Archive of films The Last Detail / The Last Detail

1973, 103 min

Section: New Hollywood II
Year: 2008

A rebellious comedy drama from the director of Harold and Maude, starring Jack Nicholson in one of the lead roles. A pair of cynical navy officers is tasked with escorting a condemned sailor to a remote prison. The innocent youngster, however, arouses the sympathy of the navy lifers, and the journey through several states turns into a party full of initiatory ordeals.


Buddusky and Mulhall, two cynical NCOs in the American navy, are ordered to escort sailor Meadows to prison after he is sentenced to eight years for stealing 40 dollars from the commander’s wife’s charity fund. The escort sets out on its journey and, as the miles mount up, the hardened navy lifers’ growing affection for the unseasoned youth only indicates that his road to the slammer is going to be a winding one, full of initiatory ordeals. Behind this subversive drama with its elements of comedy are three icons of New Hollywood – director Hal Ashby, screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) and Jack Nicholson, who turned down an offer to play Johnny Hooker in The Sting for the role of tough guy Buddusky. The sympathy for outsiders and social outcasts typical of Ashby is enhanced in The Last Detail by the motif of revolt against the establishment, which resonated strongly in the reality of Nixon’s America. Columbia Studio initially refused to distribute Ashby’s film, however, they were compelled to a change of heart after the response to Nicholson’s performance in Cannes. This was followed by three Oscar nominations, among others for Randy Quaid’s outstanding performance in the role of Meadows.

About the director

Hal Ashby (b. 1929, Ogden – 1988, Malibu) first won recognition as an editor. He won an Oscar for his work on Norman Jewison’s film In the Heat of the Night (1968). Thanks to Jewison, he debuted with the social comedy The Landlord in 1970. He also directed the black comedy Harold and Maude (1971), the psychological drama The Last Detail (1973), the comedy Shampoo (1975), a biography of Woody Guthrie Bound for Glory (1976), the satirical Being There (1979), and also the comedies Lookin’ to Get Out (1982) and The Slugger’s Wife (1985). His direction of Coming Home (1978), about the homecoming of a Vietnam War veteran, brought him his third Oscar nomination.


Hollywood Classics
Suite 31, Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, E14 9XL, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 517 7525

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: New Hollywood II
Director: Hal Ashby
Screenplay: Robert Towne podle románu / based on a novel by Darryl Ponicsan
Dir. of Photography: Michael Chapman
Music: Johnny Mandel
Editor: Robert C. Jones
Producer: Gerald Ayres
Production: Columbia Pictures
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young, Carol Kane
Contact: Hollywood Classics


Geraldine Higgins

Melanie Tebb

Sales Agent


© 2020 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide