Rabbit, Run (film)

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Rabbit, Run
Film Poster for Rabbit Run.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jack Smight
Produced byHoward B. Kreitsek
Screenplay byHoward B. Kreitsek
Based on Rabbit, Run by John Updike
Starring James Caan
Carrie Snodgress
Anjanette Comer
Jack Albertson
Arthur Hill
Melodie Johnson
Henry Jones
Josephine Hutchinson
Music byRay Burton
Brian King
Cinematography Philip H. Lathrop
Edited by Archie Marshek
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • October 20, 1970 (1970-10-20)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States

Rabbit, Run is a 1970 American independent drama film directed by Jack Smight. The film was adapted from John Updike's 1960 novel by screenplay writer Howard B. Kreitsek, who also served as producer. The film starred James Caan as Rabbit Angstrom, Carrie Snodgress as Rabbit's wife Janice, and Anjanette Comer as his girlfriend Ruth. The movie co-starred Jack Albertson as Coach Marty Tothero, Arthur Hill as Rev. Jack Eccles, and Henry Jones and Josephine Hutchinson as Rabbit's parents. [1] [2] [3]



In Reading, Pennsylvania, former high school basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is dissatisfied with both his failure to find a career and with his loveless marriage to Janice, an alcoholic who is pregnant with a child neither of them wants. Following an argument with Janice, Rabbit looks up his old basketball coach Marty Tothero, who is now living in squalor. Marty decides that Rabbit needs a woman, and he introduces him to Ruth, a part-time prostitute. When Rabbit moves in with Ruth, Jack Eccles, the family minister, tries to persuade him to return to his wife, but Rabbit refuses.

Eventually, Rabbit also becomes disenchanted with Ruth, and when Janice has her baby, Rabbit goes to the hospital and effects a reconciliation. For a time, they live in relative harmony, but Janice's insistence on a less active sex life leads to bitterness, and Rabbit again takes off. Janice resumes her solitary drinking, this time with tragic results; while in a drunken stupor, she accidentally drowns the baby. Learning of his child's death, Rabbit returns home and finds that everyone holds him responsible.

At the funeral, Rabbit responds to his parents' and in-laws' accusing glances by screaming his innocence. Fleeing from the cemetery, he goes to Ruth's apartment; but Ruth, who is now pregnant with his child, refuses to let him in unless he agrees to divorce Janice and marry her. Although he promises to do so, Rabbit is still unable to make a commitment to anyone and runs away again.



Following a dispute over the cut of the film submitted by producer Howard B. Kreitsek, director Smight asked Warner Bros. and the Directors Guild of America for his name to be removed from the film. [4]


The film, which was released by Warner Bros., had its world premiere in Updike's hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania on 28 October 1970. [3] The film poster reads, "3 months ago Rabbit Angstrom ran out to buy his wife cigarettes. He hasn't come home yet." [5]

The reception by the Reading audience was poor and Warner Bros. aborted a wide release for the film, which didn't even play in New York City. As late as 1973, John Updike was still hoping that Warners would reshoot scenes he considered weak and re-release the film. [6]

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  1. Rabbit, Run at IMDb
  2. New York Times Movies entry for the film adaptation
  3. 1 2 "Rabbit, Run (1970)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  4. "Jack Smight Running From 'Rabbit' After Dispute Over Cut". Variety . June 10, 1970. p. 6.
  5. The Internet Movie Poster Awards: Rabbit, Run
  6. Negley, Erin (18 March 2007). "'Rabbit,' lost: The film version of John Updike's "Rabbit, Run," gave Reading a rare moment in the Hollywood spotlight, but finding the movie today is just about impossible". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 3 February 2014.