Stir Crazy (1980)

R | 103 mins | Comedy | 12 December 1980

Director:

Sidney Poitier

Producer:

Hannah Weinstein

Cinematographer:

Fred Schuler

Editor:

Harry Keller

Production Designer:

Alfred Sweeney

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
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HISTORY

       A 6 Feb 1980 HR news item announced principal photography for Prison Rodeo, the film’s working title, would begin 13 Mar 1980 in Mesa and Tucson, AZ. A brief in the 12 May 1980 LAT stated the budget was $10 million.
       According to a 5 May 1980 LAHExam brief, actor Richard Pryor had walked off the production for four days due to emotional problems and then returned to The Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, CA, that day. Apparently, Pryor’s problems surfaced early in the schedule with tensions and habitual lateness on the set. However, Columbia Pictures President John Veitch said that, with only three weeks left to the schedule, the decision was made to let Pryor complete his role. The 12 May 1980 LAT cited other reasons for the actor’s behavior, which included producer Hannah Weinstein’s assessment that Pryor was ill and suffering from exhaustion, while unit publicist Herbert Honis said that in addition to Pryor’s illness, his continual fighting with an anonymous crew member, necessitated a self-imposed “timeout.”
       A 7 May 1980 HR news item reported that principal photography would be completed 23 May 1980.
       According to a 5 May 1981 HR brief, the picture had earned $100,330,724 in domestic box office. Columbia Pictures executives said the film joined Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, see entry) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, see entry) as members of the studio’s prestigious “$100 million club.”

      The song sung by Mary Gregory is listed as both "Love of a Cowboy" and "The Love of a Cowboy" in the end ... More Less

       A 6 Feb 1980 HR news item announced principal photography for Prison Rodeo, the film’s working title, would begin 13 Mar 1980 in Mesa and Tucson, AZ. A brief in the 12 May 1980 LAT stated the budget was $10 million.
       According to a 5 May 1980 LAHExam brief, actor Richard Pryor had walked off the production for four days due to emotional problems and then returned to The Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, CA, that day. Apparently, Pryor’s problems surfaced early in the schedule with tensions and habitual lateness on the set. However, Columbia Pictures President John Veitch said that, with only three weeks left to the schedule, the decision was made to let Pryor complete his role. The 12 May 1980 LAT cited other reasons for the actor’s behavior, which included producer Hannah Weinstein’s assessment that Pryor was ill and suffering from exhaustion, while unit publicist Herbert Honis said that in addition to Pryor’s illness, his continual fighting with an anonymous crew member, necessitated a self-imposed “timeout.”
       A 7 May 1980 HR news item reported that principal photography would be completed 23 May 1980.
       According to a 5 May 1981 HR brief, the picture had earned $100,330,724 in domestic box office. Columbia Pictures executives said the film joined Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, see entry) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, see entry) as members of the studio’s prestigious “$100 million club.”

      The song sung by Mary Gregory is listed as both "Love of a Cowboy" and "The Love of a Cowboy" in the end credits. Also, the following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The Producers wish to thank the Governor, the Director of the Department of Corrections, the people and Motion Picture Development Office of the State of Arizona for their cooperation in the production of this picture. We are especially grateful to the Arizona State Prison, Warden Robert Raines and his staff, and the inmates for their help while we were filming at the prison. The events depicted do not reflect the policies or procedures as conducted at the Arizona State Prison,” and “The Producers also wish to thank the Nevada Division of State Parks for permission to photograph in Valley of Fire State Park.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 1980
p. 4, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1981.
---
LAHExam
5 May 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1980
p. 8.
New York Times
12 Dec 1980
p. 10.
Variety
3 Dec 1980
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Hannah Weinstein Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Stillman
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
Const coord
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Cost des
MUSIC
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff
Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
Sd ed
Burbank Editorial Service, Inc.
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting, Lynn Stalmaster & Associates
Transportation coord
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Loc mgr
Unit pub
Head wrangler
Research consultant
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Crazy," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, sung by Gene Wilder, produced by Michael Masser
"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, produced by Michael Masser, sung by Kiki Dee, courtesy of Ariola Records, Ltd.
"Love," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, produced by Michael Masser, sung by Randy Goodrum
+
SONGS
"Crazy," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, sung by Gene Wilder, produced by Michael Masser
"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, produced by Michael Masser, sung by Kiki Dee, courtesy of Ariola Records, Ltd.
"Love," composed by Michael Masser and Randy Goodrum, produced by Michael Masser, sung by Randy Goodrum
"Eat Your Heart Out," composed and produced by Tom Scott, lyrics by Rob Preston, sung by Leata Galloway, courtesy of Ariola-Eurodisc, GMBH
"Watch Her Dance," composed and produced by Tom Scott, lyrics by Rob Preston, sung by Leroy Gomez
"Love Of A Cowboy," composed and produced by Tom Scott, lyrics by Rob Preston, sung by Mary Gregory.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Prison Rodeo
Release Date:
12 December 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 December 1980
Production Date:
13 March--23 May 1980 in Arizona and California
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 December 1980
Copyright Number:
PA90756
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Skip Donahue, a playwright and part time store detective, meets his friend, Harry Monroe, a waiter and out-of-work actor, at a New York City bar, and discovers that they both have been fired from their jobs. Skip thinks it is the perfect opportunity to start fresh in a new town full of sunshine with less hostility and noise. Harry prefers to remain near the Broadway theater district, but Skip convinces him that a world of beautiful women awaits them in California. The men drive out west in a rundown van that soon develops engine trouble. When a gas station charges them $150 for repairs, they find temporary jobs, entertaining bank customers with a song and dance routine, dressed in woodpecker suits. Later, two bank robbers steal the woodpecker suits, rob the bank, and get away in Skip and Harry’s van while they eat lunch. When Skip and Harry return, the bank is surrounded by police, and they are arrested for the robbery. Locked in a holding tank with dozens of other suspects, Harry tries to impress upon Skip that they are in deep trouble; but Skip insists on using the experience as research for his writing, having faith that the real robbers will be caught. Due to the incompetence of their court appointed attorney, Len Garber, the friends are sentenced to 125 years in prison, which means a minimum thirty years behind bars. Skip and Harry are sent to Glenboro State Prison. In the prison cafeteria, Harry holds up his tray and asks the server for spare ribs, French fries, a cheeseburger, and a chocolate malted. Instead, he gets a mound of mash potatoes. As the men eat, they ... +


