Getting Straight

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Getting Straight
Getting straight.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Rush
Produced by Richard Rush
Written by Robert Kaufman
Ken Kolb
Starring Elliott Gould
Candice Bergen
Jeff Corey
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by Maury Winetrobe
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 13, 1970 (1970-05-13) (U.S.)
  • July 31, 1970 (1970-07-31) (Finland)
  • September 10, 1977 (1977-09-10) (Spain)
Running time
124 mins
Country United States
Language English
Box office $13,300,000[1]

Getting Straight is a 1970 American comedy-drama motion picture directed by Richard Rush, released by Columbia Pictures.

The story centered upon student politics at a university in the early 1970s, seen through the eyes of non-conformist graduate student Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould). Also featured in the cast were Candice Bergen as Bailey's girlfriend, Jeff Corey as Bailey's professor and Harrison Ford as his anti social friend.

Getting Straight was released in an era of change and unrest in the United States in the early 1970s, and was in a long line of films that dealt with these themes. Other films of this period with similar themes were Medium Cool (1969), R. P. M. (1970), and The Strawberry Statement (1970).


Harry Bailey, a former student activist and post-graduate, comes back to university to complete an education course to become a teacher. He tries to avoid the increasing student unrest that has surfaced, but finds this difficult as his girlfriend, Jan, is a leader in these protests.

Over time, student demonstrations bring police to the campus to quell the unrest, and the ensuing clashes lead to martial law. Harry is forced to question his values in relation to this. At the height of the rioting he concurs with Jan that "getting straight" is more important than unprotesting acceptance of the educational establishment.


The film's protagonist shares a name with a character from It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey's brother Harry, whose war service was a prominent subplot in the latter film.


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $13.3 million at the domestic box office,[1] earning $5.1 million in US theatrical rentals.[2] It was the 21st highest-grossing film of 1970.[3]

Critical reaction[edit]

Leonard Maltin noted that the film essentially was a "period piece" but that its "central issue of graduate student (Elliott) Gould choosing between academic double-talk and his beliefs remains relevant." On the other hand, Steven Scheuer wrote that the film was reflective of "hippiedom alienation at its shallowest."

Other reviewers, such as Roger Greenspun from The New York Times, were a little more complimentary in tone about the film. While he says that overall the film is "misguided" he lauded Gould for "a brilliant, mercurial performance" and that he "fires" the film "with a fervor and wonderful comic sense of reality."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Box Office Information for Getting Straight. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971, pg 11.
  3. ^ Top Grossing Films of 1970. Retrieved April 17, 2016.


  • Greenspun, Roger (1970) Getting Straight New York Times, May 14, 1970. (accessed 9 July 2007)
  • Maltin, Leonard (1991) Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 1992, Signet, New York.
  • Scheuer, Steven H. (1990) Movies on TV and Videocassette, Bamtam Books, New York.

External links[edit]