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The Laughing Policeman

The Laughing Policeman (1973)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 818

My Rating

Movie Info

Stuart Rosenberg's taut police thriller, based on the Martin Beck novel by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahlöö, concerns a serial killer who is targeting bus riders. When a bus full of innocent commuters are killed on a San Francisco street, Jake Martin (Walter Matthau) is assigned to track down the killer. Jake has a personal stake in the killings because his partner was one of the victims. Teamed up with new partner Leo Larsen (Bruce Dern), Jake investigates the back alleys of San Francisco to find the


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Feb 1, 2005

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All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (1) | DVD (3)

Good Walter Matthau vehicle co-starring Bruce Dern.

July 13, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Audience Reviews for The Laughing Policeman

Whatever you're reaching for had better be a sandwich, 'cause you're gonna have to eat it.

Matthau doesn't get to play many serious roles compared to his body of work in lighter fare. This is one of his best dramatic attempts. Despite the title, not only does he not laugh in this, he never even cracks a single smile.

This is a nice murder mystery. The whole supporting cast is excellent, particulary Lou Gossett, Jr. When he delivers the line quoted above, you can feel in your bones that he means it :)
May 11, 2006

Super Reviewer

A solid, tense crime drama based on a Swedish award winning novel by Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall, the story is transplanted from Stockholm to San Francisco. Walter Matthau delivers one of his most accomplished and detailed performances as a tough police lieutenant investigating a grisly massacre on board a city bus by a madman, who opened up with a machine gun and murdered eight people. He discovers that his former partner, a detective is one of the victims, Matthau uncovers unsavory things about his ex-partner, and that many of the victims had shady lives, which shrouds the killer's identity even more. But Matthau and his current partner, played superbly by Bruce Dern are running out of time because the killer is getting ready to attack another city bus. Astute direction by Stuart Rosenberg, fine supporting performances by Louis Gossett Jr, Albert Paulsen, Anthony Zerbe, Anthony Costello, Val Avery, Joanna Cassidy, and Cathy Lee Crosby. Good suspense and plot twists, outstanding cinematography by David M. Walsh. A gritty period piece, and accurate 70's police procedural from the golden age of urban American films. Highly Recommended.
October 18, 2010

Super Reviewer

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