The Escape Artist (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Escape Artist (1982)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Escape Artist Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The Escape Artist represents the laudable directorial debut of cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Griffin O'Neal, the real-life son of Ryan O'Neal, plays Danny Masters, the offspring of a famed magician. Determined to match his dad's accomplishment, Danny runs into nothing but trouble. His biggest mistake is picking the pocket of the son of a corrupt town mayor. When not running from adults, the boy is being exploited by them. A critic's favorite, Escape Artist has slowly built up a cult following over the years, thanks largely to its eclectic supporting cast, including Raul Julia, Desi Arnaz Jr., Joan Hackett, Teri Garr, Jackie Coogan, Huntz Hall and M. Emmet Walsh.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Stephen Zito, Melissa Mathison
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 25, 2005
LionsGate Entertainment


Griffin O'Neal
as Danny Masters
Raul Julia
as Stu Quinones
Teri Garr
as Arlene
Joan Hackett
as Aunt Sibyl
Desi Arnaz
as Mayor Quinones
Gabriel Dell
as Uncle Burke
Jackie Coogan
as Magic-Shop Owner
Hal Williams
as Cop at Mayor's offic...
David Clennon
as Newspaper editor
Harry Caesar
as Sax player
Huntz Hall
as Turnkey
Harry Anderson
as Harry Masters
George Brengel
as Water commissioner
Carlin Glynn
as Treasurer's secretar...
Isabel Cooley
as Secretary at Newspap...
Tom Signorelli
as Mailbox cop
Isabelle Cooley
as Secretary at Newspap...
George Cantero
as Jail trustee
Harry Cohn
as Jailmate
James Howard
as Cop at Bridal Shop
Margaret Ladd
as Reporter
Sandy Gimpel
as Stunt Double - Sibyl
Douglas McGrath
as Photographer
Susi Sherman
as Woman at Club
Doug McGrath
as Photographer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Escape Artist

Critic Reviews for The Escape Artist

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

...the movie's pervasive lack of drama or tension results in a palpably flat atmosphere that proves disastrous...

Full Review… | November 2, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

The Escape Artist is a riveting film about a son trying to prove himself to his father.

Full Review… | February 4, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Escape Artist


An interesting movie about a young magician, and it has a good cast, but it gets real confusing at times. Good, but it could be better.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


"The Escape Artist" starts promisingly enough with teenager Danny Masters(Griffin O'Neal)walking into a newspaper office, claiming that he can break out of a jail in an hour. This makes sense considering that his father was a master escape artist which runs in the family as Danny runs away from his grandmother towards his Aunt Sibyl(Joan Hackett) and Uncle Burke(Gabriel Dell) who have their own stage magic act that is complicated by Sibyl's psychic abilities.

All of which are the ingredients for an offbeat and winning movie but alas that's not the case here as "The Escape Artist" is undermined by pedestrian direction and Danny's convoluted involvement with municipal corruption that he first encounters when he steals a wallet from Stu Quinones(a miscast Raul Julia), the son of the mayor(Desiderio Arnaz). While one could conceivably make a case for Danny and Stu joining forces, it is a tenuous connection at best.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


This movie has an amazing collection of great actors: Raul Julia, Teri Garr, Desi Arnaz, Elizabeth Daily, M. Emmet Walsh. But then the whole movie is more amazing than I can believe. Sometimes this magic movie got me confused as to what was happening on screen, especially in key scenes. And is it just me or does the main character, played by O'Neal, look younger than his character is supposed to be? I found out he was about 16 when they made the movie, but he looks 12 or 13. It was interesting to see Raul Julia as Desi Arnaz's son, and him acting like a kid, but I wanted to see more of him. Overall, a so-so movie, but it is cute, I'll give it that.

Lisa Spader

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