Dustin Hoffman stars as Max Dembo, a small-time crook recently released on parole after six years in prison.
After a few halting attempts at living within the law, Max finds himself back in jail because his power-hungry parole officer, Earl Frank (M. Emmett Walsh), finds drug residue left in Max’s dingy apartment by Max’s useless friend, fellow ex-con Willy Darin (Gary Busey).
Feeling like he’s damned to incarceration whether he commits crimes or not, Max assaults the parole officer, steals his car and starts executing risky robberies despite the promise of his new romance with Jenny Mercer (Theresa Russell), a sweet young woman he met at an employment agency.
A pet project for Dustin Hoffman, he was originally due to direct himself but changed his mind after a few days of filming and hired Ulu Grosbard. Denied final cut by the studio, Hoffman ended up suing Warner Brothers over their treatment of the film.
M. Emmet Walsh
Harry Dean Stanton