Pocket Money

Pocket Money

Pocket Money is a 1972 film directed by Stuart Rosenberg from a screenplay written by Terrence Malick. The movie stars Paul Newman and Lee Marvin and takes place in 1970s Arizona and Northern Mexico. Broke and in debt, an otherwise honest cowboy (Newman) gets mixed up in some shady dealings with a crooked rancher (played by Strother Martin, who also played colorful supporting roles in Newman's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Harper,Cool Hand Luke and Slap Shot).

Role in the history of film

It is an important 'divider' between what could be termed 'the Western era' and the 'post-Western era' in American cinemology. Other films with the status of Western genre divider include the Western films of Clint Eastwood and some films by Robert Altman including Nashville and 3 Women, his first major commercial release. The genre of Western has been subsumed in part by the Country music and music video genre. Some Australian films such as The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Mad Max work well as Westerns.

Pocket Money is important because it is the only one of the films listed above that represents the American West as it exist(ed) at the time of the filming. Thus it is important as a reference point in understanding the very many classic Western movies that also represent actual life in the American West. The Australian movies and the Clint Eastwood Westerns listed here, as well as parts of very many other movies including Star Wars movies and films such as Holes, are only partially Westerns, or are relatively fantastical and/or story-like instead of being verite and genre-self-conscious in terms of their nature as Westerns.


Paul Newman ... Jim Kane
Lee Marvin ... Leonard
Strother Martin ... Bill Garrett
Wayne Rogers ... Stretch Russell
Hector Elizondo ... Juan
Christine Belford ... Adelita
Kelly Jean Peters ... Sharon (Kane's ex-wife)
Gregory Sierra ... Guerro Chavarin (as Gregg Sierra)
Fred Graham ... Uncle Herb
Matt Clark ... American prisoner
Claudio Miranda ... Manisterio Publico
Terrence Malick ... Worksman


One of Paul Newman's demands is that he gets to spend an hour each morning on location in a sauna. That is why his character in the film uses the shower steam to create a sauna early in the story.

Based on a novel called "Jim Kane", that was the working title of the film. The title was changed to take the emphasis off one character and to stress the partnership of Paul Newman and Lee Marvin.

External links

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