IMDb Rating 6.4/10 10 2484 2.5K


Top cast

Jodie Foster as Donna
Meg Foster as Gerta
Kenneth McMillan as Heavy St. John
Gary Busey as Frankie
934.28 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
Seeds 40

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Coventry 7 / 10

50 years after "Freaks" ... "Carnies"!

"Carny" is of those rare films that is truly unclassifiable. It's fiction, with actors and actresses playing scripted roles, but it almost comes closer to a documentary since there really isn't much of a plot, merely the intent to deep-dive into the daily lives and routines of traveling circus members. The one film "Carny" reminds me of the most, and I'm actually surprised that no other reviewers mentioned this, is Tod Browning's cinematic landmark "Freaks" (1932). Partially because, well, many of the supportive characters are human anomalies that make a living of their appearances, but mostly because both films zoom in on a secluded community of people that don't tolerate outsiders and behave skeptically towards newcomers. Coincidentally, both stories also revolve on a (female) newcomer breaking into the community, although the trapeze artiste in "Freaks" had evil intentions whereas Donna (the amazing Jodie Foster) in "Carny" is genuinely looking to become a part of the group.

Writer/director Robert Kaylor was obviously obsessed with the concept of traveling carnivals and the people who run them, but he sure didn't draw an attractive picture of them. "Carny" is dark and bathes in a manic & moody atmosphere. The characters are grim and unsympathetic, most notably the resident con-artist and all-round purpose fixer Patch (sublime role for "The Band" icon Robbie Robertson) and the face-painted Frankie, who - as the foulmouthed clown Bozo - sits in a cage above a water tank and goads carnival visitors into throwing shots at him. Gary Busey is fabulous in the role, and the film nicely stands out at the peak of his career, shortly after "The Buddy Holly Story" and "Big Wednesday". The decors and photography are sinister, yet beautiful, and Alex North's thoroughly unsettling score makes the wholesome even more unique. I personally found the final plotting and twists rather unnecessary, but still, a great cult gem for cinema fanatics to seek out.

Reviewed by Mcduff3601 6 / 10

A character movie with no real plot and doesn't need one

This is one of those movies that doesn't really have a story, the characters and their lives are the story. If you are ok with that then this is a pretty decent drama. It has the drama, a bit of action, tragedy, romance.

I think this might have been Gary Busy's best performance, Jodie Foster puts in a good one too. All the characters even the non actors (not sure they used real circus folk or not) seemed to do an ok job. It is cheesy and dated but it works. I felt for the characters by the end.

It doesn't really have much of an ending and you kind of don't expect one since it's about the characters and their stories don't really end.

Reviewed by udar55 7 / 10

Prime Busey

Frankie (Gary Busey) and Patch (Robbie Robertson of The Band) are two carnival hustlers traveling from town to town in the South. In one spot Frankie picks up Donna (Jodie Foster), an 18-year old who literally runs away with the circus. Naturally, things tense up between Frankie and Patch as Donna tries to learn the carny lifestyle. Man, back in the day one could make a movie about the life of carnival workers and it didn't have to be profound or condescending. CARNY just tells it like it is, showcasing the carnival folk and their life. What is so interesting about the film (outside of Busey's maniac performance) is how Robert Kaylor deviates from expectations. One would expect Busey and Robertson to fight over who gets the girl but they don't. Instead, they act normal as Foster is the one who gets emotional over it. The supporting cast is incredible and features Tim Thomerson, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook, Jr., Meg Foster and Teddy Wilson.

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