Cutter's Way Vhs CoverCutter's Way Vhs CoverCutter's Way Vhs Cover
Cover Title
Cutter's Way
Year of Release
Cat # / Distributor
MV700154 - MGM/UA Home Video
Format Details
Running Time
N/A (NTSC)
Original Title / Year
Cutter and Bone (1981)
Submitted By
Videonut324 on 05/24/2013
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Cutter does everything his way. Fighting. Loving. Working. Tracking down a killer.

Bone saw the killer. Cutter knew the motive.

After emigrating to the United States in 1969, Czech-born director Ivan Passer finally broke through to American audiences with his fourth film, a unique blend of mystery and social commentary. Cutter's Way is set in Santa Barbara, CA, a community of wealth and power. Its main characters, however, are among the town's have-nots: Richard Bone Jeff Bridges, a beach-boy gigolo starting to go to seed; Bone's best friend Alex Cutter (John Heard), a Vietnam veteran maimed in body and spirit; and Mo (Lisa Eichorn), Cutter's alcoholic wife. When Cutter spots one of the community's most prominent citizens in the act of covering up a murder, Bone insists that the police would never take their word over that of a man of wealth and prestige. Cutter seizes the opportunity to blackmail the killer, as a means of striking back at a system he thinks sent him off to an unjust war and ruined his life. The film was fortunate to fall into the hands of United Artists Classics, a new division of the company crippled by the financial disaster of Heaven's Gate. UA Classics adroitly marketed Cutter's Way, riding a wave of rave reviews and good word-of-mouth among more discriminating filmgoers to modest box-office success.

A friend of Jeffrey Alan Fiskin had Fiskin send a screenplay to Paul Gurian, a would-be film producer. Gurian eventually informed Fiskin that he had bought the rights to the novel Cutter and Bone, and wanted to meet with Fiskin in Los Angeles.[1] Fiskin, who had little money, stole a copy of the book to read.[1] In a 1981 interview, he said of the novel, "The set-up's great, the characters are fine. But the last half of the book is an instant replay of Easy Rider. You cannot make a film out of this."[1] Gurian agreed and hired Fiskin to write the screenplay. Gurian arranged for the studio EMI to back the film financially, with Robert Mulligan to direct and Dustin Hoffman to play Alex Cutter.[1] However, a scheduling conflict forced Hoffman to leave the project. This prompted Mulligan to leave as well, and EMI to pull its money.[1] Gurian took the film to United Artists, where the studio's vice president, David Field, became interested in backing it.
Gurian gave Fiskin a list of directors; Ivan Passer's name was the only one the screenwriter did not recognize. Fiskin and United Artists executives screened Passer's Intimate Lightning and agreed he was the man to direct Cutter and Bone. Passer was already involved with another film, but chose to do Cutter and Bone instead after reading Fiskin's script.[1]
The initial budget was to be $3.3 million, but then Field learned that United Artists would only produce the movie if the budget were reduced to $3 million and that a name star be cast.[1] The studio liked Jeff Bridges' work in the dailies for Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate and insisted on him for Cutter and Bone.[1] Passer cast John Heard after seeing him in a Joseph Papp Shakespeare in the Park production of Othello. The studio wanted a star, but the director insisted on Heard. Lisa Eichhorn was cast as Mo after she auditioned with Bridges

Release Date: March 20, 1981 (as CUTTER AND BONE)

Distrib: United Artists

Boxoffice: $1,729,274 2013: $4,939,000