Cold Turkey

Watch Cold Turkey

"See the hilarious BATTLE OF THE BUTT!"
  • PG-13
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.6  (2,391)

Cold Turkey is a satirical comedy-drama film that premiered in 1971. Directed by Norman Lear, the movie explores the impact of a small-town, middle-class community's efforts to win a national contest that seeks to identify the first city in America to stop smoking for thirty days. It features a cast of notable actors, led by Dick Van Dyke, Pippa Scott, and Tom Poston.

Van Dyke plays Rev. Clayton Brooks, a liberal clergyman who leads the initiative to persuade the citizens of Eagle Rock, Iowa, to join the contest. He believes that winning the competition will help his church community raise money and bring attention to their cause. However, his efforts are initially dismissed by the town's mayor, who sees the contest as a hoax and thinks that smoking is a personal choice that should not be interfered with.

Despite the challenges, Rev. Brooks and his team of volunteers embark on a campaign to encourage the town residents to quit smoking for thirty days. Their efforts soon gain traction, as the residents, who were initially skeptical, become more receptive to the idea of breaking their smoking habits. They begin to sign up in droves, and the town quickly becomes a contender for the grand prize.

However, their progress is threatened by the tobacco company, which sends in a team of executives to Eagle Rock to try and stop the contest. The company’s CEO, J.D. (played by Bob Newhart), is determined to preserve his company's interests, even if it means buying off or sabotaging the contest, using whatever means necessary.

The movie is a compelling social commentary on the power of corporate interests and their influence on public health issues. It explores the arguments for and against smoking, the effects of nicotine addiction, and the impact of smoking on individuals, families, and communities. The story also showcases the pitfalls of groupthink, as well as the power of collective action to bring about meaningful change.

Cold Turkey boasts a strong ensemble cast, with each actor delivering a standout performance. Van Dyke’s portrayal of the idealistic and determined Rev. Brooks is nuanced and heartfelt. Pippa Scott brings a sense of grace and sincerity to her role as Betsey Brooks, the reverend’s supportive wife, who helps him navigate the challenges of the contest.

Tom Poston also shines as "Merle," a chain-smoking town resident who becomes an unlikely poster boy for the contest. His transformation from a skeptic to a passionate advocate for the cause is a highlight of the film and forms the emotional core of the story.

The film's soundtrack, which includes the title track performed by the Assembled Multitude, adds to the overall charm of the movie. The themes of community spirit and change are conveyed in the lyrics and serve to underscore the film's message of hope and unity.

In conclusion, Cold Turkey is a thought-provoking and entertaining film that continues to hold relevance in today's society, where public health concerns surrounding smoking use continue to be a significant issue. Its emphasis on the power of collective action and its critical examination of corporate interests make the movie a timeless classic that is sure to inspire and entertain audiences for years to come.

Cold Turkey is a 1971 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

Cold Turkey
Where to Watch Cold Turkey
Cold Turkey is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Cold Turkey for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (2,391)