Scarecrow (1973 film)


original film poster
Directed by Jerry Schatzberg
Produced by Robert M. Sherman
Written by Garry Michael White
Starring Gene Hackman
Al Pacino
Eileen Brennan
Richard Lynch
Music by Fred Myrow
Cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by Evan Lottman
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
United States April 11, 1973 (New York City only)
Running time
112 minutes
Language English
Box office $4,000,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Scarecrow is a 1973 road movie starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.


The story revolves around the relationship between two vagabonds: Max Millan (Gene Hackman), a short-tempered ex-convict, and Francis Lionel "Lion" Delbuchi (Al Pacino), a childlike ex-sailor. They meet on the road in California and agree to become partners in a car wash business, once they reach Pittsburgh.

Lion is on his way to Detroit to see the child he has never met and make amends with his wife Annie, to whom he has been sending all the money he made while at sea. Max agrees to make a detour on his way to Pittsburgh, where the bank that Max has been sending all his seed money is located.

While visiting Max's sister in Denver, the pair's antics land them in a prison farm for a month. Max blames Lion for being sent back to jail and shuns him. Lion is befriended by an inmate named Riley (Richard Lynch), who later tries to sexually assault him. Max proceeds to teach Riley a lesson, rekindling his friendship with Lion. The two have a profound effect on each other, with Lion becoming more of an adult and Max loosening up his high-strung aggression (at one point doing a tongue-in-cheek striptease to defuse a fight at a bar).

When they finally make it to Detroit, Lion calls Annie, who is now remarried and raising their five-year-old son. She is still angry at him for leaving her, and spitefully lies to him that she miscarried their son. Lion is devastated, but feigns happiness at having a son. Shortly afterward, he has a breakdown while playing with neighborhood children and becomes catatonic. Max promises Lion that he will do anything to help him, and boards a train to Pittsburgh with a round-trip ticket.



Awards and criticism

The film shared the Grand Prix at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival with The Hireling directed by Alan Bridges.[2][3]

In a review of the film from the time of its 2013 re-release, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described the film as "a freewheeling masterpiece", describing Hackman and Pacino as giving "the performances of their lives".[4]

Peter Biskind, on the other hand, described the film as being of "secondary" significance in his book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.[5]

See also


  1. "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, January 9, 1974 p 19
  2. "Festival de Cannes: Scarecrow". Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  3. "U.S. Film Shares Cannes Prize". Los Angeles Times. May 26, 1973. p. B9. The Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix Friday was awarded jointly to the American film "Scarecrow" by Jerry Schatzberg and the British entry "The Hireling" bv Alan Bridges.
  4. "Scarecrow". the Guardian. April 25, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  5. Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Simon & Schuster. p. 15. ISBN 9780684857084.

External links

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