Repo Man


1h 32m 1984

Brief Synopsis

A young punk gives up stealing cars for a job repossessing them.

Film Details

Also Known As
mort en prime
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Drama
Release Date
1984

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Synopsis

A wayward L.A. punk is taken under the wing of a crazed repo man. Soon the odd pair face off against everyone, from law enforcement agents to crazed cult members, in search of an irresistible prize. Everything from conspiracy theories and science fiction elements to true-to-life character development gets mixed together in this thrilling cult classic.

Crew

Allen Alsobrook

Production Manager

Mark Anderson

Other

Louis Armstrong

Song Performer

Rick Barker

Stunts

Richard Beggs

Sound

Richard Berres

Music

Bradley J Bovee

Stunt Coordinator

Bradley J Bovee

Stunts

Thomas Boyd

Stunts

Lynda Burbank

Art Director

Misty Carey

Production Assistant

Misty Carey

Graphics

Joan E Chapman

Assistant Editor

Chuck Colette

Consultant

Alex Cox

Screenplay

Philo Cramer

Song

Cheryl Cutler

Set Decorator

Robert Dawson

Titles

Will Dawson

Stunts

Theda Deramus

Wardrobe

Theda Deramus

Costume Designer

Dennis Dolan

Editor

Robert Ellis

Stunts

Robert K. Feldmann

Key Grip

Billy Ferrick

Song

Donald Flick

Sound Editor

Kim Fowler-esser

Foley

Douglas Fox

Props

J Rae Fox

Art Director

Sharon Frances

Hair

Sharon Frances

Makeup

Roger George

Special Effects

Greg Ginn

Song

Thure Gustafson

Assistant Editor

Daniel Hainey

Camera Operator

Warren Hamilton

Sound Editor

Barry Hauss

Helicopter Pilot

Marc Hesson

Stunts

Gret Hetson

Song

Eddie Hice

Stunts

Eddie Hice

Stunt Coordinator

Larry Hoki

Sound

Steve Hufsteter

Song

Steve Hufsteter

Music

Loren Janes

Stunts

Joan Michael Johnson

Stunts

Robert L Knott

Special Effects

Bonnie Koehler

Adr Editor

Danny Kosta

Stunts

Iya Labunka

Production Coordinator

Tito Larriva

Song Performer

Tito Larriva

Song

Tito Larriva

Music

Mark Lewis

Technical Advisor

S B Lipkin

Song

Mike Little

Camera Operator

Tom Lynch

Stunts

Betsy Magruder

Assistant Director

Louiche Mayorga

Song

Steve Mcafee

Production Assistant

Peter Mccarthy

Producer

Patrick Mcintire

Stunts

Bruce Mckrimmon

Technical Director

Michael Minkler

Sound

Keith Morris

Song

Mike Muir

Song

Robby Muller

Director Of Photography

Rip Murray

Assistant Director

Tom Musca

Video

Steven Myers

Assistant Editor

Steve Nelson

Sound

Michael Nesmith

Executive Producer

Gerald T Olson

Associate Producer

Iggy Pop

Song

Iggy Pop

Song Performer

Stephen L Posey

Camera Operator

John Post

Foley

Hughie Prince

Song

Ma Rainey

Song

Magda Rangel

Graphics

Don Raye

Song

Brant Reiter

Creative Consultant

Sharron Reynolds

Script Supervisor

Robert Richardson

Photography

Jonathan Richman

Song

Tom Richmond

Camera Operator

Dick Rude

Creative Consultant

Steven Michael Sarno

Graphics

Brian Saussen

Stunts

George Sawaya

Stunts

Fred Scheiwiller

Stunts

A Schloss

Song

Lisa Schulze

Makeup

Rick Seaman

Stunts

George Seminarh

Graphics

Bodie Shoemaker

Song

P. F. Sloan

Song

David Stone

Sound Editor

The Andrews Sisters

Song Performer

Vickie Thomas

Casting

E Thompson

Song

Paul Trupin

Song

Martin Turner

Photography

Anne Van Der Vort

Production Assistant

Lee Ving

Song

Jonathan Wacks

Producer

Michael S Walters

Stunts

Brenda Weiman

Script Supervisor

R White

Song

Jim Woody

Song

Abbe Wool

Video

Abbe Wool

Assistant Director

Dan Wool

Song

Harry Wowchuk

Stunts

Film Details

Also Known As
mort en prime
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Drama
Release Date
1984

