a high-dollar prostitution ring, Sharky stumbles across a mob murder with government ties, and responds by assembling his downtrodden fellow investigators (Sharky's "machine") to find the leaders and bring them to justice before they kill off all his partners and witnesses, including Sharky himself. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody leans on Sharky's Machine. [Theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sharky's Machine See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,022,041, 20 December 1981

Gross USA:

$35,610,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,610,100
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Burt Reynolds said that he drew inspiration from two of his favorite films, Laura (1944) and Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954). See more »

Goofs

When the crime lab is analyzing the drug found in the hotel room, the computer readout misspells dilaudid as "dilawdid". See more »

Quotes

Billy Score: Do you think I will live... or die?
Sharky: Ah, you'll die all right!
Billy Score: No, I don't think so. No, not by you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions are briefly cut by 9 seconds to edit some shots of nunchakus (although they remain clearly visible in other scenes). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jackie Brown (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

After Hours
Performed by Finis Tasby
by Robert Bruce (as R. Bruce), Buddy Feyne (as B. Feyne) & Avery Parrish (as A. Parrish)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sharky: First Name, Sergeant.
2 March 2012 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Sharky's Machine is directed by Burt Reynolds and written by William Diehl and Gerald Di Pego. It stars Reynolds, Vittorio Gassman, Rachel Ward, Henry Silva, Carol Locatell, Brian Keith, Bernie Casey, Earl Holliman and Charles Durning. Music is by Snuff Garrett and cinematography by William A. Fraker. Plot finds Reynolds as Atlanta narcotics cop Tom Sharky, who finds himself busted down to vice squad after a drug bust goes badly wrong. If he thought it was going to be dull and routine he is very much mistaken, for soon enough Sharky finds himself in deep with a high class prostitution ring, political corruption and cold blooded murder.

The Sharky's Machine of the title is the group of cops that Tom Sharky gathers for the case he is working on. What starts out as standard surveillance at the home of beautiful hooker Domino (Ward), turns into a bloody trip into the workings of the seedy kingpins pulling the strings. But the kicker here is that as Sharky becomes an unwilling voyeur to Dominoe's life, he finds himself falling for her. He's fascinated by her, he feels from a distance her sadness of a life that she knows no better of. Tom Sharky is a tough dude, a manly man, a perfect role for Reynolds in fact, but he also needs to be loved, he likes roses and wood carving, he looks back to a childhood lost, it's this compelling characterisation that lifts Sharky's Machine above many other cop thrillers in a similar vein.

The film is, however, still violent and unflinching in its observations of this seedy part of Atlanta. Scum, violence and abuse is never far away, and Reynolds the director shows a deft hand at balancing the rough with the smooth motions of the narrative. He also shows admirable restraint for sex scenes, choosing mostly to suggest rather than titillate, while his acting performance is top notch as he neatly layers the strands of Sharky's emotional psyche. Around Reynolds is an array of engaging professional performances, notably Casey, Keith, a wonderfully maniacal Silva and Ward, the latter of which blends smouldering sexuality with an innocence that tugs the old heart strings.

Some of the outcome is telegraphed early, and the ending, having been a frantic and bloody last quarter, is crowned too abruptly (a shame since it contains an awesome stunt), but much like Reynolds' 1975 film Hustle, this too is badly undervalued in the neo-noir universe. 8/10


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