6.3/10
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27 user 16 critic

Jacknife (1989)

R | | Drama | 10 March 1989 (USA)
A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister, with whom he lives, when she becomes romantically involved with the Army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle ... See full summary »

Director:

David Hugh Jones (as David Jones)

Writers:

Stephen Metcalfe (play), Stephen Metcalfe (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Megs (as Robert DeNiro)
Kathy Baker ... Martha
Ed Harris ... Dave
Sloane Shelton ... Shirley
Ivar Brogger ... Depot Mechanic
Michael Arkin Michael Arkin ... Dispatcher
Tom Isbell Tom Isbell ... Bobby Buckman
Kirk Taylor ... Helicopter Gunner
Jordan Lund ... Tiny
Charles S. Dutton ... Jake (as Charles Dutton)
Bruce Ramsay ... Corridor Student (as Bruce Ramsey)
Jessalyn Gilsig ... His Girlfriend
George Gerdes ... Tony
Josh Pais ... Rick
Lois Dellar Lois Dellar ... Cocktail Waitress
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Storyline

A conflict develops between a troubled Vietnam veteran and the sister, with whom he lives, when she becomes romantically involved with the Army buddy who reminds him of the tragic battle they both survived. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No matter how hard you try...he will always be the best friend you ever had. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bicska See more »

Filming Locations:

Connecticut, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,049,769
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (in selected theatres)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Robert De Niro and actress Kathy Baker also appear together 4 years later in Mad Dog and Glory (1993). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joseph 'Jacknife' Megessey: Rise and shine cause it is time!
See more »

Connections

References Song of the South (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Beat Me Up
Written by Dyna Brein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dave, Megs and Martha.
18 April 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Jacknife is directed by David Jones and adapted to screenplay by Stephen Metcalfe from his own play Strange Snow. It stars Robert De Niro, Ed Harris and Kathy Baker. Music is by Bruce Broughton and cinematography by Brian West.

De Niro and Harris play two Vietnam War veterans trying to come to terms with their lives post the war. Things are further complicated when De Niro gets romantically involved with Harris sister played by Baker.

Wonderfully sedate and intimate, Jacknife, whilst not creating anything new in the "coming home from Nam" genre of film, is somewhat refreshing in how it relies on dialogue and believable character interactions. Some clichés do find their way into the play later in the day as Harris' character starts to come out of is troubled shell, but this is mostly a thoughtful treatment of loneliness and the on going effects of the war. The three up top performances are well delivered, with De Niro unsurprisingly carrying the film with ease.

A box office flop on release, there's a good chance that Jones' film came too late in the Vietnam War movie cycle. It's also safe to say that the slow pace and the dialogue heavy nature of it made it only appealing to a certain demographic of film lovers. It's worth seeking out now as an anti-dote to blunderbuss blockbusters, because it's good film making that has a story that is touching and often humorous, and for many of a certain era, it's all too real. 7/10


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