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Directed by Peter Hyams
Produced by Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written by Peter Hyams
Starring Elliott Gould
Robert Blake
Allen Garfield
Antonio Fargas
Sid Haig
Michael Lerner
Music by Billy Goldenberg
Cinematography Earl Rath
Edited by James Mitchell
Release date
  • 1974 (1974)
Running time
91 min.
Country United States
Language English

Busting is a 1974 film directed by Peter Hyams, starring Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as Los Angeles police detectives. This film was the main inspiration for the television show Starsky & Hutch, launched in 1975.

Plot summary[edit]

The film is episodic, depicting the two vice-squad detectives teaming on several different cases, with varying degrees of success. The focus changes to them trying to bust one man, an LA crime kingpin named Carl Rizzo (Allen Garfield), whom they believe to be responsible for much of the criminal activity they have been investigating.

The film is extremely cynical, strongly implying that crime does pay and that the biggest criminals in society are corrupt politicians and businessmen who will never be punished for their crimes. The film ends with an unusual soundtrack flashforward. While we see Keneely (Gould) attempting to arrest a powerful figure who will ultimately walk free, we also hear something which hasn't happened yet: Keneely quitting the police force and applying for a civilian job.

Busting is similar to the movie Freebie and the Bean, although the latter was more comedic and was actually delayed in release so the two films would not directly compete. Busting did not do as well at the box office as Freebie and the Bean, arguably due to its more cynical style and tone.



Hyams was able to make the film off the back of the success of his TV movie, Goodnight, My Love. "I’d made a TV movie of the week that people had liked, and people started coming after me," he recalled. "The producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler came to me and said they wanted to do a film about vice cops. I said okay, and spent about six months researching it."[1]

Hyams later said "like a journalist, I went around to New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles and spoke with hookers, pimps, strippers and cops and DAs. Every episode in the film was true."[2]


The film was not a popular success.[2]


External links[edit]