The Cheap Detective

The Cheap Detective is a 1978 American mystery comedy film written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore.[2]

The Cheap Detective
Cheap detective.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byRobert Moore
Written byNeil Simon
Produced byRay Stark
Margaret Booth
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Edited bySidney Levin
Michael A. Stevenson
Music byPatrick Williams
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 23, 1978 (1978-06-23)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$28,221,552[1]

It stars Peter Falk as Lou Peckinpaugh, a parody of Humphrey Bogart.[2] The film is a parody of Bogart films such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.[2]

The ensemble cast includes Madeline Kahn, Louise Fletcher, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Stockard Channing, Marsha Mason, Sid Caesar, John Houseman, Dom DeLuise, Abe Vigoda, James Coco, Phil Silvers, Fernando Lamas, Nicol Williamson, Scatman Crothers, Vic Tayback and Paul Williams.[3]


Lou Peckinpaugh (Peter Falk), a bumbling San Francisco private detective, tries to prove himself innocent of his partner's murder while helping a bizarre array of characters recover a lost treasure.



The film grossed $5,113,743 in its opening weekend from 648 theaters, finishing third for the weekend behind Grease and Jaws 2 in their second weekends.[4] Film critic Roger Ebert stated that "If you loved 'The Maltese Falcon' and can recite all the best lines from 'Casablanca' by heart, you'll hate 'The Cheap Detective', which is basically just the year's classiest and most expensive rip-off."[5]

Ed Mintz founded CinemaScore in 1979 after disliking The Cheap Detective despite being a fan of Neil Simon, and hearing another disappointed attendee wanting to hear the opinions of ordinary people instead of critics.[6]

See alsoEdit

  • Murder by Death – a 1976 film featuring Falk as a similar character (another Sam Spade parody) that was written by Simon and directed by Moore.[7]


  1. ^ "The Cheap Detective, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Canby, Vincent (June 23, 1978). "Screen: Simon's 'Cheap' Detective':Everybody Revisited". The New York Times.
  3. ^ TV Guide
  4. ^ "'Jaws 2', 'Grease', Get Hot Rival, 'Cheap Detective'". Variety. June 28, 1978. p. 6.
  5. ^ Roger
  6. ^ Lawrence, Christopher (2016-08-30). "Las Vegan's polling company keeps tabs on Hollywood". Vegas Voices (story series). Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  7. ^ We Recommend Eight Movies to Watch After Clue|Film School Rejects

External linksEdit