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Freebie and the Bean

  R Closed Captioning

Richard Rush

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About the Movie

What cops in their right minds would arrest a big-time racketeer on an indecent exposure charge because he zipped up his fly? The answer is none. The answer's also Freebie Waters and Benito "the Bean" Vasquez, assuredly not in their right minds. James Caan and Academy Award winner Alan Arkin are Freebie and Bean, mismatched San Francisco cops who bird-dog a notorious mobster as if auditioning for a demolition derby, cutting loose with bullets and wisecracks all the way. Directed by Richard Rush (The Stunt Man), this rough-and-ready early buddy-cop caper follows in the skidmarks of Bullitt and The French Connection – but it's a burning-rubber classic itself, with four major chases scenes and more than 100 car crashes. Fully loaded with humor and firepower, Freebie and the Bean is one beloved smash hit.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 11
  • Fresh: 3
  • Rotten: 8
  • Average Rating: 5.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: It has a cast of otherwise good actors doing bits of business (sometimes called acting) as if they thought they could upstage all of the movie's automobiles, which are seldom still. – Vincent Canby, New York Times, May 17, 2013

Rotten: Freebie (James Caan) is a cop whose corruption is supposed to be charming. – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, May 17, 2013

Rotten: Richard Rush's tasteless film, from a spitball script by Robert Kaufman, utilized lots of stunt and action crews disturbing the peace all over San Francisco. – Variety Staff, Variety, May 17, 2013

Rotten: On the whole, a film one can live without. – Time Out, May 17, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Chaos in the name of the law

Buddy cops tearing up the city over ten years before Lethal Weapon.

A great 70's movie, hallelujah.

Everything that the politically correct wag their fingers at now.
In double helpings. Delicious, wanton mayhem.
Lots of meaningless - yet well shot (and very funny) - violence.
And lots of 1970's San Francisco, whizzing by.

Laszlo Kovacs, Photographer

Freebie & Bean is more than OK, despite my giving it 3 stars on iTunes. One of the 2 movies by Richard Rush I've seen (The Stunt Man with Peter OToole and Barbara Hershey is the other--terrific), F & B confirms Rush as an interesting movie maker who probably didn't fulfill his potential, but made a mark. My favorite aspect of the movie is the photography by Laszlo Kovacs. I'll admit to being a movie photography geek and I should look into marketing a collection of cinematographers' all star trading cards. Kovacs shot many movies and all of them beautifully. You wouldn't know that from the trailer for F & B, which is wild and quite entertaining and even more misleading. The movie itself, focusing on plot/story/theme, has less going for it. Some of the flaws are because of the rampant meanness, which is not just a matter of the movie being made in 1973-4, before, as a few say, evil forces imposed political correctness. I was pretty young then, but I knew about the movie, and major portions of F & B would've been unacceptable to many a filmgoer, the frame of "PC" in effect or not. I just wanted to get that aspect of it addressed and out of the way.

Other strengths include the confidence of Rush's directorial style. His San Francisco (sometimes shot as simulacrum in LA) is explored in a street smart way, with Rush and Kovacs picking up on more-than-local color by sneaking in the City Lights Bookstore awning (no way can it look like that in 2016?) looks great. You feel that the director knows his way around the city and is comfortable there, all while he represents its grit at least as much as its glory. That's an achievement, given the large number of major movies and TV shows set in SF. One of those being Bullitt, which F & B must respond to in some way.

The acting is excellent, with James Caan's Freebie reminiscent of Sonny Corleone--but possessing few if any of Sonny's redeeming qualities, if you can imagine such a person, and working as a police detective on top of that. Alan Arkin's performance is also a treat. He has always been an interesting actor with interesting limitations and this was his peak period of activity in Hollywood. Arkin seemes everywhere back then, somewhat like Elliott Gould, and then, he was just as quickly pretty absent, for a while, by comparison. Although both the leads are strong individually, it is their chemistry I cannot buy. The styles of Caan and Arkin clash and the partnership never convinces, despite approaching that goal.

It was tough to watch Caan beat the bejesus out of an unfortunate reprobate. Again, the comparison with Sonny Corleone is one I can't avoid. Yes it's tough to watch him destroy Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather, but you are with Sonny all the way. I don't see any way to identify with what Caan's character does in several parts of the movie. Not politically incorrect--this is some sadistic behavior from Caan's character.

Sure I have reservations about the movie, but I recognize its value and wouldn't have had it be made any differently.

Freebie and the Bean
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genre: Action & Adventure
  • Released: 1974

Customer Ratings