Nine Movies from My Childhood With a Pair of Silly Character Names in the Title

Freebie and the Bean

Sorry for the mouthful that is this list's title. I was originally going to isolate this group to 1970s films, but there were a couple of humdingers from 1981 that I couldn't neglect. In any event, I've been in a nostalgic mood since my previous list of nine "Le" brands, many of which were introduced when I was a kid, so I give you this rather random collection of movie titles from my youth. I've only seen a couple of these films, but I often ponder this ill-advised Hollywood trend, which died out in the early '80s and was revived only sporadically since (e.g., Tango & Cash and Homer and Eddie, both 1989 stinkers and both, curiously, directed by the same man, Andrei Konchalovsky).

  1. Freebie and the Bean (Richard Rush, 1974). James Caan and Alan Arkin star in this buddy movie about two San Francisco cops.
  2. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, John Hough). Susan George and Peter Fonda play a couple on the run. Because this is the 1970s, Larry is a race car driver.
  3. The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (Melvin Frank, 1976). Goldie Hawn and George Segal – in the '70s, this glib character actor was an A-list leading man – square off in a Western rom-com about a pair of con artists.
  4. Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (David Lowell Rich, 1981). Carol Burnett (Chu Chu) and Alan Arkin (the Philly Flash) play a pair of San Francisco alcoholics caught up in government espionage. The title, perhaps, is there to remind you that this little-seen flop is technically a comedy.
  5. Hickey & Boggs (1972, Robert Culp). The I Spy team returns! Culp (Boggs) and his former costar Bill Cosby (Hickey) try to reignite their small-screen chemistry in this surprisingly dark detective thriller, written by the great Walter Hill.
  6. Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981, Lamont Johnson). With Amanda Plummer as Annie and Diane Lane as Britches. Two teenagers in the Wild West cavort with a gang of washed up outlaws. (It's a family film, so let's employ the most innocent definition of "cavort".) The strange cast includes Scott Glenn, Burt Lancaster, and Rod Steiger.
  7. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Michael Cimino, 1974). Doomed director Cimino's first feature. This is one of the more fondly remembered action flicks of the decade, with an unbeatable pairing of Clint Eastwood (Thunderbolt) and Jeff Bridges (Lightfoot) as bank robbers.
  8. Smokey and the Bandit (1977, Hal Needham). In my opinion, this is the archetypal late '70s film. You might think the era was all about disco and Star Wars, but anyone who was there will tell you that it was really about corny jokes, country music, dumb-as-dirt hicks bumbling around on the big screen and in real life (see: Billy Carter), muscle cars tearing up sun-baked highways, and of course Burt Reynolds.
  9. Mother, Jugs & Speed (Peter Yates, 1976). This movie title gives you three silly character names in one blow in a comedy about ambulance drivers. Try to wrap your head around this insane casting combo: Bill Cosby as Mother, Raquel Welch as Jugs, and Harvey Keitel as Speed.