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m

Articles

The Gist (Repo Man) - THE GIST


More than 25 years after its initial release, Repo Man (1984) lives up to its reputation as a cult comedy thanks to Alex Cox's imaginative script and a superb ensemble cast. As Roger Ebert wrote in his enthusiastic review in the Chicago Sun-Times, "It is the first movie I know about that combines (1) punk teenagers, (2) automobile repossessors, and (3) aliens from outer space." The underlying sophistication of the film's approach is suggested in the scene of Otto's torture: Cox's source of inspiration here was Stanley Milgram's notorious 1963 "obedience to authority" experiment in which unwitting test subjects were all-too-easily convinced to deliver electric shocks. At the same time, Repo Man is full of endlessly quotable dialogue; one of the better-known examples is when Otto's punk ex-girlfriend Debbi says, "Duke, let's go do some crimes" and Duke replies, "Yeah. Let's go get sushi and not pay." While the film satirizes the mindless conformism of suburbia, as embodied by Otto's zombie-like parents and the onscreen proliferation of generic canned goods, the film's punks hardly make out any better in the film's satire.

Born near Liverpool in 1954, Alex Cox initially studied law at Oxford and directed plays there before moving to the U.S. and studying film at UCLA. Cox recalls that the UCLA production program fostered a notably independent spirit; one of its graduates from that era, Charles Burnett, directed the landmark Killer of Sheep (1977) and the program's faculty included Shirley Clarke (The Connection, 1962). Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy, who worked as producers on the film, were classmates of Cox and had recently established a production company that made mostly television commercials. Mark Lewis, one of Cox's acquaintances, was an actual repo man, and Cox rode with him on several occasions. Many of the film's details come from Lewis's direct experiences: the repo man's risk of getting physically attacked or shot, the specific techniques of breaking into cars, and the ubiquitous Christmas tree-shaped air fresheners. During this time Cox also became involved in the L.A. punk scene, which plays a central role in Repo Man.

Cox initially conceived of the script as an adaptation of the William Burroughs story "Exterminator!" but very little of that material remains in the finished film. The script then developed into a low-budget road film, part of which entailed driving from Los Angeles to New Mexico. The project gained momentum when the ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith took an interest in the script. Nesmith had just written and produced the dirt bike/time travel film Timerider (1982), which displayed a similar off-kilter sensibility. In fact, the image of smoking boots left by a disintegrated cop in Repo Man is an affectionate homage to Nesmith's previous film. The actors Miguel Sandoval and Tracey Walter (who is unforgettable as Miller) also appeared in Timerider, underscoring the extent to which Nesmith's presence contributed to the ultimate success of Repo Man as a whole. In his autobiography, Cox notes that the script was initially rejected by Universal Pictures but Ken Kragen, Kenny Rogers' manager, was interested in representing Nesmith and convinced the executives at Universal to take it on.

Zander Schloss, who plays Otto's chump friend Kevin, was initially cast in the role but later replaced by Chris Penn, who was in turn replaced by Schloss again after only a day's worth of shooting. Schloss eventually joined the Circle Jerks, who appear in the film as the nightclub act, and played with the band for a number of years. The film's now-classic soundtrack also includes music by Los Plugz, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, and a title song by Iggy Pop. Also of note is the cinematography by Robbie Müller, best known for his collaborations with Wim Wenders such as Kings of the Road (1976) and The American Friend (1977). When Müller had to leave the production, his assistant Robert Richardson picked up the remaining shots. Richardson, of course, became one of the industry's leading cinematographers in his own right.

