Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

Putney Swope Details


After several years working along the margins of the underground film scene in New York, director Robert Downey broke through to wider recognition with the arthouse hit Putney Swope, a wildly irreverent satire of race and advertising in America. Putney Swope (Arnold Johnson) is the token African-American executive at an otherwise all-white advertising agency when the chairman of the board unexpectedly drops dead. Through a fluke in the chain of command, Swope becomes the new head of the firm, and decides its time to do things his way. He fires nearly all the staff (except for his one token white employee), renames the agency Truth and Soul, Inc., and announces they'll no longer accept accounts advertising tobacco, alcohol, or war toys. The ads they do produce -- for acne remedies and breakfast cereal, among other things -- are wildly successful, and the iconoclastic ad agency (which only accepts payment in cash) is targeted by government operatives as a threat to the national security. Antonio Fargas and Allen Garfield lead the supporting cast; Mel Brooks makes a cameo appearance. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:July 10, 1969


Stanley Gottlieb
as Nathan
Allen Garfield
as Elias, Jr.
Arnold Johnson
as Putney
Ramon Gordon
as Bissinger
Buddy Butler
as Putney's Bodyguard
Norman Schreiber
as Messenger
Antonio Fargas
as The Arab
Tom Odachi
as Wing Sobey
Allan Arbus
as Mr. Bad News
Pepi Hermine
as President of the United States
Eddie Gordon
as Mr. Victrola Cola
Franklin Scott
Peter Maloney
as Putney's Chauffeur
Robert Staats
as Mr. War Toys
Lawrence Wolf
as Mr. Borman Six
Archie Russell
as Joker
Ruth Hermine
as First Lady
Alan Abel
as Mr. Lucky
Bert Lawrence
as Hawker
Peter Benson
as Mr. Jingle
Vincent Hamill
as Man in White Suit
Mel Brooks
as Mr. Forget It
Elzbieta Czyzewska
as Putney's Maid
Perry Gerwitz
as Sonny Williams
Shelley Plimpton
as Face-Off Girl
Joe Fields
as Pittsburgh Willie
Don George
as Mr. Cards
Joe Engler
as Mr. Syllables


Robert Downey, Sr.
Robert Downey, Sr.
Ron Sullivan
Robert Downey, Sr.
Charley Cuva
Composer (Music Score)
Bud Smith
Gary Weist
Art Director
Tom Daniel
Special Effects
Dan List
Special Effects
Josh Zander
Special Effects