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Carny (1980)

R | | Drama | 23 May 1980 (USA)
Trailer
2:04 | Trailer
Tired of her dull job as a waitress, Donna decides to join two carnival hustlers and see what life in their field is like.

Director:

Robert Kaylor

Writers:

Phoebe Kaylor (story), Robert Kaylor (story) (as Robbie Kaylor) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Busey ... Frankie
Jodie Foster ... Donna
Robbie Robertson ... Patch
Meg Foster ... Gerta
Kenneth McMillan ... Heavy St. John
Elisha Cook Jr. ... On-Your-Mark
Tim Thomerson ... Doubles
Teddy Wilson ... Nails (as Theodore Wilson)
John Lehne John Lehne ... Skeet
Bill McKinney ... Marvin Dill
Bert Remsen ... Delno Baptiste
Woodrow Parfrey ... W. C. Hannon
Alan H. Braunstein Alan H. Braunstein ... Willie Mae (as Alan Braunstein)
Tina Andrews ... Sugaree
Craig Wasson ... Mickey
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Storyline

A carnival comes to a small town. Eighteen year old Donna meets Frankie and Patch, two carnival hustlers. They earn their living by mercilessly taunting spectators to try to dump one of them into the water by throwing balls. Donna is tired of her work as a waitress and follows them through the South. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where love is just another sucker's game. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orion was initially interested in producing this movie. See more »

Goofs

While Mickey is at the roulette joint, Doubles is seen ringing a bell while wearing a tan plaid shirt. The audio of the bell ringing and Doubles' line "I tell ya, the boy has me in a corner" carries over to a shot of Mickey. When the shot switches back to Doubles a few seconds later, his tan plaid shirt has suddenly changed to a solid dark shirt with a denim jacket over it. See more »

Quotes

Donna: If I had the money for a bus ticket I'd leave right now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Guilty Pleasures - 1987 (1987) See more »

User Reviews

 
A fascinating experience.
24 September 2015 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

"Carny" doesn't really feature exemplary storytelling, but it's still a striking look into a world to which many of us are not privy. That would be the behind-the-scenes dealings in travelling carnivals. With story credit going to co-star Robbie Robertson - member of The Band and a real life former carny himself - director Robert Kaylor and Kaylors' wife Phoebe, it's an amazing display of sights and sounds in this sometimes seamy environment. Ultimately, the heaviest asset is the incredible atmosphere that Kaylor and his crew create.

Gary Busey and Robertson are front and centre as members of this carnival troupe. Busey is a clown who sits in a dunk tank and taunts passers by. Into their lives comes a sexy teenager, Donna (Jodie Foster), who's tired of her humdrum small town existence and job as a waitress. So she joins them on the road, becoming part of their "family". Busey is very welcoming, but Robertson has his misgivings about her presence.

There's a wonderful, star studded cast here, although some of the actors inevitably end up rather under utilized. Among them are Meg Foster, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook Jr. (in one of his best latter day roles), Tim Thomerson, Teddy Wilson, Bert Remsen, Craig Wasson, Robert DoQui, and Fred Ward. Bill McKinney and John Lehne are perfectly hate worthy as a shady businessman and his henchman who cause problems for our heroes. (Not content to rely on actual law enforcement, Busey, Robertson and company enact their own form of justice.) Busey is very likable, in one of his better film roles, and Foster very appealing. Robertson, of course, looks completely at home.

The production design (by William J. Cassidy) and cinematography (by Harry Stradling Jr.) are first rate, and this film also makes use of some real sideshow attractions. The tale actually gets a little twisted towards the end; coupled with some profanity and some T & A, "Carny" does earn its R rating. It also has an excellent music score by Alex North.

Overall, an interesting film worthy of discovery or re-discovery.

Eight out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carny See more »

Filming Locations:

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,817,720

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,817,720
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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