Universal's uncertainty about the very strange film they had on their hands was reflected in the advertising copy, which suggested more of an urban action film than a sci-fi punk comedy. Beginning in February 1984, the film was test-marketed in Chicago and several other cities. It didn't open in Los Angeles until May, but Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times embraced it as "fresh, virulently funny, with an eye on life that's as offbeat as the Beatles movies." She later ranked it as one of the top ten films of the year.

Executive Producer: Michael Nesmith
Producers: Peter McCarthy, Jonathan Wacks and Gerald T. Olson
Director and Writer: Alex Cox
Director of Photography: Robby Müller, with additional photography by Robert Richardson
Music: Steven Hufsteter and Tito Larriva, with songs by The Plugz, Iggy Pop (title song), Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Juicy Bananas
Film Editing: Dennis Dolan
Art Direction: Lynda Burbank and J. Rae Fox
Costume Design: Theda DeRamus
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton (Bud); Emilio Estevez (Otto); Fox Harris (J. Frank Parnell); Tracey Walter (Miller); Sy Richardson (Lite); Tom Finnegan (Oly); Richard Foronjy (Plettschner); Olivia Barash (Leila); Zander Schloss (Kevin); Del Zamora (Lagarto); Eddie Velez (Napo); Susan Barnes (Agent Rogersz); Jennifer Balgobin (Debbi); Dick Rude (Duke); Miguel Sandoval (Archie); Vonetta McGee (Marlene); Bruce White (Reverent Larry); Biff Yeager (Agent B).
C-92m.

by James Steffen

Sources:
Barber, Chris and Jack Sargeant. No Focus: Punk on Film. London: Headpress, 2006.
Benson, Sheila. Review of Repo Man. Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1984, p. E1.
Cox, Alex. Repo Man. Edited by Dick Rude. (Boston and London: Faber and Faber, 1988).
Cox, Alex. X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker. London: I. B. Tauris, 2008.
Xavier Mendik. "Repo Man: reclaiming the spirit of punk with Alex Cox," in New Punk Cinema, ed. Nicholas Rombes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 193-203.

