6.4/10
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35 user 27 critic

The Laughing Policeman (1973)

In San Francisco, one victim in a mass murder is a police detective. His partner and a new partner investigate in the city's seamy side.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) (as Per Wahlhoo) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Larsen
...
Larrimore (as Lou Gossett)
...
Camerero
...
Steiner
...
Pappas
...
Kay
...
Bobby Mow
...
Monica
Shirley Ballard ...
Grace
William Hansen ...
Schwermer
Don Borisenko ...
Collins (as Jonas Wolfe)
...
Haygood
Louis Guss ...
Gus Niles
...
Prostitute (as Lee McCain)
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Storyline

A policeman is among the victims when the passengers of a late-night bus are machine-gunned. With only one semi- conscious survivor and no other witnesses, the detectives try to learn from the identities of the dead why this happened and who the killer could be. Climax includes excellent chase. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The laughing policeman is never amused. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1974 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

An Investigation of a Murder  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,280,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Larsen (Bruce Dern) and Martin (Walter Matthau) are on the way to pick up explosives from the Hells Angels, the tune "Big Noise From Winnetka" plays in the background. Dern went to New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. See more »

Goofs

When Larsen follows Henry Camerero into the back door of a gay bar, the sign outside it says "The Ramrod". However, when Camerero exits the bar through the front door a few minutes later, the sign above the door says "The Frolic Room". See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Insp. Leo Larsen SFPD: Know what I mean?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mikey and Nicky (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Moon
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Played on the stereo at home
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Laughing Policeman
8 February 2005 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

This sullen, violent police drama is as detailed an investigation as you will find on film. The opening scene of The Laughing Policeman is extremely tense and sets the tone for a Dirty-Harry-style flick that delivers one of Matthau's moodiest performances. Basically, a mass murder takes place on a San Francisco bus, and we find out that a policeman was one of the victims. He turns out to be Matthau's late partner. Bruce Dern is assigned to be his new partner, working with Matthau, a conflict of interest, to find out why this SFPD detective was on the bus in the first place. Their subsequent relationship is a play the standard, portrayed in the Laughing Policeman as "mute cop/bad cop". So, teams of gritty cops (a young Lou Gossett) meander through the roughest neighborhoods of San Francisco bullying pimps, pushers, hip drag queens and sidewalking street-wheelers in an attempt uncover what turns out to be a very complex underworld fraternity. The purpose (seeing as this plays as a Matthau character study), to quell Matthau's melancholic contribution to this Dirty Harry spin-off. It is more violent and much more precise than Dirty Hary but not as entertaining. A must see, however, for all Matthau fans.


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