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Crackers (1984)

Reduced to minding the counter at a crusty pawn shop, Weslake tumbles onto a scheme by some disgruntled misfit clients to rob the place. Rather than blow the whistle, however, he insinuates himself as the heist's mastermind.


Louis Malle


Jeffrey Alan Fiskin (screenplay) (as Jeffrey Fiskin)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Weslake
Jack Warden ... Garvey
Sean Penn ... Dillard
Wallace Shawn ... Turtle
Larry Riley ... Boardwalk
Trinidad Silva ... Ramon
Christine Baranski ... Maxine
Charlayne Woodard ... Jasmine (as Charlaine Woodard)
Tasia Valenza ... Maria
Irwin Corey ... Lazzarelli
Edouard DeSoto ... Don Fernando
Anna Maria Horsford ... Slam Dunk
Mitchell Lichtenstein ... Artiste
Marjorie Eaton ... Mrs. O'Malley
Ed Call Ed Call ... Officer Darney (as Edward Call)


Down-and-out Weslake (Donald Sutherland) was reduced to minding the counter at the San Francisco pawn shop of crusty Garvey (Jack Warden) when he tumbled onto a scheme by some of the boss's disgruntled misfit clients to rob the place. Rather than blow the whistle, however, he insinuates himself as the heist's mastermind. Louis Malle's hilarious remake of Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) co-stars Sean Penn, Wallace Shawn, Christine Baranski, and Professor Irwin Corey.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Comedy that dreams the impossible scheme! [Video Australia]


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


"Big Deal on Madonna Street" (Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)), which this film is a remake of, was also the inspiration for the 1986 Broadway Musical "Big Deal" by Bob Fosse. Fosse was also inspired by other classic Italian films for his musical repertoire including Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria (1957) and (1963), the basis for Sweet Charity (1969), and Nine (2009) respectively, as well as Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980). See more »


Remake of Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) See more »


London Town
Written by Bill Summers (uncredited), Lori Lynette Ham (uncredited) and Scott Roberts (uncredited)
Performed by Bill Summers & Summers Heat
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Not as bad as its reputation suggests, but with that cast and director...
4 October 2004 | by carnivalofsoulsSee all my reviews

"Crackers" falls into that category of films that have failed quite inexplicably - helmed by a great director, starring a cast of assured veterans (Sutherland, Warden) and talented newcomers (Penn, Baranksi) and written by the screenwriter of one of the best films of the eighties ("Cutter's Way"). Then why is it that no one talks about the film anymore? Firstly, the film has been made far more successfully on two other occasions in the guise of "Big Deal on Madonna Street" and then recently "Welcome To Collinwood". Secondly, Malle must have been going through an eighties dance music phase when he made the film because it is effectively ruined by an utterly dated and abysmal soundtrack - with a proper film score it would have been a far better film. Lastly, Sutherland gives what is probably his most broad and embarrassingly unfunny performance in the lead, subsequently hindering any sympathy for his character. There are other qualms (what exactly is the purpose of Baranski's character, lets throw in a slut for some wacky comedy?) but it is nevertheless still quite watchable. Shawn, who would collaborate with Malle on the acclaimed films "My Dinner With Andre" and "Vanya on 42nd Street", is very funny as the forever-eating Turtle and Penn is amusing in a dumb hood role he would practically resume for "We're No Angels", another film with a great director, writer and cast that would be a critical and commercial failure. No film made by Malle could be truly bad, and this isn't, but it is neither as quirky or funny as it wants to be.

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

17 February 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crackers See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$58,689, 20 February 1984

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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