|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Budget||$11 million |
|Box office||$31.3 million|
Bustin' Loose is a 1981 American road comedy-drama film starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson. It was directed by Oz Scott and Michael Schultz (uncredited) and written by Pryor, Lonne Elder III, and Roger L. Simon.  Along with starring Pryor and Tyson,  the film also features Robert Christian   and George Coe.  Bustin' Loose was produced by Michael S. Glick and Pryor.   
Joe Braxton (Richard Pryor) is a convict who violates his parole after a failed attempt to lift a bunch of televisions from a store in Philadelphia. After a dramatic attempt at reverse psychology with the judge (Bill Quinn), he is given a second chance at parole, and his parole-officer, Donald (Robert Christian), has him do something for him.
Donald is also involved with school teacher Vivian Perry (Cicely Tyson), whose school was just closed down by the city due to budget cuts. While most of the children have been relocated, eight special needs students have yet to be relocated. Vivian decides to take them to her aunt's farm in rural Washington. Donald is against it, and at first gets Joe to tell her the old bus she planned on using would not work. However, that blows up in his face, but Donald then decides to have Joe go ahead and drive the bus to Washington.
As Joe, Vivian, and the kids ride the bus, the past lives and ailments of the kids are told:
Joe thinks he is there to fix and drive the bus, but he finds out his true knack is helping out the kids, especially shown when he reads Annie the riot act for her hooker-talk, and saves Anthony from setting another person's property on fire, and even takes the kids fishing for the first time.
After fixing the bus in the rain on a dirt road, Joe and Vivian have trouble getting it out of the mud. When Joe leaves to get help, he is found walking in lock step with a group of Klansmen, who follow him back to the bus. Joe then manages to talk the head Klansman and the rest into getting the bus out to get the kids to a hospital in Washington, suddenly claiming they are all blind. They agree sympathetically and push them out of the mud.
Somewhere in Montana, Donald catches up with them at a motel, after finding out Vivian lied to him and falsified the kids records. After trying to flee in the middle of the night, Donald catches up with them and demands they return to Philadelphia, which the kids, Vivian, and Joe all resist.
After arriving at the farm, Vivian meets with a banker in order to secure a $15,000 loan to save the farm. One of the other kids overhears them and tells the rest of the kids this. Joe then confronts the kids, who are whining and protesting about their fate. Joe learns about this as well and heads into town where he sees an ad for a "trapezoid scheme" and goes in to learn about it, dressed as a cowboy from Texarkana. Eventually, he works his way into sitting with the group and schemes to rip them off. He does and gets Vivian her $15,000 then leaves with her, while two men from the group pursue them. After evading them and burning the money, they go back to the farm and have an argument about the money.
They realize the old Rolls Royce from the bank is there, and they find out the kids told the president of the bank (who is also the mayor of the town) lies about what good things Joe and Vivian did, and convinced the mayor to give the loan and make the kids a part of the community. After they celebrate, Donald shows up with a police officer demanding they all return to Philadelphia but has a confrontation with the mayor that he ends up losing. In the end, it seems that Joe is going to go back to Philly with Donald, but Donald gets to the end of the driveway, and changes his mind and lets Joe stay.
Bustin' Loose was filmed in part in various towns in Washington state, including Carnation, Ellensburg, and Snohomish. 
Although the film's score was composed by Mark Davis, Roberta Flack also contributed new original music to the film and released a soundtrack for the film on June 5, 1981. Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson contributed vocals to the album and Vandross wrote the song, "You Stopped Loving Me", which he later performed himself on his debut album Never Too Much .
Bustin' Loose opened number one at the box office in 828 theaters domestically. It grossed $6,622,753 in its opening weekend. Its run ended with $31,261,269 in the box office, domestically. 
Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote in his review: "Only the incomparable Richard Pryor could make a comedy as determinedly, aggressively sentimental as Bustin' Loose, which is about eight needy orphans and a $15,000 mortgage that's due, and still get an R-rating. Vulgar language is the reason, but because vulgar language is a basic part of the Pryor comedy method, one longs for his every assault on genteelism in Bustin' Loose, a film that would otherwise be painful."  TV Guide gives Bustin' Loose 4 stars out of 5 stars. 
Bustin' Loose was released in theaters on May 22, 1981. The film was released on DVD on May 1, 2001, and again on January 11, 2005. 
David Allan Coe is an American singer and songwriter. Coe took up music after spending much of his early life in reform schools and prisons, and first became notable for busking in Nashville. He initially played mostly in the blues style, before transitioning to country music, becoming a major part of the 1970s outlaw country scene. His biggest hits include "You Never Even Called Me by My Name", "Longhaired Redneck", "The Ride", "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile", and "She Used to Love Me a Lot".
Cicely Louise Tyson was an American actress. In a career which spanned more than seven decades in film, television and theatre, she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women. Tyson received various awards including three Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Tony Award, an Honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award.
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor Sr. was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time. Pryor won a Primetime Emmy Award and five Grammy Awards. He received the first Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1998. He won the Writers Guild of America Award in 1974. He was listed at number one on Comedy Central's list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him first on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.
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This article lists the winners and nominees for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The award has also been called Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture. Out of 12 films which featured African-Americans in leading roles in 1980, Cicely Tyson was the only female in that category. She played opposite Richard Pryor in Bustin' Loose. Because of this, she and officials at the annual NAACP Image Awards program decided that she should not accept the award.
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Lonne Elder III was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. Elder was one of the leading African American figures who informed the New York theater world with social and political consciousness. He also wrote scripts for television and film. His most well known play, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men won him a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The play, which was about a Harlem barber and his family, was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969.
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