The Gist (Repo Man) - The Gist

The Gist (Repo Man) - THE GIST

More than 25 years after its initial release, Repo Man (1984) lives up to its reputation as a cult comedy thanks to Alex Cox's imaginative script and a superb ensemble cast. As Roger Ebert wrote in his enthusiastic review in the Chicago Sun-Times, "It is the first movie I know about that combines (1) punk teenagers, (2) automobile repossessors, and (3) aliens from outer space." The underlying sophistication of the film's approach is suggested in the scene of Otto's torture: Cox's source of inspiration here was Stanley Milgram's notorious 1963 "obedience to authority" experiment in which unwitting test subjects were all-too-easily convinced to deliver electric shocks. At the same time, Repo Man is full of endlessly quotable dialogue; one of the better-known examples is when Otto's punk ex-girlfriend Debbi says, "Duke, let's go do some crimes" and Duke replies, "Yeah. Let's go get sushi and not pay." While the film satirizes the mindless conformism of suburbia, as embodied by Otto's zombie-like parents and the onscreen proliferation of generic canned goods, the film's punks hardly make out any better in the film's satire. Born near Liverpool in 1954, Alex Cox initially studied law at Oxford and directed plays there before moving to the U.S. and studying film at UCLA. Cox recalls that the UCLA production program fostered a notably independent spirit; one of its graduates from that era, Charles Burnett, directed the landmark Killer of Sheep (1977) and the program's faculty included Shirley Clarke (The Connection, 1962). Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy, who worked as producers on the film, were classmates of Cox and had recently established a production company that made mostly television commercials. Mark Lewis, one of Cox's acquaintances, was an actual repo man, and Cox rode with him on several occasions. Many of the film's details come from Lewis's direct experiences: the repo man's risk of getting physically attacked or shot, the specific techniques of breaking into cars, and the ubiquitous Christmas tree-shaped air fresheners. During this time Cox also became involved in the L.A. punk scene, which plays a central role in Repo Man. Cox initially conceived of the script as an adaptation of the William Burroughs story "Exterminator!" but very little of that material remains in the finished film. The script then developed into a low-budget road film, part of which entailed driving from Los Angeles to New Mexico. The project gained momentum when the ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith took an interest in the script. Nesmith had just written and produced the dirt bike/time travel film Timerider (1982), which displayed a similar off-kilter sensibility. In fact, the image of smoking boots left by a disintegrated cop in Repo Man is an affectionate homage to Nesmith's previous film. The actors Miguel Sandoval and Tracey Walter (who is unforgettable as Miller) also appeared in Timerider, underscoring the extent to which Nesmith's presence contributed to the ultimate success of Repo Man as a whole. In his autobiography, Cox notes that the script was initially rejected by Universal Pictures but Ken Kragen, Kenny Rogers' manager, was interested in representing Nesmith and convinced the executives at Universal to take it on. Zander Schloss, who plays Otto's chump friend Kevin, was initially cast in the role but later replaced by Chris Penn, who was in turn replaced by Schloss again after only a day's worth of shooting. Schloss eventually joined the Circle Jerks, who appear in the film as the nightclub act, and played with the band for a number of years. The film's now-classic soundtrack also includes music by Los Plugz, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, and a title song by Iggy Pop. Also of note is the cinematography by Robbie Müller, best known for his collaborations with Wim Wenders such as Kings of the Road (1976) and The American Friend (1977). When Müller had to leave the production, his assistant Robert Richardson picked up the remaining shots. Richardson, of course, became one of the industry's leading cinematographers in his own right. Universal's uncertainty about the very strange film they had on their hands was reflected in the advertising copy, which suggested more of an urban action film than a sci-fi punk comedy. Beginning in February 1984, the film was test-marketed in Chicago and several other cities. It didn't open in Los Angeles until May, but Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times embraced it as "fresh, virulently funny, with an eye on life that's as offbeat as the Beatles movies." She later ranked it as one of the top ten films of the year. Executive Producer: Michael Nesmith Producers: Peter McCarthy, Jonathan Wacks and Gerald T. Olson Director and Writer: Alex Cox Director of Photography: Robby Müller, with additional photography by Robert Richardson Music: Steven Hufsteter and Tito Larriva, with songs by The Plugz, Iggy Pop (title song), Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Juicy Bananas Film Editing: Dennis Dolan Art Direction: Lynda Burbank and J. Rae Fox Costume Design: Theda DeRamus Cast: Harry Dean Stanton (Bud); Emilio Estevez (Otto); Fox Harris (J. Frank Parnell); Tracey Walter (Miller); Sy Richardson (Lite); Tom Finnegan (Oly); Richard Foronjy (Plettschner); Olivia Barash (Leila); Zander Schloss (Kevin); Del Zamora (Lagarto); Eddie Velez (Napo); Susan Barnes (Agent Rogersz); Jennifer Balgobin (Debbi); Dick Rude (Duke); Miguel Sandoval (Archie); Vonetta McGee (Marlene); Bruce White (Reverent Larry); Biff Yeager (Agent B). C-92m. by James Steffen Sources: Barber, Chris and Jack Sargeant. No Focus: Punk on Film. London: Headpress, 2006. Benson, Sheila. Review of Repo Man. Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1984, p. E1. Cox, Alex. Repo Man. Edited by Dick Rude. (Boston and London: Faber and Faber, 1988). Cox, Alex. X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker. London: I. B. Tauris, 2008. Xavier Mendik. "Repo Man: reclaiming the spirit of punk with Alex Cox," in New Punk Cinema, ed. Nicholas Rombes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), 193-203.

Repo Man (Collector's Edition) - Repo Man - The DVD Collector's Edition of the 1984 Cult Favorite!


Hey, here's a change: a DVD re-release that actually improves on previous versions of a movie. It's the new Repo Man "collector's edition" disc. Anchor Bay had put out a nifty Repo Man disc in 2000, including a limited edition version that came in a tin case with a cover that looked like a California license plate and showed great respect for writer-director Alex Cox's satire, one of the few American post-punk movies. But even Anchor Bay's disc was conspicuously free of deleted scenes, even those that Cox had inserted into the TV version of the movie, since the cleaned-up theatrical version of his tale of a "white, suburban punk" (Emilio Estevez) who becomes a car repossessor came in at only 55 minutes.

