Over The Edge Movie – Cult Classic 1979




Over the Edge is a film directed by Jonathan Kaplan released in 1979. Due to the negative publicity surrounding a wave of recent youth gang films, Over the Edge had a limited theatrical release. It stars Matt Dillon in his feature film debut. Because of its depiction of teenage rebellion, drug and alcohol use by junior high school students, a sensational depiction of suburban life in the late 1970s, and a rock music soundtrack featuring such bands as Cheap Trick and The Cars, Over the Edge has achieved cult film status, and was an inspiration for the music video for the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

According to the director’s and writer’s commentary on the DVD, Over the Edge was inspired by actual events that took place in Foster City, California in the early 1970s. Those events were chronicled in a 1974 article titled “Mouse Packs: Kids on a Crime Spree” from the San Francisco Examiner. It is a pervasive internet myth that the writer of the article was Charles S. Haas, who co-wrote the screenplay, but at a 2010 screening Haas confirmed that the original article was not by him, but by two staff reporters for the Examiner. The reporters were James Finefrock and Bruce Koon.

The film follows a group of teenagers living in a fictional planned community called New Granada, which is isolated beyond other existing suburbs, in the nearly-treeless plains east of Denver, Colorado. Their needs were not considered by those who designed the community, and so there is nothing for them to do but go to school and hang out at the local recreation center, which closes at six o’clock. The kids turn to substance abuse, sex, and petty crime as a way to kill their boredom, but their outcry falls on deaf ears, as the adults are too concerned with pursuing wealth and stomping out the seemingly-senseless rowdy behavior to actually understand the reasons why the adolescents are misbehaving. After one of the kids is shot and killed by a police officer, played by Harry Northup, the youths violently rebel against their parents and the authorities, an uprising that results in fiery mayhem in and around the junior high school. Based on the November 11 1973 story in the San Francisco Examiner.

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28 Comments

  1. fluffydolly
    July 15, 2010
    Reply

    awesome klassik 70's movie…..very kool!!!!

  2. MoviesMusicNature
    July 15, 2010
    Reply

    Have had this on DVD for years now, watched it many times! Great soundtrack too!

  3. Menace De Menace
    April 2, 2012
    Reply

    perfect period piece for me & my " god damn town ! "

  4. joeofmacabre07
    June 12, 2012
    Reply

    its hard to imagine if the teens in this generation will be like that

  5. Audiophile Music
    August 5, 2012
    Reply

    Hi, did you ever go visit the locations?

  6. dave brooks
    June 10, 2013
    Reply

    lol arent they?

  7. Steven Fish
    July 17, 2013
    Reply

    Es

  8. Steven Fish
    July 17, 2013
    Reply

    Eat it you stinking pig best line ever

  9. budbender5150
    October 22, 2013
    Reply

    this is my childhood..I'm 41 now this how we were in a town in ND….except for people dying…:)

  10. James Pryor
    July 24, 2014
    Reply

    great flick

  11. MrOrthogonalization
    July 31, 2014
    Reply

    "Take these letters home to your parents to let them know about a special emergency meeting to discuss the problems about you people…"  

    I'm betting all of 3 of those letters got home to parents.  

  12. emma duncan
    August 10, 2014
    Reply

    New Grenada was built entirely for adults, there is nothing for teenagers to do, especially teenagers who are not interested in school activities or sports, so out or boredom these kids resort to drugs, sex, and the age old favorite petty vandalism.
    this is a great film. Bonus! It was Kurt Cobain's favorite!

  13. emma duncan
    August 11, 2014
    Reply

    pretty much none of these kids had acted before, and it shows! and I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate that cop! fuckin' Doberman!

  14. emma duncan
    August 11, 2014
    Reply

    Get those kids their bowling alley!

  15. Jairo Trejo
    November 14, 2014
    Reply

    I go to this school but they are destroying it in 2015

  16. moonrunrs
    January 22, 2015
    Reply

    During the 1970s and 80s, I grew up in the town this story is based on – Foster City, CA. It was EXACTLY like depicted in the movie. 

  17. Constance Carter
    May 6, 2015
    Reply

    Loved this movie when it came out. I think about it every time I hear Cheap Trick's "Surrender," which is more often that one might think all these years later. Thanks for the backstory.

  18. CycleCruza
    August 26, 2015
    Reply

    This was my late brother's favorite movie, we must have seen this movie about 50 times. lol Awesome movie, cult classic for sure. Colorado towns still look that. lol

  19. Corey G.
    September 10, 2015
    Reply

    Phenomenal film!

  20. Little Gay ass
    October 13, 2015
    Reply

    This film was Kurt Cobain's favorite movie

  21. Rockinghorse Winner
    April 9, 2016
    Reply

    For anyone who grew up in the 70's, and wasn't on the 'Dean's list,' this film is a must see. Captures with pretty gritty realism, with allowances made for it's general audience rating, the tenor of the times, particularly in the white middle class suburbs that sprang up from the 'white flight' from city centers which were being decimated by liberal welfare policies, high taxation and crumbling infrastructure. The neighborhoods that resulted were themselves beset by changing cultural mores.

    It turned out that kids needed more than tree lined streets and good school districts to thrive; they needed structure, good parenting and a solid moral education, things which were often lacking in these affluent enclaves. The results were predictable. Indeed, one sees many of the same symptoms today, with the rampant drug use, delinquency and the feelings of pessimistic aimlessness which afflict many of today's middle class youth.

    Matt Dillon really shines as a natural actor, and this was to come to full fruition in the 1983 underappreciated masterpiece, Francis Ford Coppola's 'Rumble Fish,' but as an early vehicle, while he was still learning, he is a strong screen presence and the glue which holds all the mayhem together.

  22. NDevor
    June 15, 2016
    Reply

    Damn I'm finding the best movies I watched back in the day. Funny how I'm 27 and remember this as a "classic" in my movie list. No one my age knows this movie.

  23. Michael A Hineman
    October 23, 2016
    Reply

    One of my favorite movies! I have the dvd and still watch it from time to time.

  24. LeDMeur
    March 19, 2017
    Reply

    a link for this movie please?

  25. Matt Sharpe
    May 19, 2017
    Reply

    Lol….wow.

  26. Rod Munch
    June 22, 2017
    Reply

    Over the Edge… of wuss cliff.

  27. emma duncan
    August 12, 2017
    Reply

    I remember complaining about the boredom of the suburbs, and a friend of mine disagreed, telling me, "there's 100 lakes within a 50 mile radius!" which would be great if it were summer, and we could drive…so we will just have to stay home, drink, do drugs, and have sex…

  28. Rhandi simonelli
    November 27, 2017
    Reply

    This was filmed at my jr high school in Colorado

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