over the edge (1979)
Love it or hate it, you can't deny that 1979's suburban teen-drama OVER THE EDGE has had a lasting impact on many people. It's not a perfect film and it's not for everyone, but if you were a teenager in the late 70s and early 80s, chances are you came across this tale of teen rebellion in endless repeats on HBO and other cable channels. Among a cast of virtual unknown yet highly relatable actors, was Matt Dillon making his acting debut as the convincing teen-hood Richie White. The screenplay for the film, which also starred Michael Kramer, Pamela Ludwig, Harry Northup, Vincent Spano, Tom Fergus, Andy Romano, and Ellen Geer, was originally inspired by an article on teenage gangs that appeared on the San Francisco Examiner in 1973. See orginal "Mousepacks: Kids on a crime spree" article below.
Below is a copy of the original production draft for the screenplay of OVER THE EDGE - written by Charlie Haas and Tim Hunter, 1979. As you can see, the intended title of MOUSEPACKS is scrawled on the side of the script in red marker. During production, the title shifted to ON THE EDGE before ultimately landing on the well-loved cult title of OVER THE EDGE. This screenplay is considered one of those "holy grail" scripts by writers who collect scripts.
The Los Angeles Times did a feature article in 1978 about the production of ON THE EDGE comparing it to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. (below)
QUOTES: Roger Ebert had this to say in his 1980 review: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/over-the-edge-1980
"What we have here, depressing and harrowing and often very real, is the other side of the coin of 'Breaking Away.' That movie was a celebration of the possibilities involved in coming of age in a small town. 'Over the Edge' is a funeral service held at the graveside of the suburban dream. It tells a ragged story that ends with an improbable climax, but it's acted so well and truly by its mostly teen-age cast that we somehow feel we're eavesdropping."
Kurt Cobain: “Over the Edge pretty much defined my whole personality. It was really cool. Total anarchy.”
OVER THE EDGE - Original theatrical trailer. LOGLINE: A group of bored teenagers rebel against authority in the community of New Granada after the death of one of their own. / Director: Jonathan Kaplan / Writers: Charles S. Haas (as Charlie Haas), Tim Hunter
OVER THE EDGE - paperback novelization. This book is out of print and extremely hard to find online. Buy a copy if you can find one on Amazon or eBay. DESCRIPTION: When schools and recreation facilities are eliminated by cost cuts in what was planned to be an ideal community, teenagers become bored and turn to drugs and vandalism.
Product details: Series: A Black cat book; B-426 / Paperback: 164 pages / Publisher: Grove Press; 1st edition (1979) / Language: English
ISBN-10: 0394170881 / ISBN-13: 978-0394170886
OVER THE EDGE - related links