Skip Donahue, a playwright and part time store detective, meets his friend, Harry Monroe, a waiter and out-of-work actor, at a New York City bar, and discovers that they both have been fired from their jobs. Skip thinks it is the perfect opportunity to start fresh in a new town full of sunshine with less hostility and noise. Harry prefers to remain near the Broadway theater district, but Skip convinces him that a world of beautiful women awaits them in California. The men drive out west in a rundown van that soon develops engine trouble. When a gas station charges them $150 for repairs, they find temporary jobs, entertaining bank customers with a song and dance routine, dressed in woodpecker suits. Later, two bank robbers steal the woodpecker suits, rob the bank, and get away in Skip and Harry’s van while they eat lunch. When Skip and Harry return, the bank is surrounded by police, and they are arrested for the robbery. Locked in a holding tank with dozens of other suspects, Harry tries to impress upon Skip that they are in deep trouble; but Skip insists on using the experience as research for his writing, having faith that the real robbers will be caught. Due to the incompetence of their court appointed attorney, Len Garber, the friends are sentenced to 125 years in prison, which means a minimum thirty years behind bars. Skip and Harry are sent to Glenboro State Prison. In the prison cafeteria, Harry holds up his tray and asks the server for spare ribs, French fries, a cheeseburger, and a chocolate malted. Instead, he gets a mound of mash potatoes. As the men eat, they watch as a physically huge mass murderer named Grossberger intimidates everyone in his path. Skip approaches Grossberger to initiate a conversation, but Grossberger roars, and Skip runs back to his table. After three months, the new prisoners meet with Warden Walter Beatty and Deputy Ward Wilson. The warden and his deputy are eager to see if they can recruit Skip for their prison rodeo. They test him on a mechanical bull, and are amazed that Skip hangs on when they increase the difficulty level to high. Afterward, the warden declares that Skip is a born cowboy, and is convinced that Skip is tougher than Wilson’s protégé, Blade, and will make them winners at the prison rodeo competition for a change. At first, Skip is enthusiastic about being in the rodeo, but a prisoner named Jesus Ramirez claims that the prisoners risk their lives, while the prisons earn $75,000 to $100,000 in prize money. The prison keeps the money, and the prisoners get nothing. Nevertheless, Jesus says the rodeo could be a way to escape. In his office, Beatty calls Warden Henry Sampson at another prison and sets up a side bet of $50,000 for the upcoming rodeo. According to Jesus, if Skip waits until the last minute, he will be able to negotiate for a crew of fellow prisoners to assist him at the competition. When Skip gives the warden an excuse, he and Harry are harassed and tortured, and later trapped in their cell with Grossberger. Wilson thinks the threat will finish Skip, but the three men become friends. Later, Beatty says that they are running out of time and that Wilson needs to produce results. Soon, Harry is sent to the prison hospital, where another prisoner warns him to stay away from a Korean doctor, who is fond of amputating healthy testicles. Later, Skip cuts his deal with Beatty. He gets his team and a bigger cell. At the rodeo grounds inside the prison, Skip tries out a bucking bronco, while Blade warns Harry about the dangers of being a rodeo clown. In the machine shop, another prisoner, Rory Schultebrand, and Grossberger make tools to help them escape. Soon, Skip meets with Len Garber and his attractive assistant, Meredith, to discuss his appeal. The bad news is that the court will not allow the testimony of a six-year-old witness, and they have no other evidence. Nevertheless, Skip is attracted to Meredith, and invites her to the opening of his next play. She accepts, but notes that they have to free him first. Working undercover at a topless bar, Meredith soon discovers a plot to kill Skip at the rodeo. She and Len race there to save Skip’s life. During the competition, Harry and Rory use their handmade tools to escape the prison rodeo grounds, while Harry changes into civilian clothes inside an SUV in the visitor parking lot. Harry returns to the men’s bathroom, locks the door, and unscrews the ceiling vent. Then, he passes a change of clothing to Jesus as he climbs through. Rory climbs through the vent in the women’s bathroom, and is given female clothing to complete his disguise. A tiebreaker is announced as the rodeo progresses. Competing contestants have to grab a bag of money from between the bull’s horns to win. In the arena, Skip pretends to be gored by the bull. On the sidelines, Grossberger helps him slip away. When the SUV with the prisoners leaves the prison, Len and Meredith see Skip and follow the vehicle. At an abandoned airplane hanger, Jesus, his wife, and Rory transfer to another car, and leave for Veracruz, Mexico. Skip and Harry escape in a second car, but stop as Len and Meredith approach. They are told the real bank robbers were found with Meredith’s help. Skip gives Meredith a kiss, and he and Harry drive off. Then the car stops, and Skip reminds Meredith that she is invited to his opening. She laughs, and embraces Skip. Then, she leaves with Skip and Harry. +

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

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