Movie Details

This powerful made-for-television drama made a memorable impact on audiences in the late '70s and has earned a cult following as a result. The story focuses on Richie (Robby Benson), a well-meaning but emotionally confused teen who finds it all too easy to turn to drugs when he feels the world closing in on him. This brings him into conflict with his father, George (Ben Gazzara), a stern man who loves his son, but has trouble expressing his feelings. Both men make genuine attempts to meet each other halfway, but their relationship worsens as social pressures and personal failings drive Richie deeper into his drug addiction. The interaction between father and son becomes violent, resulting in a tragedy for the whole family. The Death of Richie attracted critical acclaim when it was telecast in 1977 for its sensitive but unflinching treatment of difficult family issues, as well as the impressive performances of Benson and Gazzara. In recent years, it has attracted a cult following that includes actor/director Vincent Gallo, who cast Gazzara as the father in Buffalo '66 on the strength of his work in The Death of Richie. ~ Donald Guarisco, Rovi