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The Nickel Ride (1974)

PG | | Crime, Drama | 15 January 1975 (USA)
2:34 | Trailer
Small-time criminal Cooper manages several warehouses in Los Angeles that the mob use to stash their stolen goods. Known as "the key man" for the key chain he always keeps on his person ... See full summary »


Robert Mulligan


Eric Roth
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jason Miller ... Cooper
Linda Haynes ... Sarah
Victor French ... Paddie
John Hillerman ... Carl
Bo Hopkins ... Turner
Richard Evans ... Bobby
Bart Burns ... Elias
Lou Frizzell Lou Frizzell ... Paulie
Mark Gordon Mark Gordon ... Tonozzi
Harvey Gold ... Chester
Lee de Broux ... Harry


Small-time criminal Cooper manages several warehouses in Los Angeles that the mob use to stash their stolen goods. Known as "the key man" for the key chain he always keeps on his person that can unlock all the warehouses, Cooper is assigned by the local syndicate to negotiate a deal for a new warehouse because the mob has run out of storage space. However, Cooper's superior Carl gets nervous and decides to have cocky cowboy button man Turner keep an eye on Cooper. Written by Woodyanders

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Nightmare Was Over... Or Had It Just Begun! See more »


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 January 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre clave See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996. See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox logo is shown in black and white. See more »


The Nickel Ride Theme
Written by Dave Grusin and Peggy Lee
See more »

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User Reviews

Trying to ride out the storm
25 March 2005 | by sol1218See all my reviews

(Spoiler Alert) If it wasn't for Jason Miller's smoldering performance as the troubled paranoid and eventually doomed L.A mobster Cooper the movie "The Nickel Ride" would just die on the screen as soon as the opening credits stopped rolling.

Playing a low-level hood involved in the storage of stolen mob merchandise, at a warehouse complex that he runs in the city, Cooper is no longer of any use to his new mob bosses. Cooper's bosses now feel that his old ways of doing things is just not cutting it in this modern era of organized crime.

After 19 years on the job and being the best at it Coop's days are numbered as the syndicated is now planning to have him retired permanently. With his immediate boss Carl, John Hllerman, feeding him this line of bull about how he's falling behind in his work and now his mob boss want an even bigger piece of his cut from his storage and selling business. Carl comes to an agreement with Cooper on his payoff to the head mobsters to be increased from $8,500.00 to just under $20,000.00.

Things just don't seem to be going right for Cooper senses that somehow he's being set up for a "Hit" and all this talk about him not coming through for his mob bosses is really a diversion to keep him from realizing that. They don't really care how his operation, or block, is going they just want him to have Cooper drop his guard in order to have him whacked and then replaced.

Cooper get a message, of sorts, when his friend Paulie, Lou Frizzeli, who manages boxer Tonozzi, Mark Gordon, ends up murdered because he couldn't get his boxer to throw a fight that the mob bet heavy on for Tonozzi to lose. Feeling he still has his "touch" with the mob bosses Cooper did his best to call the "Hit" on Paulie off. When he got the bad news about Paulie from the hoodlum who "Hit" him Bobby, Richard Evens, Cooper getting him alone on an elevator almost kills him! This convinced his bosses from Carl on up that he's not suitable in their new reconstructed business and has to go.

Being introduced by Carl to his out-of-town driver Turner, Bo Hopkins, who's always in Cooper's face and obnoxious to the point where Cooper has nightmares about him being the "hit-man" sent by the new mob bosses to do him in. Cooper tries to get in touch with an old associate of his Elias, Bart Burns,to meet him outside of the city at his country home in a desperate attempt to stave off the "Hit" that he feels that's coming. In the end Cooper sees that all his fear and paranoia had some truth to it with Elias never showing up. With Cooper and his girlfriend Shara, Linda Haynes, now alone in the woods Turner, in Cooper's mind, seems to be behind every tree and ready to finish him as well as Shara off.

Surreal and dark thriller that has a number of fine twists and turns in it but it's obvious from the start that the dye was cast and Cooper was to become history by the time the movie ends. There were a number of off-beat moments in the film that didn't seem to make much sense with a dream sequence involving Turner at Cooper's country home that to me came across like an alternate ending that was left in the movie by its director by mistake.

The actual ending in the film with Turner and Cooper at his office in L.A was also very hard to accept since it made the sly and methodical Turner come across unbelievably unprofessional as a professional hit-man.

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