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The Long Goodbye (1973)

Private investigator Philip Marlowe helps a friend out of a jam then gets implicated in his wife's murder.


Robert Altman


Leigh Brackett (screenplay), Raymond Chandler (novel)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould ... Philip Marlowe
Nina van Pallandt ... Eileen Wade
Sterling Hayden ... Roger Wade
Mark Rydell ... Marty Augustine
Henry Gibson ... Dr. Verringer
David Arkin ... Harry
Jim Bouton ... Terry Lennox
Warren Berlinger ... Morgan
Jo Ann Brody Jo Ann Brody ... Jo Ann Eggenweiler
Stephen Coit ... Detective Farmer (as Steve Coit)
Jack Knight ... Mabel
Pepe Callahan Pepe Callahan ... Pepe
Vincent Palmieri Vincent Palmieri ... Vince (as Vince Palmieri)
Pancho Córdova ... Doctor (as Pancho Cordoba)
Enrique Lucero ... Jefe


In the middle of the night, private eye Philip Marlowe drives his friend Terry Lennox to the Mexican border. When Marlowe returns home police are waiting for him and learns that Terry's wife Sylvia has been killed. He's arrested as an accessory but released after a few days and is told the case is closed since Terry Lennox has seemingly committed suicide in Mexico. Marlowe is visited by mobster Marty Augustine who wants to know what happened to the $350,000 Lennox was supposed to deliver for him. Meanwhile, Marlowe is hired by Eileen Wade to find her husband Roger who has a habit of disappearing when he wants to dry out but she can't find him in any any of his usual haunts. He finds him at Dr. Veringer's clinic and brings him. It soon becomes obvious to Marlowe that Terry's death, the Wades and Augustine are all somehow interconnected. Figuring out just what those connections are however will be anything but easy. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Nothing says goodbye like a bullet. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 March 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Long Goodbye See more »


Box Office


$1,700,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The movie's ending, different from the source novel, is usually attributed to director Robert Altman. It actually appeared in Leigh Brackett's original script, written before Altman signed on. Altman liked the new ending so much that he insisted on a clause in his contract that guaranteed the ending wouldn't be changed during production or editing. See more »


Boom mic and operator are reflected off a black car in Malibu Court. See more »


Rutanya Sweet: Thanks a lot, Mr. Marlowe. I'll save you a brownie.
Philip Marlowe: Thanks, but they hurt my teeth.
See more »


Referenced in Wings of Desire (1987) See more »


Hooray for Hollywood
from Hollywood Hotel (1937)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Johnnie Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

Peculiar updating based on Raymond Chandler's novel in which Marlowe becomes involved with mysterious murders
16 February 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Splendid film chronicles a Detective Story in this remarkably faithful adaptation from Raymond Chandler novel , though there are a couple of crucial changes and some spoofy lines , featuring world-weary private eye Philip Marlowe . It deals with down-on-his-luck detective Philip Marlowe (Elliot Gould , he improvised some scenes as when he smears fingerprint ink all over his face and original choices for this character were Lee Marvin and Robert Mitchum) tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife . Following the reported suicide in Mexico of a friend, a gorgeous woman (first English-language film of Danish actress Nina van Pallandt) hires him to locate her alcoholic and mercurial husband called Roger Wade (Sterling Hayden , this role had originally cast Altman's friend Dan Blocker but he died before filming commenced) . Then Marlowe being interrogated by Police Inspectors . The wisecracking eye private becomes involved into a dark world of killing , treason and leading in twisted results .

This enjoyable , hard-boiled though overlong film packs thrills , suspense , mayhem , some nice touches an exciting plot in ever-twisting directions , using that crisp Raymond Chandler narrative . Interesting adaptation by screenwriter Leigh Brackett who twenty-seven years earlier co-wrote the script for the classic The big sleep (1946). The picture offers a nicely detailed scenarios from Malibu ,in fact , the location for Sterling Hayden's home was actually Robert Altman's home at the time and the name of the private estate was "Malibu Colony". The movie was part of a predominantly 1970s revival cycle of pictures adapted from novels by Raymond Chandler . Likable acting by Elliot Gould as tough and cynical eye private . This was one of five movies actor Elliott Gould made with director Robert Altman , the films include M.A.S.H. (1970), Nashville (1975), The player (1992)and California Split (1974) . Very good support cast as Nina Van Pallandt is stunning as a Femme Fatale and sensational Sterling Hayden as her drank husband . There appears uncredited, a bearded David Carradine and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a muscleman but has no lines in the film . And special mention to director Mark Rydell as a violent Jewish mobster , he returned to acting for this movie after an absence of around a decade. Atmospheric as well as jokey musical score by the great John Williams , pre-collaboration to Spielberg , all the music in this film is different arrangements of the theme tune. Colorful cinematography by magnificent cameraman Vilmos Zsigmond , the camera is always moving ; there are no static shots in the movie ; Vilmos tried to approximate human vision through the post-production technique of exposing the undeveloped negative to additional pure light, which literally dampens blacks and softens intense colors .

Other films about this famous detective are the followings : ¨Murder my sweet¨(1944) by Edward Dmytryck starred by Dick Powell , ¨ The Big Sleep¨ version directed by Howard Hawks with Humphrey Bogart , ¨Big sleep¨ by Michael Winner with Robert Mitchum , ¨Marlowe¨ by Paul Bogart with James Garner , ¨Farewell my lovely¨ by Dick Richards with Robert Mitchum .

The motion picture was well directed by Robert Altman . At the beginning Altman realized Shorts and he then went to Hollywood to direct Alfred Hitchcock's TV show . From here, he went on to direct a large number of television shows, until he was offered the script for M.A.S.H. (1970) in 1969. He was hardly the producer's first choice - more than fifteen other directors had already turned it down . This wasn't his first movie, but it was his first success . After that, he had his share of hits and misses, but The prayer (1992) and, more recently, Gosford Park (2001) were particularly well .

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