Crackers (1984)


Crackers (1984)

Down-and-out Weslake (Donald Sutherland) was reduced to minding the counter at the San Francisco pawn shop of crusty Garvey (Jack Warden) when he tumbled onto a scheme by some of the boss's disgruntled misfit clients to rob the place. Rather than blow the whistle, however, he insinuates himself as the heist's mastermind. Louis Malle's hilarious remake of I soliti ignoti (1958) co-stars Sean Penn, Wallace Shawn, Christine Baranski, and Professor Irwin Corey.
IMDb   5.2 /10
TheMovieDb    5.0 /10
RottenTomatoes  0 %
FilmAffinity   5.2 /10
Release Date1984-02-16
Runtime1h 31min
GenreAdventure, Comedy, Crime
Content RatingPG (PG)
AwardsAwards1 nomination
CompanyUniversal Pictures
Weslakeas Weslake
Garveyas Garvey
Dillardas Dillard
Turtleas Turtle
Boardwalkas Boardwalk
Ramonas Ramon
Maxineas Maxine
Jasmineas Jasmine
Mariaas Maria
Lazzarellias Lazzarelli
Don Fernandoas Don Fernando
Slam Dunkas Slam Dunk
Artisteas Artiste
Mrs. O'Malleyas Mrs. O'Malley
Officer Darneyas Officer Darney
Joseph Hindy
Joseph Hindy
Officer Ronnieas Officer Ronnie
Charles Bouvier
Charles Bouvier
Cable Manas Cable Man
Dick Bright
Dick Bright
Guyas Guy

Crackers (1984 film)

Crackers is a 1984 American comedy crime film directed by Louis Malle. It was entered into the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.

Written by Jeffrey Fiskin, the film is about a group of small-time out-of-luck thieves, led by the unemployed Weslake (Donald Sutherland), who attempt to rob the neighborhood pawn shop owned by the greedy Garvey (Jack Warden). It is a remake of the Italian film Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958) directed by Mario Monicelli.


In 1980s San Francisco, Weslake, who was laid off from his job, is working in a low-paying position at Garvey's pawn shop. Weslake has one friend nicknamed "Turtle" who is homeless and is seen throughout the whole film searching for something to eat.

One day, Dillard, who is an amateur musician, and Ramon, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lives with his sister Maria, come to Garvey's shop. The purpose of their visit is to buy off a guitar pawned earlier by Dillard; because both have little money they're offering the pawn shop owner a stolen car radio, but it's not enough for Garvey. Instead, he offers Dillard a deal: he wants Dillard to install an alarm system in his shop (as Dillard is an electrician). Dillard is not thrilled by the deal but Ramon convinces him, arguing that when the alarm system is installed, Garvey may have enough confidence to leave the shop (he normally stays in it, since he lives there) and they may then get an opportunity to break in and get the guitar back.

Their conversation is heard by "Boardwalk", a pimp who was just left by his girlfriend with his small child. He tells Weslake that he should report the plans of Dillard and Ramon to Garvey, but Weslake realizes that when the new alarm system is installed, Garvey may no longer find it necessary to employ him, and he will be broke again. Because of this Weslake doesn't inform his employer of the planned robbery, and instead joins Dillard, Ramon Boardwalk and Turtle in their attempted robbery. He becomes the brain of the whole operation, designing a plan for breaking into the large safe in the pawn shop.

The opportunity comes very soon, as Garve announces that he's leaving the shop because of a planned visit to his old mother. The group then puts their plan into action (albeit with many troubles along the way), eventually finding out that the big vault which is supposed to be full of goods is empty, because Garvey wasn't keeping anything inside it for years. The whole story has a good ending, however. As Garvey is coming back drunk in the middle of the night (since his mother died when he went to see her), he meets the would-be robbers inside his store. Surprisingly, he doesn't realize that they intended to rob him, and instead is happy that in this sad time he's surrounded by "friends".


  • Donald Sutherland as Weslake
  • Jack Warden as Garvey
  • Sean Penn as Dillard
  • Wallace Shawn as Turtle
  • Larry Riley as Boardwalk
  • Trinidad Silva as Ramon
  • Christine Baranski as Maxine
  • Tasia Valenza as Maria
  • Edouard DeSoto as Fernando