Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Return of the Secaucus Seven Photos

Movie Info

Antedating The Big Chill by three years, this engaging drama by independent director John Sayles was the first American film to take a group of former radicals and plunge them back together again many years later. Originally, seven of the protagonists were arrested back in Secaucus, New Jersey in the 1960s when they were heading out to a demonstration in Washington, D.C. Now most have married and they get together in rural New Hampshire to go over old times and find out what everyone has been doing. Their personal relationships are labyrinthian and continue to evolve, but it is their repartee and wit that spice up the drama and maintain an interest in their long sessions of dialogue.

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Mark Arnott
as Jeff Andrews
Gordon Clapp
as Chip Hollister
Maggie Cousineau
as Frances Carlson
Brian Johnston
as Norman Gaddis
Ernie Bashaw
as Officer
Amy Schewel
as Lacey Summers
John Medillo
as Bartender
Jack LaValle
as Booking Officer
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Critic Reviews for Return of the Secaucus Seven

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (1)

Preeiding the glitzy Big Chill by three years, John Sayles' first feature offers a poignant look at the reunion of 1960s activists; there's not much to look at this talking heads feature, which was shot for $40,000, but the dialogue is good.

December 24, 2006 | Rating: B
Top Critic

This film is an exquisite time capsule of New Hampshire culture circa 1980. Dig the Tretorn tennis shoes.

June 16, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Granola theater on the cusp of the New Right

March 3, 2010 | Full Review…

The much praised film upon its release, a tribute to indie filmmaking, seems to have badly dated.

May 27, 2008 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The sort of small-scale, sharply observed character drama Sayles' admirers know and love.

April 9, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Return of the Secaucus Seven delivers a rueful portrait of a handful of members of the baby boom generation.

January 29, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Return of the Secaucus Seven


A dull kind of proto-mumblecore that nonetheless has moments of insight and sincerity.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Well before "The Big Chill" came along, John Sayles made this terrific low-budget film. If you are looking for slick-filmmaking go elsewhere. If you want something that is different, and for me far more believable, than most Hollywood films try this one. 2 Stars 10-26-13

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


A film that is more important as a piece of film history than it is a good film. What it really is, is...nice. Well directed, but clearly low budget. A fun story full of drama, a bit of comedy and a very young David Statham. Worth checking out. and don't believe the gossip, while it predates Big Chill it neither inspired it, nor is it the first of the "old friends get together and..." genre.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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