Over the Edge

1979

Over the Edge

Critics Consensus

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90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 10

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,588
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Movie Info

The protagonists of Over the Edge are the teen-aged offspring of the residents of a planned suburban community. This bland little town has been designed with conformity in mind, and with no thought of making the kids' lives worth living. Even worse, there is very little opportunity for any of the teens to grow "out" of the community and live elsewhere. Consequently, the kids rebel by drinking themselves sick, dealing in drugs, and indulging in deadly violence. Inasmuch as the local cops are predisposed to beat the teens into submission, the kids retaliate by directing their frustrations at the Law; the results are tragic, to be sure, but in no way predictable. Over the Edge struck as sensitive a nerve with young 1970s moviegoers as Rebel Without a Cause did with their 1950s forebears. Matt Dillon made his screen debut in Over the Edge, distinguishing himself in an ensemble cast that also includes Vincent Spano, Andy Romano, Ellen Geer, and Harry Northrup. The screenplay was written by Charles Haas and Tim Hunter; the soundtrack songs feature the Ramones.

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Critic Reviews for Over the Edge

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (1)

  • Jonathan Kaplan's Over the Edge is a sensitive and deceptively shocking portrait of middle-class decadence and alienation set against an impersonal, dehumanized, futuristic Sunbelt society.

    Apr 27, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Script, photography and performances (including Dillon before he decided to become a teenage Stallone) are all top notch, while Kaplan directs with pace, imagination, and a fine ear for dialogue and music.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It tells a ragged story that ends with an improbable climax, but it's acted so well and truly by its mostly teen-age cast that we somehow feel we're eavesdropping.

    Sep 1, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's to Mr. Kaplan's credit that he makes New Granada look just as boring and alienating to us as it does to the unfortunate children who live there.

    Jan 15, 2005
  • Kaplan has a fine feel for the crushing blandness of "planned communities"-the anger that possesses his underage heroes proceeds from a physically oppressive emptiness, represented by rows of hollow town houses and vast, blasted fields.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Planned suburbia, teenage wasteland

    Sep 25, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Over the Edge

  • Jan 31, 2009
    <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/over-the-edge-12040385"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/12/04/03/12040385_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/over-the-edge-12040388"><img src="http://content6.flixster.com/photo/12/04/03/12040388_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/over-the-edge-12040546"><img src="http://content8.flixster.com/photo/12/04/05/12040546_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:280px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/over-the-edge-12040389"><img src="http://content7.flixster.com/photo/12/04/03/12040389_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a><B><I>Over the Edge</I></B></div></div> Over the Edge, 1979, Written by Charles S. Haas and Tim Hunter. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan. With Matt Dillon, Pamela Ludwig, Michael Eric Kramer, Vincent Spano, and Tom Fergus. Yuppie parents move their families away from the inner city to a Utopian planned community, and turn it into what they tried to escape from by neglecting their teenage children. Over the Edge fills the gap between American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused. However, it is a much darker satire, and should resonate with many viewers who were in junior high school in the late 1970's. In a planned, upper middle class subdivision, parents transport their impressionable teenagers to an all-white suburban school to shield them from crumbling urban social infrastructures. Assuming that their parental obligations have been thusly fulfilled, they subsequently abandon their parenting duties to the local school and community center -with disastrous consequences. The kids engage in teenage shenanigans which quickly escalate to illicit drug use, dope dealing, sex, vandalism and finally all out riotous street violence. Rather than being a moralistic cautionary tale, it is a matter-of-fact indictment of of the hippie generation's permissive parenting styles and serves as a portrait of many similar communities at the time. The theme is black comedy with a strong grain of truth. I know people from the generation in which the delinquents are portrayed, who claim emphatically that the school and neighborhood depicted in the film mirror their own experiences with frightening accuracy. The ending is literally explosive. While the picture is a bit dated and tame by today's standards, it provides a realistic glimpse into one segment of the teenage delinquent world as it existed at the time. The themes remain valid. Over the Edge features Matt Dillon's commercial film debut. BACKSTORY: Screenwriter Charlie Haas,( Tex, Gremlins 2, and Matinee) wrote a journalistic piece for The San Francisco Examiner entitled "Mouse Packs: Kids On A Crime Spree." The feature was about a planned community in northern California called Foster City, which was experiencing an alarmingly escalating juvenile crime rate. His article caught co-writer TIm Hunter's attention and the two carefully researched the premise before writing the script. (1.) (1. "Motion/Captured Must-See: 'Over The Edge' " by Drew McWeeny, www.hitflix.com) On Warner Home Video DVD.
    Pamela D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 20, 2008
    damn fine rebellious teenager/parents don't understand movie.
    chase _ Super Reviewer
  • Jun 01, 2007
    greatest, realest teen movie ever
    Adam M Super Reviewer

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