Heart Beat (film)

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For other films named Heartbeat, see Heartbeat (disambiguation).
Heart Beat
Heart Beat.jpg
Movie Poster
Directed by John Byrum
Produced by Michael Shamberg
Alan Greisman
David Axelrod
Edward R. Pressman
Written by Screenplay:
John Byrum
Carolyn Cassady
Starring Nick Nolte
Sissy Spacek
John Heard
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by Eric Jenkins
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
April 25, 1980 (USA)
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Box office $954,046

Heart Beat is a 1980 film written and directed by John Byrum, based on the autobiography by Carolyn Cassady.[1] The film is about seminal figures in the Beat Generation. The character of Ira, played by Ray Sharkey, is based on Allen Ginsberg.[2] The film stars Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek and John Heard.


The film explores the love triangle of real-life characters Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, and Carolyn Cassady in the late 1950s and the 1960s. It chronicles Jack Kerouac writing his seminal novel On the Road, and its effect on their lives.


Actor Role
Nick Nolte Neal Cassady
Sissy Spacek Carolyn Cassady
John Heard Jack Kerouac
Ray Sharkey Ira (based on Allen Ginsberg)[2]
Ann Dusenberry Stevie
Margaret Fairchild Mrs. Kerouac
John Larroquette TV Talk Show Host
David Lynch Painter
Tony Bill Dick

Critical reception[edit]

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2½ out of 4 stars and praised certain aspects of the film:

See also[edit]

  • On the Road, a 2012 film adaptation of Kerouac's novel of the same name


  1. ^ Cassady, Carolyn (July 1976). Heartbeat: My Life with Jack and Neal. Creative Arts Book Company. ISBN 978-0916870034. 
  2. ^ a b Brenner, Paul. "Heart Beat > Overview". AllMovie. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  3. ^ "Heart Beat :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1980-02-11. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 

External links[edit]