7.6/10
17,892
124 user 59 critic

The Last Detail (1973)

Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison but decide to show him one last good time along the way.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Otis Young ...
...
...
M.A.A.
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Young Whore
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Marine O.D.
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Donna
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Annette
...
Nancy
Gerry Salsberg ...
Henry
Don McGovern ...
Bartender
Pat Hamilton ...
Madame
...
Taxi Driver
Jim Henshaw ...
Sweek
...
Nichiren Shoshu Member
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Storyline

Two bawdy, tough looking navy lifers - "Bad-Ass" Buddusky, and "Mule" Mulhall - are commissioned to escort a young pilferer named Meadows to the brig in Portsmouth. Meadows is not much of a thief. Indeed, in his late teens, he is not much of a man at all. His great crime was to try to steal forty dollars from the admiral's wife's pet charity. For this, he's been sentenced to eight years behind bars. At first, Buddusky and Mulhall view the journey as a paid vacation, but their holiday spirits are quickly depressed by the prisoner, who looks prepared to break into tears at any moment. And he has the lowest self-image imaginable. Buddusky gets it into his head to give Meadows a good time and teach him a bit about getting on in the world. Lesson one: Don't take every card life deals you. Next, he teaches Meadows to drink, and, as a coup de grace, finds a nice young whore to instruct him in lovemaking. Mule, who worries aloud about his own position with military authority, seems pleased ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What's "The Last Detail"? 300 beers and a barrel of laughs! (re-release) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 February 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El último deber  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Robert Towne stated that the main reason the film had so much profanity was his view that "this is how people talk when they're powerless--they bitch", since Buddufsky and Mulvall don't agree with Meadows' jail sentence but have no legal ways to help him (and aren't going to let him escape and bring wrath upon themselves). Towne also tied the film into the then-ongoing Vietnam War, saying that "everyone hides behind a title in the military, whether you're killing at My Lai, or taking a kid to jail." See more »

Goofs

When Meadows takes his first bite of his first hot dog dipped in mustard, he opens his mouth - and his tongue is already stained bright yellow. See more »

Quotes

Buddusky: [after about a case of beer] I would like to drink a toast to Batman... Shuperman... and the Human Torch. AH-HA-HA!
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Connections

Spoofed in Black Detail (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Something You Still Haven't Said
by Miles Goodman and Douglas Brayfield
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User Reviews

 
Beautifully Crafted Piece of Character
17 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nicholson's "Bad Ass" is a beautifully crafted piece of character. He cusses. He fights. He drinks. He's loud. No one else speaks Robert Towne's words better than Nicholson. In this film he overwhelms at every turn. In the bar scene, he shows brute anger and a desire for dominance. The scenes with a young Nancy Allen are delightfully witty because of Nicholson's schoolboy antics of getting a woman into bed.

It is the scenes with Randy Quaid (also wonderful) where Nicholson shines brightest. "Bad Ass" represents a paternal figure lacking in Meadows' life. He makes him a man by demanding he send back a hamburger if it's not cooked the way he likes it. He demands Meadows to stop crying and be a man. He demands Meadows to stand up for himself and fight when someone pushes his buttons. He demands Meadows to want to have sex, like other men his age. Nicholson's father figure image here is played off perfectly as Meadows sort of imitates things "Bad Ass" does. If Bad Ass has a beer, Meadows has a beer. If Bad Ass wants a woman, Meadows wants a woman. There's a secret trust between the two. It's unspoken, but it's there. That trust is broken in the end when Meadows tries to escape. It wasn't all a lie, Meadows just felt that it was time to stop learning and start moving.


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