Used Cars (1980)

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Released 8-Oct-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Robert Zemeckis, Kurt Russell & Bob Gale
TV Spots
Radio Spots
Gallery-Vintage Advertising Gallery
Trailer-Blue Streak; As Good As It Gets
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 107:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Zemeckis

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Kurt Russell
Jack Warden
Gerrit Graham
Frank McRae
Deborah Harmon
Michael McKean
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Patrick Williams

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Before Back To The Future, the brainchild of director Robert Zemeckis, producer Bob Gale and executive producer Steven Spielberg hit our screens, they teamed up with Kurt Russell for the 1980 comedy Used Cars. After delivering the 1979 dud 1941, the only way was up for the team. Well, that may have been the case back then, but unlike the Back To The Future series, this one has not aged well at all. What was once a funny little film from a decade full of trashy comedy of its ilk barely got a giggle out of this reviewer.

††† Kurt Russell stars as Rudy Russo, a stereotypical car salesman, the kind that will put the mileage back a few zeros, and do anything to make a crap car look good. His dream is to become a politician, and sees this job as merely character building, to reach that ambition. Heíll lie and cheat his way through sales, and is the best salesman Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden) has got. The trouble is, the car yard over the road, owned by Lukeís brother Roy Fuchs (also Jack Warden), is getting all the customers. Rudy comes up with the idea of hiring female strippers, to attract the attention of passers-by. What ensues is an all-out war between the Fuchs brothers, and their employees.

††† The filmís premise is one which simply cannot work, in this day and age, as well as it might have over twenty years ago. This is where the film fell flat on this recent viewing (my first for about 15 years), as itís just not that funny any more. I was certainly expecting more than I got out of Used Cars, but Iím afraid to say that it should have been buried along with leg-warmers and Rodney Dangerfield (or is he still kicking?)

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Transfer Quality


††† The video transfer for Used Cars is not that great, which is to be expected due to the printís age Ė that and the fact that it is not deserving of restoration.

††† The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

††† Sharpness levels were fairly good, occasionally appearing a tad soft, but fairly good given the age of the print. Shadow detail and black levels were quite strong considering, and there was minimal low-level noise throughout. Grain was visible throughout, and was particularly strong during the opening credits. It cleared up a bit from then on, but was clearly visible at times throughout.

††† Colours were strong for the most part, if only very slightly faded overall.

††† MPEG artefacts were non-existent, as were film-to-video artefacts, but occasional film artefacts popped up in the shape of white and black specks.

††† This disc is RSDL-encoded, and the layer change occurs at 79:22, which doe not interrupt any dialogue or music.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††† The audio mix is very limited.

††† We have the choice of listening to the film in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, in the languages of English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

††† Dialogue was always clear and intelligible. There were no problems with audio sync throughout.

††† The filmís music by Patrick Williams was clear, and never distorted or too loud.

††† Being a mono track, there was no surround channel usage.

††† The subwoofer supported the audio with very little bass, especially due to the lack of a dedicated channel.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Audio Commentary - director Robert Zemeckis, producer Bob Gale and actor Kurt Russell

††† As a whole, this track was more entertaining and worthwhile than the film itself. The three men are in the same room, and provide a decent commentary, even if it is not entirely informative. If youíve listened to Kurt in any other audio commentaries, youíll know what to expect from the man Ė non-stop laughing, and almost over-appreciation of the film. He sure loves re-visiting his old films, and the same goes for the two Bobs. They all provide some good behind the scenes stories, and I recommend fans not miss this track, as itís a lot of fun.

Outtakes - (4:26)

††† These are in poor condition, and are not funny anyway. I almost smirked twice, but that could have been gas.

TV Spot - (0:33)

††† This is interesting, in that it features Kurt Russell as himself (not in character), with the real-life owner of the caryard from the film.

Radio Spots - 8 (total length Ė 13:03)

††† This range includes a five minute interview with Kurt Russell, a three minute phone message, 4 one minute ads, and 2 thirty second ads.


††† Thirteen stills of promotional material.

Trailers - 2

††† The trailers for Blue Streak and As Good As It Gets are here, but none for the film itself.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

††† Eight pages in total - for Bob Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Kurt Russell, Jack Warden and Michael McKean.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 1 version misses out on:

††† The Region 4 version misses out on:


††† Used Cars is an 80s comedy that has not aged well which barely managed to make me laugh.

††† The video transfer is good, if not great.

††† The audio transfer is limited.

††† The extra features are decent, with the clear highlight being the fun audio commentary from the filmís director, its producer and its main star.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
USED CARS is still a classic -
Audio ratings & smoking of crack - direct correlation? - Steve Horan (hi ho, hi ho, I have a crap bio)
In reply to - Daniel P (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)