Liverpool native Cox's 1984 absurdist comedy is one of the more fertile peeks into America through a foreigner's eyes. His story is populated by bizarre tribes: punks, repo men, federal agents, UFO watchers, unseen yet still potent dead extraterrestrials. In Cox's Los Angeles, it's as if these weirdos are the only ones who stand out against the bland background of Reagan-era "morning in America" uniformity. A crazed scientist (Fox Harris), his 1964 Chevy Malibu, dead extraterrestrials, a screwy janitor (Tracey Walter) and a neutron bomb—the perfect symbol of the victory of property over people—all figure in the story, which Universal had no regard for back in 1984. After a change in studio regimes there, Universal orphaned the movie and it gained an audience only thanks to the film bookers who begged for the right to open it or play it at midnight shows.

None of the newly-available deleted scenes are lost treasures, and they're presented in a questionable format in which Cox watches most of them with neutron bomb inventor Sam Cohen (a fan of the movie), with the two trading comments between the scenes. But there are some amusing moments in these cut scenes, like grizzled Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) referring to referring to fellow repo man Oly (Tom Finnegan) as a "melon farmer," a term he uses for real here but that was apparently dubbed over more salty epithets on the soundtrack of the TV version. In the additional action there's also a line that would have no doubt joined the movie's pantheon of quotable lines. That's when scientist Parnell is in search of vending machines and says, "Vended food contains all necessary nutrients for survival."

That featurette, called The Missing Scenes, isn't the only new addition to the 2006 disc. Producer Peter McCarthy visits Harry Dean Stanton, who played the repo man who imparts a "Repo Code" on Estevez's character, in Up Close with Harry Dean Stanton. He finds Stanton in a typically cantankerous, yet supremely spiritual mood. Most of the conversation covers Stanton's belief that "everything is predestined." McCarthy surely doesn't set out to make this the topic of conversation, but it becomes so when Stanton answers any questions about his career choices and his life's journey by denying the role of individual will and likening life on earth to a movie or a dream. It's actually very provocative to hear Stanton talk of his views, drawn mostly from eastern philosophies. Typical of the mood is McCarthy coaxing Stanton into singing a round of Row Row Row Your Boat with him, to take advantage of Stanton's "life is but a dream" sentiments.

Cox, McCarthy and Repo Man's other producer, Jonathan Wacks, gather for the other new extra, Repossessed. This 25-minute roundtable finds them trading anecdotes and recollections about making the movie, many of them rather interesting. These include the difficulty of getting a script to Estevez, resistance from the agents of both Estevez and Stanton and friction between Stanton and Cox, also acknowledged in the Stanton featurette.

Like the group audio commentary that's carried over from previous discs (featuring Cox and executive producer Michael Nesmith), Repossessed also celebrates happy accidents, in this case the movie's use of generic foods as props. That was born of necessity, we learn, because no name brands would deal with the producers and because they found a supermarket chain that had a warehouse full of generic products that were past their expiration dates. Cinematographer Robby Muller's contributions to the look and feel of the film also come up. Without Muller's striking visual compositions, it's unlikely Cox could say this of his movie, when asked by Wacks to classify it: "It's sort of a comedy. But we also hoped that if you looked at a still from it, it would look like a serious film. Like Kiss Me Deadly made in color."

For more information about Repo Man, visit Universal Home Video. To order Repo Man, go to TCM Shopping.

by Paul Sherman

Repo Man (Collector's Edition) - Repo Man - The DVD Collector's Edition of the 1984 Cult Favorite!

