Mr. Billion

Mr. Billion is a 1977 action comedy/action-adventure film[3][4] directed by Jonathan Kaplan notable as the Hollywood debut of Terence Hill.

Mr. Billion
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Kaplan
StarringTerence Hill
Valerie Perrine
Jackie Gleason
Slim Pickens
William Redfield
Chill Wills
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyMatthew Leonetti
Edited byO. Nicholas Brown
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 3, 1977 (1977-03-03)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,300,000 (rentals)[2]


Guido Falcone (Terence Hill), an easygoing Italian mechanic, is heir to a billion-dollar inheritance after his uncle dies in a freak accident. In order to claim his inheritance, he must reach San Francisco within twenty days to sign a document. His uncle's greedy assistant John Cutler (Jackie Gleason) wants the money for himself, and hires a female detective (Valerie Perrine) to prevent him from reaching his goal.[5]



The film was the idea of Dino de Laurentiis, who wanted to introduce Terence Hill, at that time one of the biggest movie stars in Europe, to American audiences. He signed director Jonathan Kaplan, just coming off the successful White Line Fever.

Kaplan says production was difficult - he wanted to cast Lily Tomlin but the studio insisted on Valerie Perrine. Shooting took place in Italy. Kaplan says the highlight was working with Jackie Gleason; despite his drinking problem, Kaplan says he could sober up Gleason by doing old routines from The Honeymooners and getting laughs from the crew.[6]


Mr. Billion was a major financial flop and Kaplan calls it the biggest failure of his career.[6] In a retrospective review, the critic Keith Bailey called it "yet another case of Hollywood bringing a foreign actor in, and getting him to do different material than what made him famous in the first place".[7]


  1. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258
  2. Solomon, pg 233.
  3. "Mr. Billion (1977)". Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  4. "Mr. Billion (The Windfall)". Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  6. Jonathan Kaplan on Mr. Billion at Trailers From Hell

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