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The California Kid

4.5 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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(Jul 24, 2007)
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$5.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 19 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

A forgotten action gem about a young man (Sheen) who faces off against the sinister sheriff (Morrow) who killed his brother. Featuring the most daring and amazing car chases this side of Bullitt, The California Kid burns rubber with a dynamite cast, including Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte. Vic Morrow turns in one of his finest performances as the twisted sheriff, a man with nasty habits that must be seen to be believed. A wonderful, action-packed film, filled with exotic antique cars and beautiful mountain vistas.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nick Nolte, Michelle Phillips, Stuart Margolin, Vic Morrow, Martin Sheen
  • Directors: Richard T. Heffron
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Shout! Factory / Timeless Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S88JT8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,681 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The California Kid" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very good TV movie from the mid 70's. The story is about a small town and it's sadistic sheriff(played by Vic Morrow) who has a unique way of dealing with out of town highway speeders. He just rams them until they go out of control and go over the side a famous cliff on the outskirts of the small town. Saves a lot of time and the tax payers money! right? That is until the "California Kid"(played by Martin Sheen) comes to town looking for his brother, who's missing! I was lucky enough to order this through Amazon when it was available! The DVD transfer is very good, but no extras. I would be happy to have a few classic TV movies on DVD like this, extras or not! Keep them coming! "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark", "Bad Ronald", "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf", "Trapped", "Dark Night Of The Scarecrow" Oh the 70's TV movies were great!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a pleasant surprise to find this 1974 televison film in pristine condition!

Billed as ABC TVs 200th 'Movie Of The Week'

Martin Sheen is excellent as always and is ably supported by Nick Nolte, Stuart Margolin and Michelle Phillips.
Vic Morrow steals the show as Sheriff Roy Childress.
Look fast for Martin's real life brother Joe Estevez, playing his screen brother, at the beginning of the film.
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Awesome early 70s soundtrack - as funky as that car - it's ultra swanky with lots of wah-wah guitar and stuff that could have worked for Soul Cinema or Blaxploitation movies - in a word, it's very well done and contributes a lot to the atmosphere of the film - even though the story is supposedly taking place in the 50s, a good decade or so before music sounded like this! Actually, the movie is a mixed bag for me.

The Good:

Martin Sheen and Vic Morrow put in great performances.
Music is great, as mentioned.
Story has potential, but...

The Bad:

...but kind of falls flat in the end so that when it's over you're like, "That's it?". Anti-climatic.

The Ugly:

Bare bones production. But I didn't really mind.
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Format: DVD
When you think of the coolest cars to ever appear in a television show or movie, what do you think of? The Barris Batmobile? The Duke’s General Lee? The Bandit’s Trans Am? For me the coolest car ever was the California Kid! That’s not the nickname of a character in this movie, it’s the name of his hot rod!

OK, it’s 1958 and Sheriff Roy Childress (played by Vic Morrow) believes that lawbreakers should be punished, especially those who drive fast...like the hit-and-run driver that killed his wife and little daughter. To help their punishment along, the Sheriff has souped-up his squad car, and uses his push bars to force speeders off the road on a particularly dangerous curve. But, when a stranger drives into town in the hottest of hot rods, and begins digging into the recent “accidents,” Roy knows that trouble has come. Michael McCord’s (Martin Sheen) brother was killed on that dangerous curve, and he knows that something is seriously wrong in Clarksberg. And he’s going to put it right.

When you think of made-for-TV movies, you figure the movie is probably pretty bad, right? Well, this 1974 ABC movie is surprisingly great. Martin Sheen does a great job of playing the role of a sort of grown-up James Dean, a rebel who now has a cause. And Vic Morrow presents a very good Sheriff Roy, a man who is deadly earnest...deadly, deadly earnest. Plus, there’s even a rather young Nick Nolte. The story itself is very good, as we watch Roy as the bad guy, and McCord unraveling the mystery of his brother’s death.

The music is very 70s, which is no surprise, and having been a TV movie, it has that irritating thing of musical crescendos coming right before where a commercial would have been. But, that said, it is a great movie.
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Format: Blu-ray
Just popped in the new Blu-Ray version....it looks very very good. Much better than one might expect from a decades old TV movie of the week. Obviously shot on film its a nice 73minute flick that is almost more fun from the standpoint of watching Vic Morrow (between this and Dirty Mary Crazy Larry he corned the market on jerkwater USA Sheriffs in the 70's), and a very young Martin Sheen and Nick Nolte than the story itself. If you are into retro shows or car movies and haven't bought it I'd recommend the extra couple of bucks for the blu-ray.
There are NO bonus features.....
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This was such a cool old Hot Rod movie ! Martin Sheen, Nick Nolte, Vic Morrow, and Michelle Phillips when they were all about 20 yrs old (except for Michelle who looked 17). Fun to see the old cars, and the scene where the '34 Ford first rolls into town over the bridge was too much ! Loved it !
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I never saw this when it originally aired, but it has held up well for it's time. My only critique is that "The California Kid" had a Windsor Ford V8 in it - and does show it in some shots, but when they do a real close-up, it's a small-block Chevy. I guess they weren't as detail-oriented as movies are today. I liked and enjoyed the movie otherwise.
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Got a Hot-Rod heart? Interested in a tale where the bad guy gets undone by his own scheme? 'The California Kid' might just be what you're looking for. Based on actual tales of speed-traps set up in rural areas to bilk unwitting travelers, this film captures the look and feel of one such scenario. Vic Morrow plays the scheming sheriff and quickly earns the scorn of the audience - a mark of a good actor. After he causes the death of two sailors who are only trying to make it back to their base before they're considered AWOL - Martin Sheen shows up in his sharp looking '34 Ford Street Rod, looking for answers to his brother's death. He quickly sizes up the situation and without explanation develops a plan to expose the sheriff. Good co-star performances by Michelle Phillips, and Nick Nolte round out the 'known' actors in this film - but the rest of the cast performs just as well. Better than expected for a made-for-TV movie.
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