Hey, here's a change: a DVD re-release that actually improves on previous versions of a movie. It's the new Repo Man "collector's edition" disc. Anchor Bay had put out a nifty Repo Man disc in 2000, including a limited edition version that came in a tin case with a cover that looked like a California license plate and showed great respect for writer-director Alex Cox's satire, one of the few American post-punk movies. But even Anchor Bay's disc was conspicuously free of deleted scenes, even those that Cox had inserted into the TV version of the movie, since the cleaned-up theatrical version of his tale of a "white, suburban punk" (Emilio Estevez) who becomes a car repossessor came in at only 55 minutes. Liverpool native Cox's 1984 absurdist comedy is one of the more fertile peeks into America through a foreigner's eyes. His story is populated by bizarre tribes: punks, repo men, federal agents, UFO watchers, unseen yet still potent dead extraterrestrials. In Cox's Los Angeles, it's as if these weirdos are the only ones who stand out against the bland background of Reagan-era "morning in America" uniformity. A crazed scientist (Fox Harris), his 1964 Chevy Malibu, dead extraterrestrials, a screwy janitor (Tracey Walter) and a neutron bomb—the perfect symbol of the victory of property over people—all figure in the story, which Universal had no regard for back in 1984. After a change in studio regimes there, Universal orphaned the movie and it gained an audience only thanks to the film bookers who begged for the right to open it or play it at midnight shows. None of the newly-available deleted scenes are lost treasures, and they're presented in a questionable format in which Cox watches most of them with neutron bomb inventor Sam Cohen (a fan of the movie), with the two trading comments between the scenes. But there are some amusing moments in these cut scenes, like grizzled Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) referring to referring to fellow repo man Oly (Tom Finnegan) as a "melon farmer," a term he uses for real here but that was apparently dubbed over more salty epithets on the soundtrack of the TV version. In the additional action there's also a line that would have no doubt joined the movie's pantheon of quotable lines. That's when scientist Parnell is in search of vending machines and says, "Vended food contains all necessary nutrients for survival." That featurette, called The Missing Scenes, isn't the only new addition to the 2006 disc. Producer Peter McCarthy visits Harry Dean Stanton, who played the repo man who imparts a "Repo Code" on Estevez's character, in Up Close with Harry Dean Stanton. He finds Stanton in a typically cantankerous, yet supremely spiritual mood. Most of the conversation covers Stanton's belief that "everything is predestined." McCarthy surely doesn't set out to make this the topic of conversation, but it becomes so when Stanton answers any questions about his career choices and his life's journey by denying the role of individual will and likening life on earth to a movie or a dream. It's actually very provocative to hear Stanton talk of his views, drawn mostly from eastern philosophies. Typical of the mood is McCarthy coaxing Stanton into singing a round of Row Row Row Your Boat with him, to take advantage of Stanton's "life is but a dream" sentiments. Cox, McCarthy and Repo Man's other producer, Jonathan Wacks, gather for the other new extra, Repossessed. This 25-minute roundtable finds them trading anecdotes and recollections about making the movie, many of them rather interesting. These include the difficulty of getting a script to Estevez, resistance from the agents of both Estevez and Stanton and friction between Stanton and Cox, also acknowledged in the Stanton featurette. Like the group audio commentary that's carried over from previous discs (featuring Cox and executive producer Michael Nesmith), Repossessed also celebrates happy accidents, in this case the movie's use of generic foods as props. That was born of necessity, we learn, because no name brands would deal with the producers and because they found a supermarket chain that had a warehouse full of generic products that were past their expiration dates. Cinematographer Robby Muller's contributions to the look and feel of the film also come up. Without Muller's striking visual compositions, it's unlikely Cox could say this of his movie, when asked by Wacks to classify it: "It's sort of a comedy. But we also hoped that if you looked at a still from it, it would look like a serious film. Like Kiss Me Deadly made in color." For more information about Repo Man, visit Universal Home Video. To order Repo Man, go to TCM Shopping. by Paul Sherman

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 2014

Released in United States May 1984

Released in United States Spring May 1, 1984

Re-released in United States on Video August 3, 1994

Formerly distributed by MCA Home Video.

Completed shooting January 1984.

Released in United States 2014 (Retro)

Released in United States May 1984 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States Spring May 1, 1984

Released in USA on laserdisc December 1988.

Re-released in United States on Video August 3, 1994