6.3/10
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Sharky's Machine (1981)

Tom Sharky is demoted to vice after a bust goes terribly wrong. He and his team stumble across a mob murder tied to prostitution and government.

Director:

Burt Reynolds

Writers:

William Diehl (novel), Gerald Di Pego (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Director: Harley Cokeliss
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, Kenneth McMillan
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Sharky
Vittorio Gassman ... Victor
Brian Keith ... Papa
Charles Durning ... Friscoe
Earl Holliman ... Hotchkins
Bernie Casey ... Arch
Henry Silva ... Billy Score
Richard Libertini ... Nosh
Darryl Hickman ... Smiley
Rachel Ward ... Dominoe
Joseph Mascolo ... Joe Tipps
Carol Locatell ... Mabel
Hari Rhodes ... Highball Mary
John Fiedler ... Barrett
James O'Connell ... Twigs
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Storyline

Tom Sharky is a narcotics cop in Atlanta who's demoted to vice after a botched bust. In the depths of this lowly division, while investigating a high-dollar prostitution ring, Sharky stumbles across a mob murder with government ties, and responds by assembling his downtrodden fellow investigators (Sharky's "machine") to find the leaders and bring them to justice before they kill off all his partners and witnesses, including Sharky himself. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some cops are good at opening cases. Sharky knows how to finish one. [Video] See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sharky's Machine See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,022,041, 20 December 1981

Gross USA:

$35,610,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,610,100
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Clint Eastwood made the comedy Every Which Way but Loose (1978), Burt Reynolds reportedly said to him, "Clint, you're getting into my territory [comedy], and if it's a success, I'm going out and make 'Dirty Harry Goes to Atlanta'!". When Sharky's Machine (1981) went into production, Eastwood sent a telegram to Reynolds saying, "You really weren't kidding, were you?" Reynolds has described this movie as 'Dirty Harry Goes to Atlanta' whilst many reviewers and critics have likened it to the 'Dirty Harry' film series. See more »

Goofs

When the killer shoots the shotgun through the door, the hole is jagged and oddly shaped, as it would be. Later, when the detectives are at the crime scene, the hole is perfectly round with smooth edges. See more »

Quotes

Dominoe: This is all you know, isn't it? Pushing, hitting, and punching! Does it make you feel good or something?
Sharky: Sometimes, yes!
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions are briefly cut by 9 seconds to edit some shots of nunchakus (although they remain clearly visible in other scenes). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Malvo (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Before You
Performed by Sarah Vaughan and Joe Williams
by Cliff Crofford (as C. Crofford), John Durrill (as J. Durrill) & Snuff Garrett (as S. Garrett)
Miss Vaughan courtesy Pablo Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A pretty well-oiled machine.
29 December 2002 | by Poseidon-3See all my reviews

In a departure from his customary late '70's/early '80's fare (and sporting a new, close-cropped toupee), Reynolds directed and starred in this tough, lurid crime drama. He plays a narcotics cop who, after slightly botching a drug bust, is demoted to the vice squad. Here, he becomes involved in the surveillance of a high-priced call girl (Ward) who is linked to a gubernatorial candidate (Holliman.) This leads to all sorts of violence and intrigue as it is discovered that the call girl is but one piece in a puzzle of corruption and criminal behavior. Reynolds does a decent job, both in the director's chair and in front of the camera. He wisely surrounds himself with an array of strong character actors and gives each of them the opportunity to register with the audience. His familiar brands of charm & sarcasm are present, but in a much more toned down way. Casey gets one of his most significant big screen roles, Keith has a few amusing moments and Durning bellows and mouths off in his enjoyable, expected way. Gassman is an appropriately sleazy crime lord and Silva is a chilling (if sometimes unintentionally funny) assassin. Ward's performance is a matter of taste. Many viewers are swept away by her looks and find her acting strong. Others see her as pretty, but unspectacular as an actress. In either case, this was a major showcase for her which did not translate to a major big screen career. Drawbacks of the film include a muddled storyline in which the bad guys' motivations aren't made particularly clear. Also, the sound effects and the blaring song score are cranked up much higher than the dialogue which makes for an uncomfortable audio situation. There is some nice aerial photography, notably containing shots of Atlanta's Peach Tree Tower. The music varies from classic tunes by top talent to loud, horrific and agonizing "music" by inferior singers whose voices are almost as bad as Reynold's torture on the boat. Though the film is engrossing and stylish, just a nip and tuck along the way would have made it even better.


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