Pocket Money

Pocket Money is a 1972 film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, from a screenplay written by Terrence Malick and based on the 1970 novel Jim Kane by J.P.S. Brown. The movie stars Paul Newman and Lee Marvin and takes place in 1970s Arizona and northern Mexico.

Pocket Money
Theatrical poster.
Directed byStuart Rosenberg
Produced byJohn Foreman
Screenplay byTerrence Malick
Based onJim Kane
by J.P.S. Brown
StarringPaul Newman,
Lee Marvin,
Strother Martin
Music byAlex North
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byBob Wyman
First Artists
Distributed byNational General Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 1972 (1972-02-14) (U.S.)
Running time
102 mins.
CountryUnited States

The song "Pocket Money" is composed and performed by Carole King. Portions of the film were shot at Southwestern Studios in Carefree, Arizona, a facility originally built by cast member Fred Graham.

According to co-star Wayne Rogers in an episode of “Pop Goes the Culture,” Newman and Marvin did not get along especially well during production. [1] This was one of three films that Newman, Rogers, and Rosenberg made together, the others being Cool Hand Luke (1967) and WUSA (1970).


Broke and in debt, an otherwise honest cowboy known as Jim Kane (Newman) gets mixed up in some shady dealings with Stretch Russell (Rogers) and Bill Garrett (Martin), a crooked rancher. Russell tells Kane to escort 200 head of cattle from Mexico to the United States for a good sum of money. Kane agrees and brings along his friend Leonard (Marvin) to aid him. Unfortunately, the two come upon many unexpected events that often deter them from completing their job.


Paul Newman ... Jim Kane
Lee Marvin ... Leonard
Strother Martin ... Bill Garrett
Wayne Rogers ... Stretch Russell
Hector Elizondo ... Juan
Christine Belford ... Adelita
Kelly Jean Peters ... Sharon (Kane's ex-wife)
Gregg Sierra ... Guerro Chavarin
Fred Graham ... Uncle Herb
Matt Clark ... American prisoner
Claudio Miranda ... Manisterio Publico
Terrence Malick ... Worksman


Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "The movie seems to be going for a highly mannered, elliptical, enigmatic style, and it gets there. We don't."[2] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film zero stars out of four and called the performances by the two leads "completely self-indulgent," suggesting that "Maybe Newman and Marvin made it because they wanted to go slumming in Mexico for two weeks. On that basis, 'Pocket Money' can be considered a 35-millimeter home movie of what Paul Newman and Lee Marvin did last summer."[3] Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "a fragmented, far-from-great movie, and it won't change cinema history, but in its own odd fashion it celebrates humdrum lives without ever resorting to patronizing artifice."[4] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Newman and Marvin had "found precisely the right material to enable them not only to play off each other but also to shine individually. This delightful contemporary comedy-western in fact is that most precious of commodities these days: a movie that actually cheers you up and leaves you feeling better when you come out than when you went in."[5]

TV Guide wrote in a retrospective review, “Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand, Steve McQueen, and Dustin Hoffman formed First Artists, and this was their premier offering. It wasn't as terrible a movie as the first reviews of it indicated, but since so much was expected, anything less than brilliance was a letdown.” [6] The film currently has a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

See also


  1. "Mash's Wayne Rogers- Pop Goes The Culture – Part 4 of 5". YouTube. Alphabet Inc. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  2. Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Siskel, Gene (February 15, 1972). "Murmur of the ..." Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 5.
  4. Canby, Vincent (April 20, 1972). "Paul Newman and Lee Marvin in 'Pocket Money'". The New York Times. 50.
  5. Thomas, Kevin (February 10, 1972). "Newman, Marvin Team Up". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 19.
  6. "Pocket Money". TV Guide. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  7. "Pocket Money". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
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