Mean Johnny Barrows (1975)

R | 85 mins | Drama | 27 November 1975

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HISTORY

       News items in the 23 Sep 1975 HR and the 9 Oct 1975 DV announced that Dimension Pictures, Inc., would release the Brut Productions film, Bad Johnny Barrows, in early Nov 1975. The 14 Oct 1975 DV reported that the film, now titled Mean Johnny Barrows, was acquired by Atlas Films in a package deal with Brut Productions, set to premiere on 7 Nov 1975.
       A full-page advertisement in the 3 Nov 1975 Box announced the film’s opening on 27 Nov 1975 in Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Memphis, TN; Baltimore, MD; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; Shreveport, LA; Jackson, MS; Mobile, AL; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; and Houston, TX. According to the 31 Dec 1975 Var, Mean Johnny Barrows earned $300,000 in its first three weeks.
       The 19 Jan 1976 LAT gave the film a mixed review that praised Williamson’s performance in spite of a weak screenplay.

      The end credits open with the following acknowledgement: "Dedicated to the veteran who traded his place on the front line for a place on the unemployment line. Peace is hell." Actor Leon Isaac Kennedy is credited onscreen as "Leon Isaac."
...

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       News items in the 23 Sep 1975 HR and the 9 Oct 1975 DV announced that Dimension Pictures, Inc., would release the Brut Productions film, Bad Johnny Barrows, in early Nov 1975. The 14 Oct 1975 DV reported that the film, now titled Mean Johnny Barrows, was acquired by Atlas Films in a package deal with Brut Productions, set to premiere on 7 Nov 1975.
       A full-page advertisement in the 3 Nov 1975 Box announced the film’s opening on 27 Nov 1975 in Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Memphis, TN; Baltimore, MD; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; Shreveport, LA; Jackson, MS; Mobile, AL; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; and Houston, TX. According to the 31 Dec 1975 Var, Mean Johnny Barrows earned $300,000 in its first three weeks.
       The 19 Jan 1976 LAT gave the film a mixed review that praised Williamson’s performance in spite of a weak screenplay.

      The end credits open with the following acknowledgement: "Dedicated to the veteran who traded his place on the front line for a place on the unemployment line. Peace is hell." Actor Leon Isaac Kennedy is credited onscreen as "Leon Isaac."

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1975
p. 1
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1975
---
Daily Variety
14 Oct 1975
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1975
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jan 1976
Section IV, p. 10
Variety
31 Dec 1975
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Bob Manning
Prod mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog consultant
Cam op
1st asst
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop man
COSTUMES
Ward asst coord
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus coord
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Prod asst
Driver
Auditor
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Bad Johnny Barrows
Peace Is Hell
Release Date:
27 November 1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 Jan 1976
Production Date:

Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
85
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Soldier Johnny Barrows steps on a landmine during a training exercise. After Johnny orders his troops to take cover, Captain O’Malley, his commanding officer, informs the soldier that the mine will detonate when he lifts his foot. Johnny orders his men to cover the mine with their flak jackets, and jumps clear before it explodes. Afterward, O’Malley tells Johnny, “I knew you could do it all the time, boy.” Johnny punches O’Malley and is given a dishonorable discharge. Soon after returning to his native Los Angeles, California, Johnny is beaten and robbed, then arrested by two policemen who mistake him for a drunk. At the police station, Johnny is recognized by the police captain, who remembers him as a promising football player and decorated Vietnam War hero. Johnny is freed, and later enters the back door of a restaurant in search of a meal, where he meets Mario Racconi, of the Racconi crime family, and Nancy, the restaurant manager. Mario remembers Johnny from a football game between their respective college teams, and gives Johnny a meal along with an offer to work for him as an enforcer. Johnny accepts the meal but declines the job. Destitute, Johnny searches unsuccessfully for work, and is about to eat from a garbage can when Professor Theodore Rasputin Waterhouse, a drunken philosopher, takes him to a soup kitchen. Meanwhile, the head of the DaVince crime family, known as “Don” DaVince, along with his sons, Carlo and Tony, opens a flower ship that will serve as a front for the family’s operations. Tony is concerned about interference from the Racconi family, but ...

