CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Action, Comedy
  • 1974
  • 113 mins

Freebie And The Bean

Freebie And The Bean

Synopsis

Buddy cops James Caan and Alan Arkin destroy vehicles and trade insults in an action comedy that's as entertaining as it is un-PC

About

Those old enough to remember a time called the 1970s may also recall that, way back then, it was considered perfectly alright to poke fun at minority groups. Black people, homosexuals, women - all were fair game when it came to comedy.

1974's Freebie And The Bean is rife with racism, homophobia and sexism. That it entertains rather than appalls is down to James Caan and Alan Arkin's brilliant badinage which, together with some excellent action sequences, ensure director Richard Rush's movie gets away with its detours into bad taste.

Caan and Arkin are, respectively, Freebie and the Bean, two San Francisco cops with penchants for killing innocent bystanders, causing fatal car-crashes and threatening their wives. When not flouting the law, they dedicate themselves to bringing down Red Meyers (Kruschen), a gangster they've been tailing for months.

Freebie And The Bean's plot actually feels like something of an after thought - the producers were clearly more concerned with packing their picture with action and laughs than ensuring that it made much sense. The leads' sublime showboating makes the storyline seem less important still. Anyone who's seen So I Married An Axe Murderer or Grosse Point Blank will be aware of Arkin's comedic gifts. Perennial tough guy Caan is also just as comfortable dishing out one-liners as he is throwing right-crosses. When the dynamic duo are in full swing, it's hard for anyone else to keep up, but Valerie Harper deserves kudos for her turn as Bean's cheating wife, as does M*A*S*H's Loretta Swit for her work as Meyers' old lady.

The veteran of biker movies such as Hells Angels On Wheels and The Savage Seven, Richard Rush is well-qualified to choreograph the action scenes. That he handles Caan and Arkin's sparring sessions with equal aplomb makes it all the sadder that in the decades since Freebie And The Bean came out, he's only directed two further movies.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Alan Arkin, Jack Kruschen, Mike Kellin, Loretta Swit, Paul Koslo, Valerie Harper, James Caan
  • Director: Richard Rush
  • Screen Writer: Robert Kaufman
  • Producer: Floyd Mutrux
  • Photographer: László Kovács
  • Composer: Dominic Frontiere

In a nutshell

Rush's movie can be enjoyed as kitsch, but it plays better as an early stab at a Lethal Weapon-style movie, effortlessly combining violence and humour.

by Richard Luck

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Woman In Black 2

    The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death

    The spectral 'woman in black' feeds off the loss and trauma of Second World War evacuees in this gothic sequel from director Tom Harper (The Scouting Book For Boys)

  • Film4 Men In Black 3

    Men In Black 3

    Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to the 1960s to stop an alien from assassinating a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) and changing the course of history

  • Film4 Muppet Christmas Carol

    Boxing Day 2014 on Film4

    Film4's lineup on Boxing Day 2014

  • Film4 In Fear

    In Fear on Film4

    Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker star as a new couple driving through Ireland who become lost and the target of a mystery tormentor

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share