Cutter’s Way (1981) – A Broken Detective

Cutter's Way (1981) poster

Mustachioed stud muffin, sailor and older rich lady play thing, with the apt name Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) has a wonderful life using his good looks and charm. Until one day after a night of “entertaining”, his car breaks down on the way home down a wet dark alleyway. Stumbling across a dodgy guy who drives off before he can see him, he later discovers that he has just witnessed a body being dumped.

Tagline  – Bone saw the killer. Cutter knew the motive.

Cutter's Way (1981) cafe cutter bone and mo
Bone, Mo and Cutter

Now our Richard is good friends with Alex Cutter (John Heard) an obnoxious hard drinking loudmouth, car crash of a guy. For very good reason though, the guy is a Vietnam war veteran who has returned a broken man. He has lost an eye, leg and half his arm. Keeping his depression and PTSD under some kind of tabs by drinking himself stupid each night and every waking hour.

Cutter's Way (1981) alex cutter
“Columbo ain’t got nothin on me”

Alex becomes obsessed with the murder case and starts to build a plan to unravel the mystery of the murdered girl. With the right plan and tactics, could they blackmail the killer to reveal himself? Lots of drunken tantrums ensue and poor Alex’s wife Mo (Lisa Eichhorn) takes the brunt of his frustrations.

Cutter's Way (1981) 1957 mo and bone

If I’m honest I didn’t enjoy this half as much as I had imagined I would. It had been eagerly moving up my to watch list fast but in the end a few things annoyed me. Alex screaming and shouting all the time and Richard just mincing about was one thing but there was a total lack of emotion to the deaths that they had witnessed. It didn’t have the twist I was imagining and I felt it was a little too slow burn. Saying that I’ve still been thinking about it and doing this here post, so it really wasn’t that bad.

Cutter's Way (1981) 1957 mouse smash
Take that Mickey!

Some plus points I noted were, Alex’s excellent parking skills, Alex’s love for a stuffed fair ground mouse, the awesome convertible 1957 Buick Special and Mo was pretty sweet. And best of all (for the British viewers) Noel Edmonds body double for Alex riding the horse made me laugh.

Cutter's Way (1981) 1957 Buick Special
1957 Buick Special looked very cool driving down the empty streets.

The film is directed by Ivan Passer and is an adaption of a novel called Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg. The book gets very high ratings on the Goodreads website. One to keep an eye for.

I wonder what you thought of the movie? There’s a lot of 5 star reviews out there. Keep it rolling…. Mikey Wolfman.

Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg

Further Reading Links

Empire Film 5 Star Review – Kim Newman

Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg – Goodreads

Cutter’s Way (1981) IMDB


3 thoughts on “Cutter’s Way (1981) – A Broken Detective

    1. It gets 5 star ratings from a lot of places. I went in blind and wasn’t overwhelmed by it but it was pretty good. John Heard as Cutter gave an excellent and over the top performance, but it did start to grate a little. Still a great little mystery detective whodunit movie. Would have to give it a Wolfie Rating of 7/10 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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