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Soldier Johnny Barrows steps on a landmine during a training exercise. After Johnny orders his troops to take cover, Captain O’Malley, his commanding officer, informs the soldier that the mine will detonate when he lifts his foot. Johnny orders his men to cover the mine with their flak jackets, and jumps clear before it explodes. Afterward, O’Malley tells Johnny, “I knew you could do it all the time, boy.” Johnny punches O’Malley and is given a dishonorable discharge. Soon after returning to his native Los Angeles, California, Johnny is beaten and robbed, then arrested by two policemen who mistake him for a drunk. At the police station, Johnny is recognized by the police captain, who remembers him as a promising football player and decorated Vietnam War hero. Johnny is freed, and later enters the back door of a restaurant in search of a meal, where he meets Mario Racconi, of the Racconi crime family, and Nancy, the restaurant manager. Mario remembers Johnny from a football game between their respective college teams, and gives Johnny a meal along with an offer to work for him as an enforcer. Johnny accepts the meal but declines the job. Destitute, Johnny searches unsuccessfully for work, and is about to eat from a garbage can when Professor Theodore Rasputin Waterhouse, a drunken philosopher, takes him to a soup kitchen. Meanwhile, the head of the DaVince crime family, known as “Don” DaVince, along with his sons, Carlo and Tony, opens a flower ship that will serve as a front for the family’s operations. Tony is concerned about interference from the Racconi family, but the Don and Carlo believe that they have nothing to fear. Johnny is again offered a job, this time by Racconi family patriarch “Don” Racconi, who promises to pay him $100,000, but Johnny refuses to kill for money. The Don understands and asks Nancy to drive Johnny back to the city. When they are alone, Johnny tells Nancy he will consider Racconi’s offer, but prefers to earn an honest living. Nancy confesses that she and Johnny have much in common, and she would like to be free from the Racconi family. Later, Richard, a gas station owner, hires Johnny, assigning him a series of menial duties and allowing him to sleep in the supply closet. However, Richard consistently dismisses Johnny’s requests for greater responsibility and a regular paycheck. At the Racconi mansion, Mario confirms his father’s suspicion that the DaVinces are in Los Angeles, and the elder Racconi sends hit man Antonio Goti to Tony’s flower shop. Meanwhile, Mario and Nancy visit Johnny at the gas station, hoping once again to recruit him, but Johnny remains adamant. Upon returning home, Mario and Nancy learn that Goti was killed by the DaVinces, and Don Racconi decides to arrange a meeting with his rivals rather than start a mob war. That night, when the families meet in a cemetery, Don DaVince offers the Racconis a share of his narcotics trade in the black and Hispanic communities. Don Racconi is appalled, and his refusal triggers a barrage of gunfire from the DaVinces, which leaves Mario as the only surviving Racconi. The next day, Johnny is outraged by the $21 check he receives from Richard, and when he demands the rest of his pay, Richard fires him. An altercation between the two is interrupted by two policemen, who arrest Johnny. At the station, Johnny is informed that all charges against him have been dropped and that Nancy is waiting outside. She tells Johnny about the shooting and takes him to Mario’s hospital room, where he is offered $100,000 and a parcel of land if he kills the DaVinces. Johnny promises to consider it. Meanwhile, Don DaVince believes that Nancy is now running the Racconi empire and sends Tony to kidnap her. Johnny is incensed by the news. When she phones him to describe her degradation at the hands of Tony, Johnny accepts Mario’s offer. However, Nancy and Tony are lovers, who plan to control both the DaVince and Racconi empires, and Johnny is their means to eliminating the other DaVinces. After receiving instructions from Mario, Johnny goes to Tony’s flower shop and kills Carlo and several DaVince henchmen. In anticipation of the shooting, Tony takes a cruise to Mexico on his yacht, but Johnny is also aboard and he forces Tony, who cannot swim, into the ocean at gunpoint. Don DaVince hires a hit man to avenge his sons, and with Nancy’s help, the assassin locates Johnny, who manages to elude his attacker. Later, Johnny hijacks the DaVince delivery van and kills Don DaVince at his home. However, the hit man is still on his trail, and when they meet in a deserted area off the highway, Johnny discovers that his pursuer is Capt. O’Malley. They engage in a martial arts fight, and Johnny kills O’Malley. Johnny and Nancy meet at his parcel of land, and they walk hand-in-hand to the top of a hill. He kisses her and she shoots him as retribution for killing Tony. As Nancy walks away, she steps on a landmine.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.