The End (1978 film)

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The End
The End (1978).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Burt Reynolds
Produced by Lawrence Gordon
Written by Jerry Belson
Starring Burt Reynolds
Dom DeLuise
Music by Paul Williams
Cinematography Bobby Byrne
Edited by Donn Cambern
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • May 10, 1978 (1978-05-10)
Running time
100 min
Country United States
Box office $44,917,151[1]

The End is a 1978 black comedy-buddy film, directed by and starring Burt Reynolds.

The cast also features Dom DeLuise, Sally Field, Strother Martin, David Steinberg, Joanne Woodward, Norman Fell, Myrna Loy, Kristy McNichol, Pat O'Brien, Robby Benson, and Carl Reiner. The screenplay is by Jerry Belson, with music by Paul Williams.


California real-estate salesman Wendell "Sonny" Lawson (Burt Reynolds) is informed by his doctor (Norman Fell) that he's dying from a rare toxic blood disease and has six months to live. Not wanting to endure the inevitable pain, nor wanting to spend his last days in a hospital bed, he decides to take his own life.

Sonny decides to resolve several issues with his friends, family and God. He first goes to a church to make a long overdue confession, only to have it heard by a very young, inexperienced priest (Robby Benson). Sonny then makes one last visit to each of his loved ones. He discovers that girlfriend Mary Ellen (Sally Field), ex-wife Jessie (Joanne Woodward), daughter Julie (Kristy McNichol), and his parents (Myrna Loy and Pat O'Brien) are too absorbed in their own problems to pay him any attention.

After a failed suicide attempt with pills, Lawson ends up at a psychiatric hospital. There he befriends a disturbed fellow patient, Marlon Borunki (Dom DeLuise), who agrees to help in Sonny's quest to end it all. What follows are several more botched suicide attempts, including Sonny trying to hold his breath, crack open his head with his adjustable hospital bed, jump off a tower, and hang himself, all with Marlon's inept attempts to help.

Sonny finally decides to escape from the hospital and do it on his own. He drives to a secluded beach, swims out into the ocean and intends to drown. But as he sinks, Sonny begins feeling guilty of abandoning his daughter. Now with a passionate will to live, Sonny swims back, making promises to God along the way that he begins to break as soon as he gets close to shore.

Relieved to be alive, Sonny discovers to his horror that Marlon has followed him to the beach, knowing Sonny would chicken out. Marlon begins shooting a gun at him, thinking he is doing his friend a favor. Narrowly escaping, Sonny is finally able to convince a befuddled Marlon that he wants to live.

The two of them happily walk along the beach, but Marlon suddenly pulls out a knife and chases Sonny down the shoreline. For one or both men, this could be The End.[2]



  1. ^ "The End, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (2012-06-05). "''New York Times'' overview of film". Retrieved 2012-11-01. 

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