Finders Keepers (1984 film)

Finders Keepers is a 1984 American comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring Michael O'Keefe, Beverly D'Angelo, Brian Dennehy, and Louis Gossett Jr., with an early performance by Jim Carrey. The film was adapted from Charles Dennis' 1974 novel The Next-to-Last Train Ride. The film opened on May 18, 1984, earning $865,207 during its first weekend in 753 theaters.

Finders Keepers
Finders Keepers (1984 Movie Poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster by Mort Drucker
Directed byRichard Lester
Written byCharles Dennis
Ronny Graham
Terence Marsh
Produced bySandra Marsh
Terence Marsh
Music byKen Thorne
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 18, 1984 (1984-05-18)
Running time
96 min.
Budget$7 million
Box office$1.4 million[1]


In 1973, Georgiana Latimer schemes with her lover, Josef Sirola, to steal five million dollars in cash from her father's safe. As Georgiana pretends to be a widow in mourning, she and Josef hide the loot in a coffin and plan to transport it by train to New York. Elsewhere, young Michael Rangeloff is on the run from the irate women's roller derby team he manages. Michael escapes by disguising himself in a U.S. Army uniform at the Oakland, California, train station, where two military officials assume he is accompanying the coffin. Meanwhile, Georgiana and Sirola have noticed Michael and follow him. On board, Michael becomes friendly with scatterbrained actress, Standish Logan, and soon discovers the coffin contains millions of dollars. During a stop in Reno, Nevada, Michael telephones his friend, Century Milestone, an experienced conman, who later boards the train dressed as a minister. Meanwhile, the conductor makes an unplanned stop in High River, Nebraska, to deliver the deceased hero to his hometown. Michael and Century get off the train with the coffin, along with Standish, who plays the role of Biddlecoff's widow.

After a quick funeral, Michael and Century unearth the money from the grave. In the meantime, Sirola, who was forced off the train earlier, learns about the hero's burial on television and travels to High River to retrieve the money. Georgiana also arrives in town, but is arrested by FBI agent Ormond. When Michael and Century finish gathering the money, they discover Sirola has kidnapped Standish and taken her to an empty farmhouse. However, the home is a prefabricated dwelling, which is towed the next day. Michael and Century locate the moving house, take over from the driver, and confront Sirola. After Standish is rescued, she, Michael, and Century make a getaway with the five million dollars, while Sirola is arrested.


Production and backgroundEdit

The movie is based on Charles Dennis' 1974 novel The Next-to-Last Train Ride.[a][2] Terence and Sandra Marsh acquired the screen rights to Dennis' book, which was going to be their first major feature for their new company, Soundcross Film Ltd.[2] They were offered the chance to develop the property at Warner Bros. Terence Marsh received a writing credit for collaborating on the adaptation with Ronny Graham. Terence Marsh wanted to make his directorial debut on the film, but understood that the project would have a better chance with an experienced director and instead hired Richard Lester to direct. Warner Bros. insisted on Dudley Moore for the lead, but the Marshes and Lester's concept for the film was that the story was an ensemble cast, rather than a star vehicle.[2] The project then went into turnaround, and in April 1983, CBS Theatrical Films took over financing the $7 million picture.[2]

Principal photography began on August 14, 1983 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, under the new title Finders Keepers.[2] Lester said that the original nine-week shooting schedule was completed in six, finishing in late September 1983.[2] According to production notes, other Alberta locations included the towns of Lethbridge, Vulcan, Strathmore, Red Deer, and High River.

Warner Bros. was contracted to handle domestic distribution, while CBS Theatrical Films was responsible for international sales. The film opened on May 18, 1984, earning $865,207 during its first weekend in 753 theaters, and had a domestic total gross of $1,467,396.[2][1]

Movie soundtrackEdit

The following songs were featured in the film.[3][4]
  1. American Pie - (written by Don McLean)
  2. Child of vision - (written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson)
  3. I Get Around - (written by Mike Love and Brian Wilson)
  4. Mad About the Boy - (written by Noël Coward)
  5. Peggy Sue - (written by Buddy Holly, Norman Petty and Jerry Allison)
  6. See You Later, Alligator - (written by Bobby Charles)
  7. Sing - (written by Joe Raposo)
  8. Take the Long Way Home - (written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson)
  9. The Yellow Rose of Texas - (composed by Don George)

Reception and reviewsEdit

James Monaco reviewed the film in his book, The Movie Guide, writing "a crazy, quirky comedy from director Lester that starts slowly and warms up to provide some funny moments. Finders Keepers benefits from the well-judged performances of its energetic cast, with Wayne in particularly good form. In typical Lester fashion, the movie is so frantic that viewers have no time to rest their eyes".[5]

In The New York Times review of the movie, Vincent Canby wrote that "Finders Keepers,...has a lot of charm best described as loose jointed. It's not especially graceful, but it grows increasingly funny as it approaches the Nebraska showdown...though the pacing of the film is uneven - its highpoints stand out like clumps of trees in the flat Nebraska landscape, Finders Keepers is unexpectedly satisfying. The good humor and the wit are even retroactive, making the opening sequences seem funnier than they actually were".[6]

Variety Magazine was not so kind in their review, stating that "director Richard Lester returns to his pell-mell trademark and the result is maddening. Interesting cast is wasted, with bright exception of Beverly D'Angelo. Its parts add up to pieces that artlessly lurch and hurtle around".[7]


  1. ^ originally published in 1974 by Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-57225-5


  1. ^ a b "Finders Keepers (1984)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Finder Keepers (1984)". American Film Institute.
  3. ^ "Finders Keepers soundtrack (1984)". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Finders Keepers Soundtrack (1984)". Ringostrack.
  5. ^ Monaco, James (1992). The Movie Guide. Perigee Books. pp. 251–. ISBN 978-0-399-51780-8.
  6. ^ Canby, Vincent (May 18, 1984). "Film: 'Finders Keepers,' Comedy Directed By Richard Lester". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Finders Keepers". December 31, 1983. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018.

External linksEdit