Repo Man

11/10/2018 19:45.
Cert 15

When down at heel punk Otto (Emilio Estevez) is duped into becoming a car repossession worker for the resplendent Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), strange occurrences ensue. The search for one particular ’64 Chevy and its contents exploits the viewer’s suspension of disbelief to the full. The sparkling banter and punk soundtrack  makes this an effervescent ride. The film, a mixture of comedy, surrealism, sci-fi and aliens, is set in a dystopian Los Angeles and undermines the cultural norms of the time. Regarded as a classic in the Reagan era, it remains essential viewing. “[…] there are endless things to enjoy, from Robby Müller’s crisp camerawork to a superb set of performances, from witty movie parodies to a tremendous punk soundtrack.” (Geoff Andrew,

Dir: Alex Cox  92mins   USA 1984


Programme Notes

Now seen as arguably the defining cult film of the late punk period of the 1980s, this independent, genre-busting, black comedy classic was English-born director Alex Cox’s debut (and best) feature. Set in Los Angeles in the Reagan era, Otto (Emilio Estevez), an alienated, nihilist young punk, purposely causes havoc all around him, literally head-banging with like-minded dropouts. After a chance encounter with Bud (Harry Dean Stanton, in an iconic performance making the most of the part offered him by Cox), a cynical veteran ‘repo man’, who repossesses cars with little regard for ethics or the law, Otto is apprenticed into the trade. Bud becomes Otto’s mentor, and together they assault the establishment of the day under cover of their barely legal business. When, however, they are tasked with repossessing a mysterious 1964 Chevrolet Malibu with a hefty reward attached to it, the job becomes more than either of them bargained for …. Watch out for sub-plots including aliens and the CIA!

Tonight’s film is presented as homage to Harry Dean Stanton, one of the treasures of American cinema and beloved star character actor. He appeared in over 100 films, his career going all the way back to Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man in 1956. His many performance highlights in a 61 year career include Alien (1979) and Paris, Texas (1984). His last film, Lucky, was completed shortly before he died, at the age of 91 years, in September 2017. An in-depth biography can be found at
Derek Winnert,;
Gary W Tooze,

The film on October 25th has a different take on punk, this time a very local view.

Leading Characters

Bud Harry Dean Stanton
Otto Emilio Estevez
Miller Tracey Walter
Leila Olivier Barash
Lite Sy Richardson

Production Credits

Director Alex Cox
Producers Peter McCarthy, Jonathan Wacks
Screenplay Alex Cox
Cinematography Robby Müller
Music Steven Hufsteter, Tito Larriva


  • Well, that was avant-garde – with its bizarre ending! Thank goodness for the unique, period soundtrack and the main performances, which were good
  • An age of anarchic innocence!
  • Well made but weird
  • Fun, if incoherent! ‘A searing study of mid-80s America …’ ?
  • At least the soundtrack was better on this one. A cult classic but too much bad language for me
  • I had misgivings about this and it was noisy, violent and ugly. I could decipher (but) few printable [sic] words or plot but there was sufficient interest, so that I stayed to the end
  • Unbelievable but mesmerising! I hope he made it to Europe eventually
  • Alex Cox’s CIA agents pre-dating Trump by 30+ years!
  • Clearly Trump has modelled his hair on the blond agents!


A:4, B:6, C:4, D:1, E:1 to give 67% from 80% of those present.