A middle–aged advertising man kills his daughter's hippie boyfriend, then joins forces with Peter Boyle's loudmouthed steamfitter, the bellicose embodiment of Silent Majority working–class resentment. Boyle's character expresses sentiments no American politician-not even George Wallace-had the nerve to articulate in public. (Still, as Time magazine warned, "a lot of Joes sit in jury boxes these days.") Released two months after the massacres at Kent and Jackson State, as well as a pitched battle between pro– and antiwar demonstrators on the steps of New York's City Hall, this low–budget indie was an immediate sensation. Boyle, a liberal opponent of the war in Vietnam, became an instant celebrity…as Joe. Sneaking into a 2 a.m. showing at a Broadway theater, he was frightened to find people "screaming at the screen," and he spent the summer of 1970 afraid for his life.

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