Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Straight Time

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Ulu Grosbard

Initial DVD release
May 22, 2007



Crime, Drama

Music director
David Shire


Straight Time movie poster

Release date
March 18, 1978 (1978-03-18) (U.S.)

Based on
novel No Beast So Fierce  by Edward Bunker

Edward Bunker (novel), Alvin Sargent (screenplay), Edward Bunker (screenplay), Jeffrey Boam (screenplay)

Dustin Hoffman, Ulu Grosbard

Dustin Hoffman
(Max Dembo),
Theresa Russell
(Jenny Mercer),
Gary Busey
(Willy Darin),
Harry Dean Stanton
(Jerry Schue),
M. Emmet Walsh
(Earl Frank),
Rita Taggart
(Carol Schue)

Similar movies
Crime Wave
Class of 1999
The Force of Evil
The Man from Tumbleweeds

Please God, don't let him get caught.

Straight time hq trailer 1978

Straight Time is a 1978 American crime drama film directed by Ulu Grosbard, starring Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh, and Kathy Bates.


Straight Time movie scenes

Josh olson on straight time

Plot summary

Straight Time wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters7772p7772p

Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman), lifelong thief, is released from a six-year stint in prison and forced to report to a boorish and condescending parole officer, Earl (M. Emmet Walsh).

One of the conditions of parole is that Max finds a job. At the employment agency, he meets Jenny Mercer (Theresa Russell), who helps him land scale-wage work at a can factory. Jenny accepts his invitation to dinner, where it's clear that she is smitten by this worldly and seemingly gentle ex-con.

Earl pays a surprise visit to Max's room, finding a book of matches that Max's friend Willy (Gary Busey) recently used to cook heroin. Although Max clearly has no track marks or other signs of drug abuse, he is handcuffed and dragged back to jail, out of a job and a home. Jenny visits him and gives him her number to call when he gets out.

After blood tests prove he's clean, Max is picked up by a smug Earl, who feels he actually gave Max a break by not pursuing the fact that someone had been using drugs in his place of residence, which would result in three more years in prison. During their car ride to a halfway house, Earl pushes Max to name the user. Max, realizing he will never get a break, pummels Earl, takes control of his car, and handcuffs him to a highway divider fence with his pants around his ankles.

This stunt now makes straight life impossible. Max returns to a life of crime, robbing a Chinese grocery store and planning bigger heists with some willing old accomplices. After robbing a bank together, Max and his friend Jerry (Harry Dean Stanton) decide to up the ante and clean out a Beverly Hills jewelry store. The job is botched when Max takes too long in trying to steal everything. Willy, acting as getaway driver, panics and takes off, leaving Max and Jerry to flee on foot as police converge on the store.

Jerry is shot and dies, while Max shoots a police officer. Max escapes with the loot, settles the score with Willy by killing him, and escapes L.A. with a loyal Jenny by his side. Outside the city limits, though, Max has second thoughts as to their prospects on the lam. He decides to leave Jenny at a gas station for her own good, telling her he will be caught no matter what as he drives away.


  • Dustin Hoffman as Max Dembo
  • Theresa Russell as Jenny Mercer
  • Gary Busey as Willy Darin
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Jerry Schue
  • M. Emmet Walsh as Earl Frank
  • Rita Taggart as Carol Schue
  • Kathy Bates as Selma Darin
  • Sandy Baron as Manny
  • Jake Busey as Henry Darin
  • Production

    The screenplay was written by Alvin Sargent, Edward Bunker and Jeffrey Boam, based on Bunker's novel No Beast So Fierce. Dustin Hoffman was the director of the film when shooting began, but ultimately decided to give up that role, resulting in Grosbard being hired.

    This film introduced both Gary Busey and his seven year old son Jake, as well as Theresa Russell; it also featured an early screen appearance by Kathy Bates. Busey went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor as the lead in The Buddy Holly Story. Russell’s film career includes roles in Impulse and Whore. Bates would win the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe, playing deranged nurse Annie Wilkes in the Rob Reiner film Misery, as well as thirteen Emmy award nominations for her work in television.

    Film location

    Filmed at Burbank Studio, California. (Ref: Film Credits)

    Straight time 1978 official trailer dustin hoffman theresa russell movie hd

    David shire straight time 1978


    Straight Time Wikipedia
    Straight Time IMDb Straight Time

    Similar Topics