Harry and Walter Go to New York

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Harry and Walter Go to New York
Harry and Walter Go to New York.jpg
Directed by Mark Rydell
Produced by Don Devlin
Written by John Byrum
Robert Kaufman
Don Devlin
Starring James Caan
Elliott Gould
Diane Keaton
Michael Caine
Music by David Shire
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by David Bretherton
Don Guidice
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
17 June 1976
Running time
115 min.
Country United States
Language English

Harry and Walter Go to New York is a 1976 American period comedy film written by John Byrum and Robert Kaufman, directed by Mark Rydell, and starring James Caan, Elliott Gould, Michael Caine, Diane Keaton, Charles Durning and Lesley Ann Warren. In the film, two down-on-their-luck con men try to pull off the biggest heist ever seen in late nineteenth century New York.[1] They are opposed by the greatest bank robber of the day, and by a crusading newspaper editor.[2]


Harry Dighby (Caan) and Walter Hill (Gould) are struggling vaudevillians who are sent to jail when Dighby is caught robbing audience members. They become roommates to a cultured, wealthy, and charming bank robber named Adam Worth (Caine). Worth plans to rob the Lowell Bank and Trust, both to avenge himself on the bank manager who had arranged his capture and because his ego cannot resist the temptation of robbing a bank reputed to be perfectly secure. Though in jail, he procures detailed diagrams of the bank's security systems.

A reforming newspaperwoman named Lissa Chestnut (Keaton) visits their cell. During her visit Dighby and Hill manage to photograph the bank plans with her camera, then burn the originals. They break out of prison the next day at the same time as Worth is paroled. They meet in New York City; and, by force, Worth manages to extract a copy of the photographed plans from them. Dighby, Hill, and Chestnut then band with Chestnut's team of do-gooders to race against Worth and his professional bank robbing squad to see who can rob the Lowell Bank and Trust first.



The film received mixed reviews from critics.

James Caan later dubbed the film "Harry and Walter Go to the Toilet" and sacked his management after making the movie. "The director sacrificed jokes to tell a story no one cared about," he said.[3]

Producer Tony Bill called it "the one movie of which I'm ashamed because it was not my taste. It was a wonderful script completely rewritten by the director."[4]

A novelization was written by Sam Stewart, and published by Dell Publishing.[5]


  1. ^ Vincent Canby (June 18, 1976). "Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976)". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ Harry and Walter Go to New York Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  3. ^ James Caan's career hitting tough times Siskel, Gene. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 27 Nov 1977: e6.
  4. ^ FILM CLIPS: Tony Bill's Open Door Policy Lee, Grant. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 May 1977: b6
  5. ^ "Books and Pamphlets, Including Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, Current and Renewal Registrations, July-December 1976". Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series. Washington: Copyright Office, The Library of Congress. 30, Part 1, Number 2, Section 2: 1979. 1977. ISSN 0041-7815. 

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