Hardcore is a 1979 film written and directed by Paul Schrader, and starring George C. Scott.

Plot summaryEdit

Jake Van Dorn (Scott) is a prosperous local businessman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A single parent, Van Dorn is the father of a seemingly quiet, conservative teenage girl, Kristen, who inexplicably disappears when she goes on a church sponsored trip to California.

Eventually, Van Dorn learns that his daughter ran away and has entered the world of pornography in Los Angeles. The story is an odyssey of the upright and uptight Van Dorn as he journeys through the seedy world of pornography in California. Having no luck with the authorities, Van Dorn retains the services of a strange private detective, played by Peter Boyle, to locate his daughter.

Fed up with no results from the PI, or the police, a desperate Van Dorn ends up posing as a porno movie producer in the hopes that he will unearth information about his daughter. Along the way, he enlists the aid of a sometime porno actress/hooker named Niki, played by Season Hubley. The two form an uneasy alliance as Nikki helps Van Dorn navigate his way through the maze of smut from Los Angeles to San Diego and to San Francisco, eventually discovering that his daughter may be in the hands of a very dangerous porn player who deals in the world of "snuff movies".


Actor Role
George C. Scott Jake VanDorn, alias Jake DeFreese
Peter Boyle Andy Mast
Season Hubley Niki
Dick Sargent Wes DeJong
Leonard Gaines Bill Ramada
Dave Nichols Kurt (as David Nichols)
Gary Graham Tod (as Gary Rand Graham)

Selected quotesEdit

  • "Turn it off! Turn if off! TURN IT OFF!" - George C. Scott as Jake VanDorn
  • "Nobody makes it. Nobody shows it. Nobody sees it. It's like it doesn't even exist." - Peter Boyle as Andy Mast


Writer-director Schrader had previously written the screenplay of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and the films share a theme of exploring an unseen subculture. One major criticism of the film at the time was that it utilizes the same sensationalistic elements of sleaze that it is attempting to criticize and comment upon.


  • Berlin International Film Festival
Nominated Golden Berlin Bear - Paul Schrader

In Popular CultureEdit

George C. Scott's dramatic screams of "Turn it off!" have become a popular sound drop on the Opie & Anthony radio show and a recurring riff on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

External links Edit