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Save the Tiger is a 1973 drama film about moral conflict in contemporary America directed by John G. Avildsen, and starring Jack Lemmon, Jack Gilford, Laurie Heineman, Thayer David, Lara Parker, and Liv Lindeland. The screenplay was adapted by Steve Shagan from his novel of the same title.

Save the Tiger
Save the Tiger (1973 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn G. Avildsen
Produced bySteve Shagan
Written bySteve Shagan
StarringJack Lemmon
Jack Gilford
Laurie Heineman
Music byMarvin Hamlisch
CinematographyJames Crabe
Edited byDavid Bretherton
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 14, 1973 (1973-02-14)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]
Box office$3,000,000 (US and Canada rentals)[2]

Lemmon won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Harry Stoner (making him the first of six actors to win Oscars for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor), an executive in the garment industry who struggles with the complexity of modern life versus the simplicity of his youth.


Harry Stoner (Jack Lemmon) is an executive at a Los Angeles apparel company close to ruin. With no legal way to keep the company from going under, Stoner considers torching his warehouse for the insurance settlement.

The arson is agreed to very reluctantly by his partner (Jack Gilford), a stable family man who watches Harry's decline with alarm. Through it all, Harry drinks, laments the state of the world, and tries his best to keep the business rolling as usual. This last task is complicated when a client has a heart attack in the arms of a prostitute provided by Stoner.

With nerves still shaky, Stoner takes the stage at the premiere of his company's new line, only to be overcome by war memories. He ends the day spontaneously deciding to go home with a young, free-spirited girl hitchhiker, whose ignorance of his generation underscores his isolation from the world around him.



The movie was written by Steve Shagan and directed by John G. Avildsen. Lemmon was determined to make the movie, despite its limited commercial prospects, and so he waived his usual salary and worked for scale. The movie was filmed in sequence after three weeks of rehearsal in Los Angeles. There is also a novel version of Save the Tiger, by Shagan: the title comes from a campaign to save tigers from extinction to which Stoner contributes.


The movie failed financially at the box office, but critics and viewers who saw it liked the performance of Lemmon as Stoner. Critic John Simon wrote Save the Tiger 'is a film with good, serious intentions, and thus a somewhat touching failure'.[3]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 12 reviews, and an average rating of 7.2/10.[4]

Awards and nominationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Save the Tiger: Trivia". IMDb. Amazon. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "Tracking the Players". Variety. January 18, 1993. p. 36.
  3. ^ Simon, John (1982). Reverse Angle: A Decade of American Film. Crown Publishers Inc. p. 102.
  4. ^ "Save the Tiger (1973)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Save the Tiger: Awards Wins and Nominations". IMDb. Amazon. Retrieved April 17, 2012.

External linksEdit